abstract (verb): 1. to simplify, emphasize or distort qualities of perceptual reality. 2. (noun) the reduction of an image or object to an essential aspect of its form or concept.

accent: an area of particular interest or importance. 

activated space: the area controlled by a physical object, including its physical volume or mass and the surrounding or enclosed space.  

additive sculpture: a physical object constructed from separate parts which have been connected using glues, joints, stitching, welds and so on. 

armature: a linear skeleton which provides support for other materials. 

assemblage: an additive method in which the artist or designer constructs the artwork using objects and images which were originally created for another purpose. Essentially, assemblage can be defined as three-dimensional collage.

asymmetrical balance: an equilibrium among visual elements which differ in size, number, weight, color, or texture. Asymmetrical balance is generally non-axial and very dynamic. 

a visual or physical equilibrium among interacting and/or opposing forces in a composition.

base: a horizontal support for a physical object, such as a marble block for mounting a bronze sculpture.         

boundary: the dividing line between objects, images, or experiences.                                       

characteristic texture: the inherent or familiar texture of a material. The gleaming reflective surface of a steel teapot, the transparent and reflective qualities of glass, and the gritty texture of clay are all characteristic textures. 

connection: 1. a unifying relationship in a composition. 2. a physical joining, through joints, welds, stitching, and so forth.

content: the ideas embodied in an artwork

context: the situation in which an artwork is seen. 

contrast: the degree of difference between objects, shapes, colors and so forth.  

dominant: (or dominance) the most prominent visual element

: special attention given to some aspect of a composition, which gives it prominence.                                                                       

form: 1. the physical manifestation of a design as opposed to the content, or the idea behind a design. 2. the organization or arrangement of visual elements to create a unified artwork. 3. a three dimensional object: for example, a square is a shape, a cube is a form.

formal elements:
the components of a basic visual language. The formal elements for 3D design are point, line, plane, volume, mass, space, texture, color and time. 

freestanding sculpture: sculpture which is self-supporting and is designed to be viewed from all sides.  

function: the purpose of a design or the objective which motivates the designer. For an industrial designer, the primary purpose of a design is often utilitarian. For example, he or she may be required to design a more fuel-efficient automobile. For a sculptor, the primary purpose of a design is aesthetic: he or she seeks to create an artwork that engages the viewer emotionally and philosophically. However, a sculpture, like an automobile, must be physically well-constructed, and a car, like a sculpture, must have aesthetic appeal.

gesture: the underlying sense of movement or the overall expressive qualities of an object. 

gradation: any gradual transition from one color to another or from form to another.            

harmony: a pleasing or soothing relationship among colors, shapes, or other design elements. 

implied lines: lines that are suggested by the positions of shapes or objects within a design. With an implied line, the viewer mentally connects the points. 

intensity: the purity, saturation, or chroma of a color. For example, fire engine red is a high intensity color, while brick red is a low intensity color. 

installation: an artwork or a design which presents an ensemble of images and objects within a three-dimensional environment.

in the round: a three dimensional object which is self-supporting and is designed to be viewed from all sides, as in free-standing sculpture. 

juxtaposition: adjacent placement of visual elements  

Kinetic art: works designed to move or change through time. 

line: 1. a point in motion, 2. a series of adjacent points, 3. a connection between points, 4. an implied connection between points. Line is one of the basic elements of design.

maquette: a small scale model, usually developed as an aid in planning. 

mass: a solid three-dimensional form. A massive object can be as dense and heavy as a bar of gold or as light and porous as a sponge. 

module: a small unit which can be repeated to create a larger piece. 

modeling: an additive sculptural process by which a plastic material is formed into an artwork or design.  

negative space: 1. any clearly defined area around a positive form.  2. a space created through the absence of an object rather than through the presence of an object. 

or non-representational: designs and artworks that  are strictly formal and have no external subject. 

participatory sculpture: a three-dimensional artwork which is designed to physically engage the viewer. 

pedestal:  a vertical support for a sculptural object. Also know as a plinth. 

performance art: a live presentation, often including the artist, usually combining elements from a variety of art forms, such a film, video, theater and dance.  

in three-dimensional design, an area with measurable width and height. Shapes that have been combined to create three-dimensional structures are called planes. 

ready-made: a functional manufactured object that is displayed as a work of art. 

primary contour: the outer edges of a physical object, such as the extremities of a carved sculpture. 

proportion: a comparative relationship between the parts to a whole. For example, in figure drawing, the model's head is often compared to the overall height of the body.  

radial symmetry: a form of balance that is created when shapes or volumes are mirrored both vertically and horizontally, with the center of the composition acting as a focal point.

relief: sculpture in which forms project out from a flat surface. The degree of projection ranges from low to high relief. 

repetition: the use of the same visual element or visual effect a number of times in the same composition. Can be used to increase unity in a composition, produce a rhythmic movement, or emphasize the importance of a visual idea.  

rhythm: the repetition of multiple parts in a composition to create a pattern of sound and silence, positive and negative, or other contrasting forces. 

scale: a size relationship between two separate objects, such as the relationship between the size of the Statue of Liberty and a human visitor to the monument. 

secondary contour: the inner edges of a physical object, such as the internal design and detailing of a carved sculpture. 

section: in orthographic projection, a slice of an object or architectural structure which reveals with internal structure and detail. 

site specific sculpture: an artwork expressly design for and installed in a specific location.

space: the area within, between, or around an area of substance.

spatial orientation: relationship of an object to the ground plane and other objects. 

subtractive sculpture: any process by which an artist or designer removes materials from a larger mass, gradually revealing the form within 

symbol: a form which represents something beyond its immediate meaning.  

symmetrical balance: a form of balance that is created when shapes are mirrored on either side of an axis, as in a composition that is vertically divided down the center. 

tension: the extension of an object through stretching or bending.

: the surface quality of a two dimensional shape or a three dimensional volume. Texture can be created visually, using multiple marks, physically, through surface variation, or through the inherent property of a specific material such as sand as opposed to polished glass. 

transition: the process of changing from one state or form to another. For example, the surface of a metal sculpture as it shifts from a smooth to a rough surface or the manner in which a computer drawing morphs from one form to another.  

unity:  the oneness or wholeness in a design which occurs when all parts work together to create a cohesive whole. 

volume: In three-dimensional design, a volume is an enclosed area of three dimensional space. In two-dimensional design, basic volumes such as cubes, cones and spheres are created though the illusion of space. In time design, volume is one quality of music.