Decorative elements (called "Artifacts" in Adobe’s documentation) are elements that should be placed in the background of your document so that they are not read by screen readers. Some example may be borders or decorative bars to separate sections. Some images are put on a page for "looks" and do not have any meaning to the content. If your document contains decorative images or markings that add only visual interest (i.e.., they do not convey meaningful information), they should either be left untagged or, if they are already tagged as images (figures), they should be re-tagged as background.
A good way to see if an element is decorative or not is to ask "would the document's message be changed by removal of this element?" If not, then it is most likely a decorative element.
NOTE: An official logo or organizational letterhead should be tagged with alt-text, not as background decoration. Although logos and organizational markings may be decorative, they also help users (sighted or non-sighted) to identify “official” documents.
In the example below, the border around the flyer as well as the image in the bottom right corner are decorative elements. They exist as aesthetic elements only and do not convey information.
If your document’s headings, blocks of text (paragraphs), images, and background decorations are all correctly tagged and all possess alt-texts where required, continue to Step 8: Correct your document’s reading order.