Design Elements – Line: Learn & Use Correctly

I know of no other Element that is such a basic and vital tool for any design work such as a Line.

The Elements of Design provide the designer with a basic set of tools to begin working with.

How often do we put pen to paper, or read, yes read all the squiggles and lines that make up words. The words translate into messages and are at the core of our vital world of communication. Any language has Line as its communication tool, be it in words or pictures.

Image 1. Line

Line is a profound tool that we again take for granted everyday. It has been used since man first graced this earth.

Image 2. Line

Line as an Element of Design can be explained simply as a fundamental mark or stroke in which the length is longer than the width. It can be straight, curved, heavy, soft or a mixture. It can be characterized as a shape by being the edge of an area or surface. It can show movement, rhythm, create a texture or indicate an emotional effect. In fact, words (that are really just lines) and line drawing are the most basic communication tools we have.

Think about the use of maps, they are the relationship between places scaled and legible giving vital information. Floor Plans, graphs, novels, newspapers are also vital tools used for information.

As amazing as all of this is, Line in the design arena suggests and evokes a message. Looking at our architecture today, horizontal lines are used extensively and suggests a feeling of rest in relation to gravity. I guess when we sleep we are in a horizontal position.

Image 3. Line

One of the hallmarks of the world greatest architect of the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright, was his style of using strong Horizontal lines. I have included some images of his amazing work, just take note of the dates he actually had his buildings built. The house called “Falling Waters” is pictured above, built in 1935, Wright had amazing vision for his architecture. He was constantly sketching ideas (lines as ideas that translate into masterpieces).

Image 4. Line

Guggenheim Museum, Manhattan New York is also Frank Lloyd Wright’s work built 1959. Note the use of Line throughout the building. Watch this video, this is a fascinating viewing into incredible design and the use of Line in a masters hands.

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Image 5. Line

The interior space below also uses Line in a simple but tasteful cohesion. Note the use of Line is also the principle of repetition. It’s interesting to note the horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines all inter playing and adding tension to this room.

Image 6. Line

Vertical lines communicate a feeling of loftiness and the sense of height while the diagonal lines suggest movement or direction. They also evoke feelings of instability and add stress to the brief. The lines of the chair are a strong feature. As explained before, the Principles of Design can be thought of as what we do to the Elements of Design. Stay tuned for more Elements in Design.

By Paulina Bird

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About Paulina Bird

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