In Line with Kalyani

In the previous article, we talked about ‘point’ which is one of the elements of design. Now we come to ‘line’.
Design is a field where every element plays a vital role in conveying meaning, evoking emotions, and achieving visual harmony. Among these elements, lines hold a prominent position. The famous artist Paul Klee once described a line as “a dot out for a walk.” This simple yet profound statement encapsulates the essence of a line as one of the fundamental elements in design.


The line is essentially a series of connected points. The line has a beginning and an ending point. It is an element of design, basics to all tangibles and important to the field of design. One must understand the various, different potentials of line.
Lines symbolise, clarify and communicate many things. It can set a mood, take a stand, create a location or make a statement. The lines are characterised by their length, direction and weight.

There are different kinds of lines, like straight or wavy, long or short, heavy or soft, geometric or organic. They can also be horizontal, vertical or diagonal. Lines can also be solid, dashed, thick, thin or of variable width. The end of a line can be ragged, blunt or curved.

Different Kinds of Lines:
Lines can be used in various purposes from simple organisation to conveying very complex meaning.
Different lines in different orientations have different characteristics. They also help us to express information. They can be used to create perspective, outline a landscape frame a composition etc. The directionality of the line also has an important effect. In a composition horizontal and vertical lines convey structure. The slanted lines suggest movement and dynamism. 
Types of lines:
Lines can be defined by their usage.

Contour lines: edges are defined by contour lines. They demarcate areas inside or outside of objects and create boundaries. Most of the lines we encounter are Contour lines

Dividing lines: Dividing lines split space in addition to defining borders, which sets them apart from contour lines. The lines between columns of text are dividing lines like for example in a menu card.

Decoration lines: An object can be embellished with decoration lines. One way to use decorative lines to give an object form and shading. Cross-hatching is a classic example of this.

Gesture lines: These are fast, uneven lines that are used to depict shape and movement.    


The Meaning of Different Kinds of Lines:
As previously said, there are numerous methods to characterize a particular line, and each one lends the line a distinct quality.  
It seems simple to break or topple Thin lines. They convey an air of elegance while hinting at fragility. They have a fleeting quality and are delicate.  
Conversely, Thick lines seem harder to break. They highlight surrounding elements and convey strength. They stand out and make a bold statement. 
Horizontal Lines are the ones that go parallel to the horizon. They appear to be sleeping, resting, or lying down. They imply serenity and tranquility, a laid-back comfort.  Horizontal lines are indestructible. They accentuate the breadth. They are dependable and safe. They communicate a peaceful calmness, an absence of strife. Horizontal lines are associated with earth-bound things.  
Vertical lines are perpendicular to the horizontal. There is potential energy in them. These are rigid, powerful lines. When they are thicker, they notably imply solidity. Vertical lines indicate a lack of movement and highlight height.  They are also associated with religious sentiments as they extend from the earth to the heavens. They may exude respect because of their height and formality.  
Diagonal lines are unbalanced. They seem to be rising or falling and contain restless, uncontrollable energy. They portray motion and action. Tension and excitement are produced by their seeming movement and kinetic energy. They are more dramatic than horizontal or vertical lines.
Curved lines are softer than straight lines. They move between end points with grace. Compared to straight lines, they are less certain and predictable. They swerve and alter course. Lines with curves convey flowing motion. The degree to which they curve determines whether they are calm or dynamic.



Types Of Lines
Zigzag lines are a combination of diagonal lines that connect at points. They are dynamic and have high energy characteristics of diagonal lines. These lines create excitement and intense movement. Zigzag lines convey confusion and nervousness as they change direction quickly and frequently. They can imply danger and destruction as they break down.
Long, perfectly even lines feel artificial. Nature is not perfectly straight. As variation is added to a line it becomes less artificial and more natural.
Zigzag line is a set of diagonal lines connecting at certain spots. They possess the high energy attributes of diagonal lines and are lively. Excitement and vigorous movement are produced by these lines. Zigzag lines, which abruptly and repeatedly change direction, are used to depict anxiety and bewilderment. As they disintegrate, they may imply peril and devastation.  Perfectly straight, long lines appear artificial, as nature is not perfectly straight. A line gets less artificial and more natural when variation is added. 


Dashed and dotted lines are implied lines. There is a gap between them and they are not complete. Even if it's not as strong as a solid line, a thick, vertically dashed or dotted line is nevertheless powerful.  
Line Patterns: 
A pattern is made up of a sequence of lines. In addition to the meaning of the individual lines, these line patterns also carry meaning.

An impact of constant width and spacing between parallel lines gives orderliness. The orientation of the lines—horizontal, vertical, or diagonal—is irrelevant. Repetition establishes order even in curving lines. Even though they are mainly static, a succession of curving lines provides the impression of movement

We can depict motion by changing the distance between lines of the same thickness. A dynamic impression is produced when lines with the same thickness are spaced randomly apart. The impact gets more dramatic when we adjust both the thickness and the spacing


Line patterns can be combined to produce texture and shading. Value can be managed by applying a line. Shapes can be created by combining lines. 
I hope you enjoyed the film which was made in 1965. The film illustrates the relationship between a point and a line. There is a lot more to share about the line. I will do so in the course of a few months.



Kalyani Pramod is a Designer, Artist, Fibre artist, Design teacher, Mentor and also a Director in Shuttles & Needles. She writes a series of articles in the newsletter about Elements of Design in simple non-technical language for everyone to understand the concepts easily.


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