Principle of Design Assignment

Paper details

Chapter three in our textbook is a discussion of the principles of design, also called composition. The compositional design of a work of art results from the artist organizing the visual elements to create a desired effect. In this assignment, you will use a museum exhibition web site to learn more about basic principles of design.
Six different design principles are defined in chapter three. They are:

unity and variety
emphasis and focal point

Be sure that you understand each of these design principles before you start this assignment. If you are unsure, read the chapter again and utilize the glossary at the end of the textbook.
Your assignment is to write a one page, word-processed document in which you choose six works of Native American art to discuss your understanding of six design/compositional principles as defined in our textbook. Check out the rubric for this assignment.


1. Click here to go to the Smithsonian web site for
2.Under the EXPLORE side of the page, look at the collections under “Explore Collection Highlights.”
3.Click on “Infinity of Nations Exhibition.”
4.A page with 30 thumbnail images of Native American works will open. (There is a second page as well.)
5.By clicking on the titles of the thumbnails, you will see a larger image and read about the work of art in more detail.
6.Based on your understanding of the six design/compositional principles defined in our textbook, choose six different works of art from ONLY these 30 thumbnail images. Each work of art you choose should exemplify one of the six principles of design.
7.In a word-processed document, number your six responses using the order of principles of design as bulleted above.
8.For example, begin with

1) unity and variety and under that heading, list the title of the American Indian work of art along with two or three sentences explaining how the work of art exemplifies the principle of “unity and variety.”

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that you are not being asked to discuss the compositional arrangement of the photograph in which a work, or several works of art are arranged together. You must concentrate on the design elements ON the works of art themselves.

Principles of Design
Criteria Ratings Pts
Choice of works of art to match design principles
6 pts
Effective use of content assigned from Smithsonian website
6 pts
Formatting and college level writing fulfill requirements
6 pts
Clear understanding of design principles expressed
12 pts
Total Points: 30