Design Elements - Lines

Lines are used by designers to give help with character and expression in a piece. They are often referred to as one of the simplest elements of design, yet in practice they can be used in complex and extremely effective ways, they can either work on their own or in conjunction with any amount of lines to really communicate and impact an audience. Lines are comprised of a series of marks, or points. Lines are also used to give a sense of movement to an object and can be used to direct the eye to the main subject. There are many different types of lines that can be used to represent a multitude of things, these are including but not limited to;


  • Vertical Lines - Are used to symbolise strength and power, since vertical lines are most commonly perceived as going upwards it visually pulls your eye up, expressing the height of the object.
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  • Horizontal Lines - Usually symbolise tranquillity and rest, It reflects objects parallel to the earth as the objects seem at rest in relation to gravity.
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  • Diagonal Lines - Are used to show perspective and action, an example would be a tunnel, from the front perspective of the image to the smaller end further away you get a real expression of length and distance to the other end.
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  • ZigZag Lines - Although not used as often as the other variants of lines, zigzags can symbolise frustration or anger but because of their jagged and sometimes obscene nature they can also be used to convey confusion and nervousness as they change direction quickly and frequently.
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  • Curved Lines - Curves can communicate relaxation and form, the smoothness and flow making it feel more carefree and easy. Curves can be used to symbolise beauty and elegance as well, being most commonly used in body design and creation.
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  • Weighted Lines - The thickness of a line can have an impact on the overall look of a image, as it shows weakness and power. A line that is thin suggests weakness while a bold line suggests power.
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