refers to the arrangement of opposite elements (light vs. dark colors, rough vs. smooth textures, large vs. small shapes, etc.) in a piece so as to create visual interest, excitement and drama.

Use this page to gain a better understanding of how contrast can be used in art.

Photo to the left: In this photo, you can see that there is a contrast between light and dark colors. You can tell that there are fish in this picture, because the background color is a bright orange.

How would the photo differ if the background color was a blue or green? Would the fish stick out as much? Would it be as interesting?
(Photo Provided by Photos8)

Photo to the right: The leaf photo is similar to the fish photo, however contrast is used to provide a focal point in this photo. Where does your eye go first?

Does it go to the tip of the leaf? Why do you think it goes there first?

Doesn't the leaf have texture and is in focus, while the background is smooth and out of focus? This is another way contrast can be created to provide interest or a focal point.
                                                  (Photo Provided by Photos8)

 Reading Portion:
This reading portion is from the book Principles of Design Contrast by Jack Selleck. Published by Davis Publications in 1975.