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East Carolina University Principles and Elements of Design throughout campus

September, 2013

Table Of Contents About the Editor Design Thesis Elements of Design       

Line Texture Light Color Space Shape Form

Principles of Design       

Balance Harmony Emphasis Massing Rhythm Proportion Scale

Design Thesis

Throughout the campus of ECU, the elements and principles are portrayed within and on the exterior of buildings and in the landscape of the area.

About the Editor My name is Meghan McSweeney, originally from New Hampshire, and currently attending East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Even when I was much younger, in my free time I always enjoyed drawing and designing my own homes as well as the interiors. Throughout my childhood I was lucky enough to end up with parents who adore traveling as much as I do. I realized I was interested in design by taking these trips to numerous states and countries, as unique architecture caught my eye everywhere we went. .

Elements of Design

Line Vertical line Horizontal line Curved line

Vertical line can be used to display height and strength. These columns, found outside of the Joyner Library, use straight, vertical lines to accentuate their overall size. The vertical line used on the columns add emphasize to the structure itself.

Vertical Line

Horizontal line is used similarly to vertical line, as it provides a feeling of strength. This type of line is evident on the exterior of Joyner Library in the brick and stonework. It takes away from the height of the building while adding a feeling of solidity to the structure.

Horizontal Line

Curved line is a significant element of design that was used in the ceiling on the second floor of Joyner Library. This type of line adds a delicate effect to a room, which is perfect for the necessary relaxed environment found here. Movement is also a very big part of curved lines, as it causes the eyes to follow along the feature.

Curved Line

Texture Real texture Implied texture Non- Reflective texture

Majority of the buildings throughout East Carolina campus are prominently brick. Rough surfaces such as this are considered to be dull, as they don’t reflect light. Also it’s perfect for an exterior as it is extremely durable. Real textures are both visual and physical. A viewer can see the texture to be rough and they may also use touch to physically feel the roughness.

Real Texture

Implied texture is prominently visual, and only appears to be physical as well. This stone, used in the vanity in a Greene Hall bathroom is an example of this. The marble looks to be rough and stone-like, but to the touch is a very smooth surface.

Implied Texture

One of the two signs for East Carolina is made of brick and a stone, both non-reflective textures. This type of texture will not reflect light, and lacks a shiny finish. The use of a nonreflective texture on a sign such as this is very effective so there is no glare and the lettering is easy to read.

Non-reflective Texture

Light Natural Task Recessed

Natural light is a very important aspect to any space. It’s the use of sunlight, instead of using an actual fixture, to create a light source. Large windows, or a skylight such as this one found in the ECU Gym, are good ways to achieve such light and a lot of it.

Natural Lighting

Task lighting is somewhat self-explanatory, its used to complete a specific task. A desk lamp, such as this one, is a perfect example. This is used for studying, reading, or to add light to a specific area on the desk.

Task Lighting

This particular example of recessed lighting is known as a wall-washer. This type of light is usually covered and reflects directly onto the wall. This creates a sufficient amount of light, but does not dominantly light a room on it’s own. It creates a muted, indirect source of light by using a wall or other structure to reflect off of.

Recessed Lighting

Color Monochromatic Complimentary Tertiary

Monochromatic colors are different tints or shades of the same color. The walls found in the third floor bathroom and halls of Green Hall display this. Pale yellow tiles on the walls with a darker yellow tiled floor compliments one another while creating a flow throughout the space. It makes an area seem less busy, while adding interest. The halls of Greene also show this while using a very neutral color with off-white ceilings.


Complimentary colors are two colors across from one another on the color wheel. Purple and yellow, ECU’s colors, are a perfect example of this type of color. Throughout campus different elements include the school colors to add a pleasing balance of two colors to any environment. Complimentary colors compliment one another, neither is a focal point or cancels out the other.


Tertiary colors are achieved by a mixture of primary and secondary hues. This desk inside Mendenhall Student Center uses shades of orange, purple, and red to display this. These colors work with the color scheme of the area, but also adds a focal point as the colors work well together and are eye-catching while still remaining relatively neutral.


Space Negative Positive Territoriality

Negative space is the area around or within a space, and is usually most interesting when the positive space it is related to is a unique and organic shape. This piece of art that is outside of Joyner Library is a great example of this. The structure is a organic form of a geometric shape, and uses cutouts from the middle of the piece to create interesting negative space.

Negative Space

Positive space is anything within an area that takes up space. The exterior of Joyner Library uses many different structures and objects to occupy the open space. The small stone structures create a boundary for the area using a straight line. The trees add interest and color to the area, while the buildings create another boundary. Everything around these objects and structures, where traffic patterns are, would be considered the negative space.

Positive Space

A dorm room is a perfect example of territoriality in space. Most individuals claim half of the room to be their own personal area. This type of space is easily defined.

Territoriality Space

Shape Geometric Organic Curved

Geometric shapes are most commonly squares and rectangles. They are easy to work with, give a sense of stability, and can conserve space. In this Greene Hall bathroom, square tiles display this type of shape. They were installed with a “random� pattern of color to add interest and avoid monotony which is sometimes associated with large numbers of geometric shapes.

Geometric Shape

Organic shapes can be found in nature, and are much more free-flowing in their form. This is a memorial on ECU campus for any students who have lost their lives. This sculpture includes birds, which are a part of nature and their form is very free. The circular shape underneath is broken, which creates a unique and organic shape as well.

Organic Shape

Curved shapes can be found in the arches within the structure of the cupola in Central Campus on ECU. Curved shapes are unifying and interesting to the eye. In this example, the negative space is what created the curved shape, between the columns on the structure.

Curved Shape

Form Natural Geometric Abstract

A natural form is usually one taken or inspired directly from nature. This area in the West End of campus displays a lot of greenery and stonework. Both display natural forms, as they come directly from or are elements of nature.

Natural Form

Geometric forms are most common because they are simple and include rectangular, triangular, and spherical shapes. Jarvis Hall displays geometric shapes, such as it’s triangular shaped roof above the entrance.

Geometric Form

An abstract form is an object that has been altered to create something unique. The clock tower at ECU contains an interesting radial design which lights up at night. It appears to be a normal light feature on the tower, but at midnight each night a clown jester comes out and talks to anyone who may be there to listen. This hidden form within the tower is a great example.

Abstract Form

Principles of Design

Balance Symmetric Asymmetric Radial

Symmetric balance is clearly displayed by the orientation of the fountain from an individuals view of the Wright Auditorium from a distance. The building is balanced and equal on each side. This creates a very clean look.

Symmetric Balance

Asymmetric balance is when the structure lacks a sense of balance, and is not even on either side of a central point. The dining hall on the West End of campus displays this form of balance, as there is no symmetry in the overall structure of the building.

Asymmetric Balance

Radial balance is symmetry around an object or image. This can be found in the structure of the fountain in the Central are of campus, the water feature being the object.

Radial Balance

Harmony Repetition Unity

Repetition is used to create unity throughout reoccurring objects or structures. These stone pillars found in front of the Rivers Building on campus display this. They function as being very uniform and create a boundary for the area.


Unity creates a flow and consistency in a structure. The Science and Technology building’s use of the same window pattern throughout a majority of the exterior shows consistency within the structure making it interesting and organized.


Emphasis Structural Focal Point Visual Focal Point

Structural focal point is when a portion of the structure stands out and is eye catching compared to the rest of the building. Emphasis is put on a particular part of the structure. The clock tower is a very large structural focal point, as your eye is immediately drawn to it.

Structural Focal Point

A visual focal point is an object or area which the eye is drawn to. The DowdyFicklen stadium draws an individuals eye towards the field by creating a structure that radiates around the area.

Visual Focal Point

Massing Optical Density Actual Density

Optical density is when an object or structure looks visually dense, but in reality is not so. The fountain represents this principle as it uses the water feature to add height to the structure, along with stone to create a visual density and focal point.

Optical Density

Actual density is a structure that appears to have density to it, and in reality is very dense. The cupola in the center of campus is a good example of this, as it is a very solid structure made of stone. It has both visual and physical density.

Actual Density

Rhythm Flowing Contrast Climatic

Flowing rhythm is a repetitive structure which adds movement. It creates focal points which catches the eye continually. The beams in the Student Rec Center are very repetitive throughout the building, especially around the track. This is effective for runners who use focal points as a goal to reach during their exercise. Having flowing rhythm with these focal points allow them to continually push themselves.


Climatic rhythm is vertical repetition that draws the eye upward. This miniature clock tower at Dowdy-Ficklen stadium is a good example of this. The specific area of the structure is a little larger than the rest which creates a focal point.


Contrast in a space creates a focal point immediately. It is repetitive in catching a viewers eye as it is spread out. The lighting above the indoor track in the Student Recreational Center creates this feeling as an individual walks or runs around the track. The lights repeat directly above the track.


Proportion Object in proportion Object not in proportion

An object in proportion with the space around it are proportional to everything around it. Todd Dining Hall on College Hill is a crowded space which accommodates many students at once. The table and chair sizes are proportionate to the space provided.

Object in Proportion

An object that is not in proportion with the space around it stands out, or blends into the area it is in. For example, the chairs compared to the building itself looks disproportional in size due to the very large size of the building.

Object not in Proportion

Scale Human Symbolic

Human scale is a scale used that compares to the average human height and size. This statue of Petey the Pirate is relatively lifelike in it’s size. Many individuals take pictures standing next to the statue, in which their size is relative to the average human size.

Human Scale

Symbolic scale is an object that may be a different size or color, but is still easily distinguishable of what it’s meant to be in reality. These stairs on the side of Joyner Library appear to be stairs, but are much larger than those created to human scale. Although they are much larger, they’re still easily found to represent stairs.

Symbolic Scale

McSweeney, Meghan F13 ECU