Let’s look into a few of the basic design principles that Halyna Shuliar utilized in her vector art piece: Retrato de una mujer (Portrait of A Woman). Shuliar is a photographer and web designer out of Madrid, Spain who has several of her pieces linked in her Behance profile.

A link to her original artwork can be found at the following link: https://www.behance.net/gallery/141728935/Retrato-de-una-mujer/modules/800718783




When looking at a design, the value refers to the gradation of light to dark across a form. It pertains to how light or dark an element of a design may appear. A noticeable feature of this piece is the slight transition from light to dark along the horizontal of the subject. The shadow that is cast on the right side of the image adds more variety to the image and makes it feel more life-like. It creates depth and adds to the realism of the design. It also adds to the duality of the piece as there is both a light and a dark side that can be connected to a variety of emotional interpretations. The value created in this piece both reveals the form of the woman and blends her into the darker colors of the background. This adds an emphasis to the midline of the artwork, where the brightest colors are used. The amazing variations of color values used within this graphic add to its depth and emotional interpretation.


In design, contrast depicts the differences between two or more elements of the artwork. When used well, the contrast can determine the first thing that the viewer is going to look at. When it comes to this piece, there is a strong contrast between the subject and the background. The woman in this graphic is illustrated lightly with the use of brighter colors. The background, however, is dark with just a flat layer of black. This creates a strong focus on the woman. This strong contrast keeps viewers from looking into the wrong area of the artwork. An additional area of contrast would be the color of the lips. While a majority of the colors used in the piece share the same hues, the lips are colored in a vibrant red. This contrast pulls the viewers’ gaze deeper into the dark half of the piece.


The hierarchy of a piece determines which elements of the design will be most visible. As stated before there is a strong variation in brightness across the horizontal of the above piece. This adds to the hierarchy of the design. The left half becomes more of a focal point as the brighter colors bring more detail to the subject. The hierarchy of a design is similar to contrast in the way that it can determine the order of what an audience will look at. When viewing this piece, naturally an audience is going to look at the left half first, mostly towards the eye. This is due to the presence of the brightest colors and strong details. The right portion of the graphics will be viewed last as the details become less defined and blend into the background. The hierarchy of this design helps arrange the art piece in a way that is easily followed and understood by its viewers.


Repetition involves using the same element of a design multiple times throughout the artwork. Shuliar accomplished this by including the flower elements repeatedly throughout the piece. The flowers illustrated on the face are also present within the fabric of the clothing. This creates a balance within the subject and adds to the beauty of the design. This great use of repetition also helps add texture to the design. It emphasizes the beauty of the woman while framing the focus around her.


Overall, the design techniques used within Shuliar’s graphic art piece, Retrato de una mujer, make it appear both realistic and beautiful. When looking at this design, you can’t help but look closer. Each detail is so precise and fits perfectly with the overall design. I find this artwork to be a beautiful representation of talent and an inspiration to other designers on how to construct a masterpiece. 


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