Design Principles And Elements: Lines In Graphic Design

This post is the first in a series of posts about design principles. This post will be covering different types of lines and will explain why they are important in graphic and web design. Also included will be some examples of graphic design work that use the different types lines. I hope you find this post useful and make sure to subscribe for more related posts coming up soon!

Why understanding design principles is important for graphic designers:
As a graphic designer it is very important to have a good understanding of design principles, it is what separates the experts from the amateurs. Graphic design isn’t just about making things look pretty more importantly it is about effectively sending out a desired message through visual communication that is easy to understand and appealing to the desired audience. Because a good understanding of design principles helps you to communicate messages through your work more effectively, it also helps you to attract more of your targeted viewers, therefor, bringing you more customers and possibly helping you to make more money.

Why lines are important in graphic design and web design:

  • Lines can be used to divide space and direct the viewers eyes.
  • Lines can be used to separate content.
  • Lines direct the flow of content.
  • Can be used to create emphasis on a specific area of your work.
  • Can be used as an organizational guide, some examples are:
    1. Wire-framing in web design
    2. Sketching in logo design
    3. Properly aligning text and images in web design and graphic design
    4. The grid system

  • Understanding lines can help you communicate a certain feeling or idea in your work and give you more control over the effect your work will have on yours or your clients target audience.
  • Can help you send out a desired message more effectively through your work, that will be more appealing to your target audience.
  • Understanding lines can help you to create more effective layouts for your design projects.

The Different types of lines:

Line: A point with no dimensions set in motion, can have varying width and length in art and design.

  • There can be unlimited variations of line
  • Basic element that can convey many different moods and feelings in art or design
  • Describes shape
  • Helps recognize familiar objects without displaying actual qualities of the object
  • Basic tool every designer and artist uses
  • Method of representing the three dimensional world

Implied Line: A series of points or figures that the eye automatically connects and forms an imaginary line, some examples are:

  • A trail of crumbs
  • A group of cars behind one another
  • Group of people in line at a concert

Psychic Line: An invisible line from one element to another followed by our eyes and created in our minds. Some examples are:

  • A sign pointing in a certain direction
  • Someones eyes staring in a certain direction

Contour Lines: Used to make up forms and figures in a drawing. Describe the outlines in a drawing.

Horizontal lines: Lines that go from left to right, convey a feeling of stillness and lack of motion or rest. Horizontal lines are normally associated with sleep because normally a sleeping figure is parallel to the earth

Vertical Lines: Convey a sense of height and alertness, can be associated with a person standing up.

Diagonal Lines: Associated with movement or lack of stability, can also indicate depth when using perspective. (Normally an object that is diagonal is not stable and probably about to fall or is in movement). Think of a tree that has just been axed.

Lines In Graphic Design:

Freestyle by Vladimir Tomin

Zebra by Andrew Gibson

Leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of this post. Feel free to add anything I missed or that you feel is important. Thanks for reading!

13 Responses to “Design Principles And Elements: Lines In Graphic Design”

  1. For a graphic designer Its important to know about the lines. Its an essential part of designing.
    You have explained various types of lines in the article. Its really helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lines do convey meaning and mood, and the trick is to use them in such a way that strikes balance and unity.

  3. This is a great article. I am doing research for a logo concept and there are pieces through out the article that support my statements.

    Thank you

  4. Lines make up all design! Thank you for this great article.

  5. I thought this article was very informative and well written! Thanks!

  6. I like what has been done BUT, I came on here for a little kid who wants info for his homework.. I think it would be good if you could include simple images of lines and basic uses so that people of all ages can enjoy this. Thanks :)

  7. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this brilliant blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to fresh updates and will share this site with my Facebook group.
    Talk soon!


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