Color: This is such an important aspect of everything we take in, but one that we might be less aware of than we know. We may ignore things that are in colors that don’t initially appeal to us, and our color prejudices are sometimes hard to get past to see the real design.
Shape: We all have shapes we like, understand, find appealing, are drawn to, and we also have those that we feel negatively about. Some of this response is due to what works for us, or what someone has told us, or that is too new for us to really understand yet. All of this happens at an unconscious level before it becomes at all conscious to us. Sometimes we’re just looking for something in particular, “I want to make a cowl“, which is going to make anything else unsuitable.
Detail: Detail may be closures, seams, shaping, anything that is added to the piece within the Shape. Changing details can change how you react to the Shape, because the two things play off each other. These details are often used to create balance (symmetry or asymmetry).
Texture: Texture includes the fabric created by stitch pattern (or lack of it), the yarn itself, and how those two are combined. Color will impact how we perceive Texture.
Unity: This is both a catchall–it includes Detail, Shape, Texture & Color–and a stand-alone. How it all works together and how that is interpreted by each of us, will tell us whether there is Unity. For instance, a classic blazer (Shape), in navy blue (Color) wool suiting (Texture), with patch pockets and brass buttons (Detail) would be understood by most Americans to be a unified style.
There is nothing that doesn’t really work together in that piece. Individually, we may prefer The same classic blazer with a sleeker look (welt pockets perhaps) in a brighter color (grape), with a more textured fabric (crepe), and funky buttons. This new blazer also has Unity. By changing how the factors that create the design are working together, that same Shape paired with different Color, Texture and Detail becomes a piece that might not be perceived as a Classic blazer any longer.
So we make our choices based on how we perceive what is being presented to us. But that isn’t the entire story is it?