Lauren, Kathleen, Rachel

* Emphasis- when one element appears to be more important; attracts more attention than anything else in the composition
Focal Point- the most dominant element
You can find the focal point by the size, contrast (different from everything else), location (placement, sometimes the focal point is in the center of the composition), lines direct the eyes to it (implied lines), and isolation.

* You can create emphasis by contorting the attention of the elements in the picture.

The objective of contrast is to produce maximum visibility. The more contrast there is the more noticeable an item is.
Color/Value: One of the greatest possible contrasts in art is the difference between black and white (value contrast). Color contrasts can be strong but usually not as strong as value contrasts. Bright colors are more attractive (attract attention) than dull colors. There is room for a great deal of manipulation in color and value. That is one of the reasons that color is so difficult to use well.
To make something stand out use strong value contrast. If color is used make it bright, preferably against a dull background. Different colors that are the same value do not show as much as you would expect.
Size: When it comes to being noticed B I G G E R is always better. There is a place for all different sizes in the scheme of things. It is not always desirable to be noticed first. Learning how to use size to control emphasis is important.

Shape: An unusual shape can call attention to itself but it is not as strong a contrast as size or value/color.
Other contrasts like direction and texture can also be used to control emphasis.
Taken together all of these contrasts affect visibility, regardless of where the object is placed.

Where items are in relation to the format and each other can affect emphasis.
To the format: The most important place in the format, by far, is the center. That is where the viewer looks first and so anything that is there is likely to be noticed first. The further from the center, the less noticeable an item becomes. As items contact the outside edges they become slightly more noticeable.
Objects that overlap the edge of format call more attention to themselves. They seem to be going out or coming in to the composition. This works well if it is not overdone and the format shape is simple and clear. These objects can seem to be in front of the format.
To other items in the composition: Once you establish a primary focal point you can use proximity, similarity and continuance relationships to control what is to be noticed next.
Proximity: An overlapping, touching or close object is likely to be seen next (in that order) after a primary object. Where you place the objects is important.

Isolation is a kind of placement -- where something is put. An item that stands apart from its surroundings will be more noticeable. This is not likely to make an item be noticed first but can make one item stand out.

Proportion is a design principle that has to do with the relationship between size and scale. It is mentioned here to give you a chance to have some fun with the project for this lesson.
Size is how large (or small) an item actually is. It is a measurable quantity.
Scale is a relative size. It refers to how large (or small) an item seems. There has to be some standards against which to measure scale.

This picture has emphasis on the turtle because it has lighter colors then the ocean in the back.
This picture emphasizes the man because he is drawn with many bright colors and the background is black.
This picture as emphasis on the flower because it is white and the background is dark red.