The Seven Elements of Design: Variety

Life would be so boring without variety. Imagine, if they played the same song on the radio, over and over. It would drive you pretty crazy, right? That’s

why variety is important in life, art and design. It keeps things interesting!

Variety and unity are like ying and yang – you must have one in order to have the other. If an image has unity, than everything seems to belong as a group, and all the elements work together. In order to make this unified presentation interesting, the artist or designer must add variety – a little something different – so that the viewer is not bored by the monotony or sameness that can come with unity.

A designer achieves variety by changing an existing element in a work. By introducing new hues, changing the perspective, or by breaking a pattern to introduce a focal point, creatives can introduce a sense of intrigue to their work that unity alone can’t provide. Variety is like the spice that makes a recipe truly unique, or like the musical arrangement that puts

a fresh spin on an old, tired tune. Nature has variety, culture has variety, food has variety, life has variety, so why shouldn’t design? In fact, variety is essential if a creative person wishes to capture the attention and imagination of her viewers. Variety makes viewers

comfortable because it gives them something to think about, and it reflects the flavor of life itself.

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