Introduction to Lines as an Element of Design

Lines, an element of design
Lines, an element of design.

The line is a simple, basic element when it comes to graphic design. Alone, the line is very easy to comprehend and see, and it serves simple purposes. However, when combined with others, the line can be used to build complex designs and layouts.

What the Line Is Used For

A designer might use a line to divide or unite elements on a page. Instead of elements being spread all about the document, lines are used to show strict boundaries between separate kinds of content.

Lines also denote direction of movement, like when a diagonal line or arrow is used. They also provide an anchor to hold elements together so that the lines at the top, bottom, or sides of a page can denote the limits for where the elements should exist.

Lines are also used to make patterns, and can be long or short, straight or curved, horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. There are also different kinds of lines, such as solid, dashed, thick, thin, or of variable width.

You can even use lines in conjunction with other elements of your design. One well-known example, the AT&T logo, is a pattern of thick and thin lines arranged in a circular shape.

Find Examples of Lines

With an eye for lines at the forefront of your mind, sift through your sample folder of ads, newsletters, business cards, books, and other projects. Find as many different examples of lines that you can.

Are they used prominently, part of a logo, or in other ways to divide the page or add decoration?

Find examples of each of these six types of lines to see just how common the line is.

  1. Horizontal lines
  2. Vertical lines
  3. Diagonal lines
  4. Curved or freeform lines
  5. Lines used in a pattern
  6. Non-solid lines (dashed, dotted, etc.)