These two elements are very simple, but also powerful. A point, or a dot as we draw it, is the simplest design element. A point focuses our attention on the space around the point.
Put two dots in an empty space, and our mind automatically connects the dots to make a line.
- Points can also show items in a list.
- Points can show locations on a map.
Three dots in an empty space, …what does our mind create from those three points?
The line is a basic design element — a series of connected points. It’s the first thing that any of us can draw. Remember when you had your first set of crayons? What did you draw? You probably scribbled on the paper. Remember how much fun it was..!!
Lines are many points joined together. The basic purpose of a line is to connect other design elements. Lines can also focus our attention on a specific area. Lines show movement. If a line is placed in the middle of a space, it divides that space into two symmetrical, or two equal amounts of space. Lines can also separate a space into two differently sized spaces, or asymmetrically sized spaces. Our eyes automatically follow a line from its beginning to its end. Lines can show basic directions… vertical, horizontal, diagonal, and curvedlines, and also surround an area to create a border.
The Meaning of Different Kinds of Lines
Thin lines appear light and may suggest distance as they become thinner and thinner. Thin lines suggest a certain fragility, like a flower petal. Thin lines can also be the edge of a knife and could suggest precision and a sharp edge.
Thick lines have weight, and imply toughness and appear to be difficult to break. They are bold and make a statement.
Horizontal lines are parallel to the horizon. Could suggest the edge of a wide ocean. We know what is before the horizontal line, but not beyond. Horizontal lines can give us a feeling of calm and security.
Vertical lines are perpendicular to the horizon. Vertical lines could fall over and become horizontal lines, so this could suggest possible destruction. But, as they stand, they are supportive and hold things in place, so we can feel the strength and rigidity. Vertical lines give us a sense of height and upward distance or motion.
Diagonal lines are unbalanced, leaning over as if they are ready to fall. They can be swinging upwards or downwards. This possible movement can be good or bad, up or down, rising or falling. All of this possible motion can create excitement or fear. Diagonal lines can also appear to keep other lines from falling.
Curved lines are gentle and soft. They float gracefully from end to end. They can express fluid movement. They can be calm or dynamic depending on how much they curve. The less dramatic the curve the calmer the feeling.
Zigzag lines are many connected diagonal lines. They are full of energy, excitement, movement, danger. They represent unpredictable direction or confusion.
Dashed and dotted lines are incomplete and allow objects to pass through them, so we might believe these lines to be temporary. Thick dotted and/or dashed lines may be strong, but they still give a sense of not being permanent.
Points and lines are the most basic elements of design. Because these elements are so basic, they are also powerful.
Lines express emotions, moods, and feelings. Check out this website to see how designers have used lines to communicate with the viewer or game player many many different moods and emotions.
Vocabulary: Some words to described lines are thick, thin, vertical, horizontal, diagonal, curved, zig-zag, and spiral. symmetrical, asymmetrical,
Grammar: Prepositions of location: in/inside of, on/ on top of, behind/ in back of, before/ in front of, above/ over, below/ under , next to / on the side of
Example: The line is above or over the triangle.
The triangle is below or under the line.
Example: The line is next to the triangle.
The triangle is on the side of the line.
Example: The line is in front of the triangle.
The triangle is behind the line.
Example: The line is inside the triangle.