20 Aug

One of the most common elements of design are lines, both horizontally, vertically but also diagonally. They can as well create shapes but I would like to write about them later on.

Lines can help with dividing the frame, locating things inside the frame and giving a sense of direction.

As mentioned in the course material horizontal lines are considered to be strongly locating, seeing them as a natural base.
Words to be used could be: steady, static, stable having weight.

Examples of horizontal lines could be the horizon, man-made surfaces, a row of objects, mass of objects seen from a low angle (flowers, e.g.)…

Vertical lines on the other hand tend to be more confronting and communicating more a sense of movement.

Examples could be a human figure, trees, man-made structures, …

On page 78 and 79 of the course material are some good examples of pictures that include vertical and horizontal lines. The third pictures, showing the desert road, shows the road slightly off-centre, with that taking away a little of the static value.
The fourth picture, showing the leg-rowers, shows that “parallel verticals are often best suited to a horizontal frame which gives them greater speed…”.

Diagonals, being in direct contrast to the lines of the frame, communicate a sense of direction, activity and leading the eye through the picture or at least to an important object.

Apart from actual lines in the frame there is also the possibility to have implied lines, in other words “imaginary” lines as e.g. following the view of a person in the frame, some points that form a line or maybe the direction in which a car is driving or a bird flying.


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