Design Basics, 7th Edition

  • includes ArtExperience Online Printed Access Card
  • David A. Lauer College of Alameda, Emeritus
  • Stephen Pentak Ohio State University, Emeritus
  • ISBN-10: 0495500860  |  ISBN-13: 9780495500865
  • 320 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2007, 2005, 2000
  • © 2008 | Published
  • List Price = $ 182.95
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DESIGN BASICS is a best-selling text for the two-dimensional design course. DESIGN BASICS presents art fundamentals concepts in full two- to four-page spreads, making the text practical and easy for students to refer to while they work. This modular format gives instructors the utmost flexibility in organizing the course. Visual examples from many periods, peoples, and cultures are provided for all elements and principles of design. The diversity of illustrations now includes more examples from visual culture encouraging students to see these principles in the world around them. Icons appearing throughout the book prompt students to access ArtExperience Online (a dynamic Web site integrated with the textbook), which contains studio art demonstrations and interactive exercises that help students explore the foundations of art.

Features and Benefits

  • ArtExperience Online—access accompanies every new text at no additional charge. Includes all material formerly on the Art Experience CD-ROM and more! Students deepen their understanding of each chapter's design concepts with this dynamic Web site's interactive exercises and they watch as design concepts are applied In the Studio (video demonstrations filmed in college art classrooms). Icons placed within the text discussion prompt students to explore the specific content found on ArtExperience Online.
  • A flexible modular organization that enables instructors to use the text in any sequence. Each concept is covered in a two- to four-page spread, helping students access information quickly. The book will be a valuable and handy resource throughout their art education.
  • A stunning full-color illustration program, featuring an extensive variety of culturally diverse artworks, as well as examples from nature and popular visual culture The book's many examples, especially those from daily life, help promote "design awareness" in the way students observe the world around them and emphasize the universal application of design principles.
  • The most thorough coverage of color topics found in any general design text.
  • An engaging introductory chapter devoted to the design process that helps to demystify the process by presenting examples of works in progress.

Table of Contents

1. Design Process.
2. Unity.
3. Emphasis and Focal Point.
4. Scale/Proportion.
5. Balance.
6. Rhythm.
7. Line.
8. Shape/Volume.
9. Pattern and Texture.
10. Illusion of Space.
11. Illusion of Motion.
12. Value.
13. Color.

What's New

  • More than 100 new images—featuring more works representing women artists and contemporary art and design including images from visual culture—that encourage students to see the elements and principles of design in the world around them.
  • New and updated coverage that includes new sections on pattern in Chapter 9, "Pattern and Texture"; new material on movement in Chapter 11, "The Illusion of Movement"; and more coverage on process throughout the text.
  • Uniquely effective treatment of student work—not identifying it as "student work," instead displaying it right next to works of masters and professionals—to give students confidence by implicitly suggesting that the best student work can stand side-by-side with the works of masters and professionals.
  • New "Comparison and Contrast" features (located at the ends of chapters)—Each examines the same two artworks (Susan Moore's figure painting titled Vanity, and El Lissitsky's Suprematist Composition from a series of six) but examines them from the differing perspectives of the principles and concepts discussed in each chapter. On the face of it these two works could hardly be more different, but in the course of the book's 13 chapters students will find similarities and equal sophistication of design. They will discover that any example in the book can be a learning tool to enrich their understanding of elements and principles.

Alternate Formats

Choose the format that best fits your student's budget and course goals

To customize your learning solution, contact your Learning Consultant for more information.

  • Non-Media Version

    ISBN-10: 0495501816 | ISBN-13: 9780495501817

    List Price = $187.95

Efficacy and Outcomes


"This book is very in-depth and clear in its approach to the design principles it addresses. In comparison to other books I have seen and used, this text takes more time in really explaining things and giving good visual examples."

— Travis Graves, East Tennessee State University

"I found the image selection refreshing, they pushed the limits of what is presented in general foundations classes—the book becomes engaging!"

— Herb Goodman, Eastern Kentucky University

"In general, the writing is very engaging. This text is appealing, because the writing gets to the point quickly and generally makes the concepts of design quite understandable. I find the writing, combined with the selected images to be very motivational, stimulating the imagination easily toward creative thinking and artistic expression."

— Susan K. Leshnoff, Seton Hall University

"I really like the videos on the CD-ROM [now ArtExperience Online]; they are very informative and great for students to watch on their own time. . . . A great resource."

— David Zdrazil, McLannan Community College

Meet the Author

Author Bio

David A. Lauer

David A. Lauer is Emeritus Professor of Art at the College of Alameda.

Stephen Pentak

Stephen Pentak received his BA from Union College in New York, and his MFA from Tyler School of Art at Temple University. He is Professor Emeritus of Art, and a past Associate Dean of the College of the Arts at Ohio State University. He has been the recipient of four Ohio Arts Council Fellowships and he has been a visiting resident artist at Delfina Studios in London, and Glasgow School of Art. Mr. Pentak's recent solo exhibitions include shows at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in New York and Susan Street in San Diego. He is co-author of COLOR BASICS as well as DESIGN BASICS.