Elements and Principles of Design - Unity


the result of bringing the elements of art into appropriate ratio between harmony and variety to give a sense of oneness.

Related Concepts

Visual unity is one of the most important aspects of well-developed art and is planned by the artist.

Unity provides the cohesive quailty that makes an artwork feel complete and finished.

When all the elements in a work look as though they belong together, the artist has achieved unity.

Unity in Fine Art

Vincent van Gogh - Starry Night
Vincent van Gogh - "Starry Night", 1889

Van Gogh was concerned with the unity of his paintings. In this one, the swirling brush strokes and dominance of cool colors tends to unify the surface and create the feeling that everything belongs together.

Source: Elements and Principles of Design: Student Guide with Activities, published by Crystal Productions

Unity in Graphic Design

Black Cat Menu by Dennis Clouse

Target Ad Campaign
Gaby Brink
Templin Brink Design

Nowhere is unity more important than in an an campaign. Creating unity is a form of branding: you must establish a look and attitude that are recognizable even before the content of the ad is read. This particular campaign for Target works quite well in this way. The design is fresh and attention-getting.

As simple as the idea is—combining related objects with images of the products the ads feature—it is sure to get noticed because it is also playful. Too olften, the tendency is to take our assignments so seriously that we forget the value of whimsy and entertaining design in making customers feel good about the products we are endeavoring to sell.

Another nice feature of these ads is the treatment of the type. Not only are the headlines clever but the type is tastefully applied to the ad. It is interesting that the Target nameplate does not exist anywhere on the ads. The symbol is enough to identify the store.

Source: Design Basics for Creative Results by Bryan L. Peterson

Further Definition

Unity is a measure of how the elements of a page seem to fit together - to belong together. A unified work of art represents first a whole, then the sum of its parts.

What is it?

All of the design elements (images, fonts) are consistent with each other in shape, style and colour and consistent with the overall message of the image and from a commercial point of view, its target market.

Why is important?

How to achieve it

American Gothic by Grant Wood
How many pitchforks can you find in American Gothic by Grant Wood?