The single biggest element in Rangoli is the concept of Utswdhermita. This is a set of auspicious symbols that lie at the heart of most Rangoli designs. These symbols are often very family-centric and are carefully passed down through the generations, making it a part of a family legacy. Two of the most commonly recurring themes is that of the lotus flower and its leaves, as well as the mango and its leaves. Other common themes include fish, human and divine figures, birds such as parrots, swans and peacock and leaves and vines in various forms. On the occasion of diwali, very specific symbols are used, such as the lamp, also called the deep or diya, the deities Ganesha and Lakshmi, along with a lot of flowers.
After the design, the next important element is the materials used to create the Rangoli. It is important that the materials are found in all homes, rich or poor. In even the humblest dwelling, Rangoli are made from rice flour, vermillion leaves crushed to a powder, charcoal, dried soil, wood or sawdust. More affluent artists have access to turmeric powder, flowers, sand colored with synthetic paints and even brightly colored fabrics made of nylon or silk.
The final important element is the surface or background on which the Rangoli is drawn. traditionally it is drawn on the floor in front of the house or inside the entrance to offices, schools and the like. Sometimes it is drawn on the walls and even on the doors or right in front of statues of deities. The hospitality and tourism industries have given a big boost to Rangoli by attracting a lot of attention to this traditional art form. These days it is also widely promoted in educational institutions, as many schools and colleges have incorporated Rangoli-making competitions into their cultural programs to ensure that the art continues to flourish with the younger generations.