The Language of Lines
Lines are one of the Elements of Design, or the building blocks of all things visual. And they have a language of their own that we all are aware of, maybe without realizing it! Lines form letters and shapes that form words and drawings. Lines also direct our eyes to things or make separations clear.
Types of Lines…
Just a single line can say so much! Yet the language of a line is often overlooked. The video above shows a few types of lines and the ways we interpret them, whether or not we’re aware. A short video at only 36 seconds, so give it a quick watch.
Here are a few things to remember, whether you are arranging food on a plate, writing a thank you note, or drawing a masterpiece.
…And Their Meaning
Still, stable, and grounded.
Fluid, flexible, and moving.
Powerful, angry, and dangerous.
What about wavy lines? Dotted lines? Thick or thin lines? Broken lines?
The exact same lines can convey a different feeling and cause a different reaction with the viewer, depending on whether those lines are horizontal or vertical!
These lines are named after what is probably the most well-known line of all, the horizon line. That’s where the earth (or water if you’re out at sea) and the sky meet. They create a feeling of stillness and move your eye from left to right, at least in cultures where we read left to right. Along with the horizon, mountains, fields, and bodies of water are often associated with horizontal lines.
These lines have a more dynamic feel to them, almost like they’re falling, like rain or a waterfall. Or they can evoke almost the opposite feeling, like that of a wall or prison bars locking us in. Vertical lines direct our eyes up and down, or from top to bottom.
All types of lines have their place, with no type being better or worse than another. However, some types of lines may be best for some situations, while other types of lines simply won’t work. The wrong type of lines can create the wrong impression or cause something to mean something you didn’t intend.
Give it a try!
Here’s a quick and simple way to practice drawing squiggly line and get your creative juices flowing at the same time. It only takes a few minutes (or can take as long as you want) and uses whatever paper you have handy. Markers, crayons, pencils, colored pencils will all work fine. Use whatever you have! And give your creation a name when you get done. It’s surprising what a great name can do for things!
This is about the PROCESS of creating, not so much the PRODUCT, or the way things turn out.