Visual Design – Lines, Lines & More Lines

Summary – A line is the most common (and important, IMO) of visual design’s four primary elements. It’s a rare subject that has no lines. It’s important to know how to use them to their best effect.

Understanding lines and their proper use

Will greatly improve your images

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Can you see the lines (and more)?

Roll mouse over the image

This image contains all 4 of visual design’s primary elements

Lines, shapes, texture & perspective

Henry House, Manassas National Battlefield


Knowing what lines are and

How they are interpreted by viewers

Are  important steps in learning visual design


What is a line?

(Here are various different interpretations & definitions; choose)

A mark that spans a distance between two points

taking any form along the way

Marks often used to define a shape or

imply movement

Has both a direction and length and is

Long relative to its width

Leads the eye through an image and

communicates information via their character & direction

Lines can be:

thin, thick, squiggly, straight, curved, zigzag

continuous, broken, implied

vertical, horizontal, oblique, diagonal, long, short

crosshatched, parallel, spiral, dotted, dashed


The next post will return to today’s featured image and

Discuss its use of lines

In the meantime look at the roll over

Consider that in addition to the obvious (red) lines

There are those that define shapes (green & tan)

And – those likely to be missed (fail to be considered as a line)

e.g., the line (black) dividing the image into

Two rectangles – earth & sky

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How are these lines placed & used?

For example –

What effect would taking the wide green path straight down the center of the image instead of its current oblique angle?

This relates to the question of whether horizontal, vertical & oblique lines all send the same message (spoiler alert – NO!)

What’s the effect of moving the horizon higher? Lower?

etc., etc, ….

These are the visual design decisions of the image maker


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