What is the point of a point? - Kalyani Pramod


As we've already explored the realms of colour and texture in our earlier episodes, it's now time to direct our attention towards the principles of point and line.

What is point? What is the point of a point?

image of point In the realm of design, the elements of design are the foundations. We use these elements to create any product, and visual composition and communicate.  Among these elements, a simple “Point” is of immense importance.  “Point” is often overshadowed by more conspicuouselements like colour, texture, line, shape and texture. Point is an indispensable element in design.


Today we will see the significance of point in the context of design, its various iterations and its role in shaping any design work. 

Defining point, one can say that it is the most basic element, a precise infinitesimal place in space.  It’s a single, isolated mark that has no dimension or shape of its own.  Point is devoid of size, colour or texture.  Yet it is the beginning point for all the other elements and principles of design.

It is a coordinate without any dimensions or area and is the simplest element of design.  By definition, we can’t draw a point, as it has to have dimensions for one to be able to see it.

In fact, what we can see or draw is a dot.  Dots are the building blocks of everything else.

The defining characteristic of a dot is that it is a point of focused attention.  Dots fix themselves in space and provide a reference point relative to the other forms and space around them.  In other words, points establish a relation with the space surrounding them.

For example, if we have one point present in a space, our brain works to find the meaning of its placement and tries to make something out of it.  This phenomenon can be used to create a void using a single point.

When the same point is purposely placed at the end of an area, it creates tension in the design.  Also, repeating such points can create very interesting effects.


A single point alone can change the visual while adding another point to the same visual can make it more intriguing.  Let’s begin to study their interaction.

Relation between 2 Points:

When two points are placed far from each other, both these points act as different entities, which then emphasizes the structure between them.  When many more points are added to the same space a pattern is created and the structure is emphasized further


relationship between points


Similarly, when two points are placed close to each other there is a tension created.  The shorter the distance, the higher the tension.  As one brings the points closer to each other a tiny space remains between them that holds all the tension, this becomes more important than any other points present in that space. When we let the points overlap, a new relation is created where are point is in the foreground and the other is in the background.  Overlapping points form other complex shapes like lines and curves

point relationship





The Versatility of point:

Emphasis: The point acts as a visual anchor that draws the viewer’s eyes to specific areas in a composition.  Just one single bright point can create a focal point against a muted background emphasis

Direction: Points can become guides, directing the viewer’s eye through design.  They establish visual pathways, facilitating communication.

patterns and points Repetition and Patterns: Patterns are formed when points are organized systematically.  They can also contribute to rhythm and structure in a composition if points are placed evenly to form a grid or a series of dots forming a visual line, Patterns established by points can invoke various emotions and moods.


Negative space: Points can define negative space through their arrangement or absence. They can also form shapes and silhouettes that contribute to the balance and harmony in a composition

negative space





points in typography

Typography: In the area of typography points form punctuation marks like full stops, commas, and semicolons.  The written word gains structure and clarity with these marks


Textures and compositions: Points are instrumental in creating texture and defining composition.  The art movement of “pointillism” emerged in the 19th century and was groundbreaking.  This movement was pioneered by many artists like Georges Seurat, Paul Signar, Vincent Van Gogh, Anna Bach and many more.  

The technique adopted was a meticulous placement of individual dots or points of pure colour on the canvas. The points are placed close together or spaced specifically to achieve the desired visual effect.  When the points are viewed from a distance, the eye of the viewers optically blends these dots, creating a range of colours that are harmonious.


paul signor

One of the most iconic examples of Pointillism is George Seurat’s masterpiece ‘’A Sunday on La Grande Jette’’. Paul Signar’s ‘’ The Pine Tree at Saint Tropez’’ is another piece of work which showcases the brilliance of Pointillism.



In short, point is the visual element upon which all the others are based.  It can be described in geometric terms as the area where two coordinates meet.

In conclusion, points in the design are not merely singular entities but dynamic elements with a range of values. They serve as focal points, markers in space, storytellers, connectors, and tools for contrast. They are the most important element upon which design is built.

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