Contrast refers to differences in values, colors, textures, shapes, and other elements.
Contrasts create visual excitement, and add interest to the work.
If all the art elements - value, for example - are the same, the result is monotonous and unexciting.
Contrast in Fine Art
When Cezanne painted this painting, he used all the design elements and all the design principples to build a unified composition. Try to find where he used the seven elements and seven principles of design. If you study his use of contrast alone, you can find at least eight kinds of contrast, which naturally develops an overall sense of variety.
- Pattern contrast: intricate pattern vs. no pattern
- Edge contrast: hard edge vs. soft edges
- Value contrast: dark, middle and light values
- Intensity contrast: pure colors vs. muted colors
- Temperature contrast: cool colors vs. warm colors
- Texture contrast: textured vs. smooth
- Shape contrast: organic shapes vs. geometric shapes
- Size contrast: large shapes vs. small shapes
Source: Elements and Principles of Design: Student Guide with Activities, published by Crystal Productions
Contrast in Graphic Design
Tableaux Restaurant Promotion
Vrontikis Design Office
This elegant solution to promoting Tableaux Restaurant uses contrast and variety to create a sophisticated yet lively look. The mailer, especially, is the epitome of this approach, with its use of different yetr complementary images and elements, including a leopard-skin pattern, stylized sun images, metallic bronze with olive green, Chinese type and English with calligraphic flourishes.
The address side of the mailer has a high-key value, while the opposite side is low-key. this piece is given special appeal by the use of an unusual shape and die-cut black flaps that lift up to reveal more information printed on a light screen of olive green.
Source: Design Basics for Creative Results by Bryan L. Peterson