The Rule of Three: Part One - Triangle Composition

The Rule of Three: Part One - Triangle Composition

by Susanne Kathol, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

How many times have you heard, "on the count of three," or "third time's a charm?" Or how about "ready, aim, fire," "lights, camera, action," or "go, fight, win?" And think of classic fairy tales and popular nursery rhymes such as "Three Little Pigs," "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," "Three Little Kittens," and "Three Blind Mice." And three-act plays, the concept of past, present and future and how many things have a beginning, middle and end. The list goes on and on ... All of these represent examples of using a sequence or combination of three elements or the number three for impact. So what's so magical about the number three? Well, it all comes down to the way we interpret information.

We're programmed to recognize patterns--three objects can form an identifiable pattern and three elements are much easier to remember than more. And we like looking at things in threes. It is well-established that information and objects grouped in threes, or arranged to form a triangle, are more visually appealing.

Apply the rule of three to jewelry-making to increase the visual impact, balance, movement and overall pleasantness of a piece. Learn more about the rule of three in this illustrative three-part series including design ideas to help identify and/or integrate this principle into your own work.

The Rule of Three: A Three-Part Jewelry Design Series

  1. "Part One: Triangle Composition" article
  2. ''Part Two: Why Being Odd is Good'' article
  3. ''Part Three: Third Color's the Charm'' article

Triangle Composition

The Rule of Three: Part One - Triangle Composition As a three-part shape, triangles naturally follow the "rule of three" design principle. Found in many famous works of art, triangles are one of the strongest compositional shapes, adding a sense of visual unity and dynamic nature to design. Due to their closed curved shaped, the eye is drawn to the triangle's three separate points, keeping the focus centered and balanced, instead of leading the eye outside of the frame.

Visual emphasis is given to the peak of a triangle, allowing designers the ability to change the flow of the piece by rotating the orientation of triangles in a design. For example, in a painting or photograph the image or figure at the peak of the triangle will appear superior to other images and if the triangle is reversed, the figure at the bottom will appear less important.

Incorporate triangular composition into jewelry by literally using triangle-shaped beads and jewelry-making components such as jumprings, clasps, pendants and more.

The Rule of Three: Part One - Triangle Composition

Three cascading triangle jumprings, within three larger triangle jumprings, offer three distinct groupings of interest. Pleasing to the eye, this composition creates an upward movement and progression.

The Rule of Three: Part One - Triangle Composition

The eye is drawn to the triangle drop component, visually framing the Crystal Passions® bicone dangle and stabilizing the cascading rows of embellishment.

Take a more subtle approach by incorporating triangle shapes or using three points of interest in a piece for a beautifully balanced result. Known as an "implied triangle," the shape may exist without the viewer even realizing it. Even though people may not immediately recognize the triangle composition, it subconsciously fulfills our desire for simplicity and completeness, invoking a positive emotional response. Chevron or zigzag patterned beads and components can also be used for a similar result.

The Rule of Three: Part One - Triangle Composition

Two different implied triangles create a well-balanced composition, adding emphasis to the antiqued "pewter drops" and Crystal Passions flat backs in these chandelier earrings.

The Rule of Three: Part One - Triangle Composition

Many different elements are brought together in an implied triangular composition, creating an overall cohesiveness and eye-pleasing design.

The Rule of Three: Part One - Triangle Composition

This edgy cuff bracelet is visually appealing with a triangle-based chevron pattern created with glueFOIL™ Adhesive Foil.

View more design ideas with a triangle composition for creative inspiration.

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