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The role of lines in graphic design

14 December, 2010

One of the basic elements in graphic design is line. Line is used to add style, enhance comprehension, create forms, and divide space by being a border around other design elements or divider between them.

Indeed, there are far more uses of lines than what they basically offer – as content separator or boundary as in the case of print and web content. Whatever the line is made up, be it curved, dotted, zigzag or straight, it can effectively define elements in graphic design.

Lines may also help other elements follow a so-called path. As such, there are typeface designs that are curvy, circular, and so on. Lines may likewise form a grid system, the foundation for design layout that directs the flow of content on a page.

When used alone, they can be rules, downrules or leaders to help separate, organise, or emphasise content. Lines can also be used alone or in combination with other graphic design elements to set moods, create textures, define shapes, and build patterns.

But despite the usefulness of lines in separating or directing other graphic design elements, the line can exist on its own and become the design itself. Take for example the three heavy diagonal lines that form the logo for Adidas.

Lines can be made into various forms, widths, lengths and directions. They can be solid, dashed, dotted, etc. Lines can be made into different shapes, as well. Take for instance the logo of IBM and AT&T. With IBM, the typeface graphic design is made of blue, horizontal lines in varying lengths. With AT&T, the globe is still made of blue lines, this time curved upwards to create a globe-like image.

In summary, there are about seven kinds of lines. They are horizontal lines, vertical lines, diagonal lines, curved or freeform lines, pattern lines, non-solid lines, and solid lines. Lines can be used in graphic design in a variety of ways. They can be used as borders around elements, content separators or dividers, contours or patterns, and as decoration. More importantly, lines can exist without the other design elements and can be made into an effective design.

To better improve the quality of lines as depicted in design making, it is wise to use advanced design tools. Creating and designing lines for graphic design is simpler now with the application of design software such as Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw.

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