Maria Shanina
How to assess your own design work. Part 2: Elements of design

In part 1 of self-assessing design work, I wrote about design principles. In this article, I review each design element in detail. In this second step, I get help from the basics of art and design which are usually called the Elements of Design. Although there are debates about how many elements we need and have, I prefer to pay attention to six of them. There are plenty of resources online describing these elements if you are interested to learn more.


  • What color scheme do I use in my design: monochromatic, complementary, analogous, triad?
  • Does the color scheme support the design?
  • Do the colors work well together?
  • Is there any color that seems off?
  • What emotions do these colors convey?


  • What features does my line have: weight, shape, softness, edginess?
  • Do my lines support the rhythm and movement in my work?
  • Do my lines support the mood of my work?


  • How many shapes do I use in my work?
  • Do the shapes and lines work well together?
  • Can I remove or add more shapes?
  • Does any shape get in the way of the viewer’s eye?


  • Do I use any texture in my work?
  • How does the texture support the design?
  • If I remove the texture would it break the design?


  • Is my design light or dark? Is it how I want it to be?
  • Are there too dark or too light parts in my design?
  • Are there any areas that are low visible when I squint?


  • Does an object in space interfere with balance? Is it intentional?
  • Does an area or an object have more space around? Do I want them to stand out?
  • Does spacing support the rhythm in my design?

These steps summarize the process that I repeat until I’m satisfied with the result. The beauty of this method is that I can use it anytime in my design process. I don’t necessarily use it in each of my design works. Oftent this analysis happens unconsciously. But in times when I don’t feel happy with my work, or in times when I feel stuck, it helps determine what’s wrong and how to fix it.

Copyright © Maria Shanina, 2024, Canada