Variety refers to how artists and designers add complexity and visual interest to their work. All artists and designers need to consider how they balance unity and variety in their work.

Unity is needed so that a composition will appear as one unified work rather than just separate elements.

Variety is needed to create interest and to prevent a work from being dull or monotonous.

These three methods all add variety to a composition:

  • Contrast – using shapes, forms, colour, texture or other elements that are very different from each other can create dynamic and eye-catching works.
  • Difference and change – repeating similar elements but varying one aspect, such as size, colour or position, can create a unified composition but keep it interesting.
  • Elaboration – adding detail and complexity can add interest and give the viewer more to look at and think about.