NHS Designs

a mark or stroke long in proportion to its breadth, made with a pen, pencil, tool, etc., on a surface: a line down the middle of the page.

related concepts

  • Contour lines
  • Hatching and cross-hatching
  • Gestural lines
  • Implied lines
  • Expressive lines


Assignment 5: Grid Puzzle

Graphic Design Principles of 
			  Visual Design


Line is a mark made by a pointed tool - brush, pencil, stick, pen, etc. - and is often defined as a moving dot.

It has length and width, but its width is very thin compared to its length.

A line is created by the movement of a tool and pigment, and often suggests movement in a drawing or painting.

Line in Fine Art

Mark Tobey - Geography of Phantasy
Mark Tobey - "Geography of Phantasy", 1948

Tobey's painting is all line. He actually drew with his brush, then repeated lines creating a complex pattern. Tobey's lines are the subject of the painting and are not used to outline shapes or objects.

Source: Elements and Principles of Design: Student Guide with Activities, published by Crystal Productions

Line in Graphic Design

Swan Poster by Mcray Magleby
Swan Poster
McRay Magleby
Magleby and Company

This poster shows how just a few strokes of line can be used to effectively illustrate a swan. While the lines do not adhere to the anatomy of a swan, the image is unmistakable, and the simplicity and grace of the lines convey a feeling of tranquility.

There are no excess lines; the poster has just the number of lines needed to communicate this image. Particularly successful is the use of wavy lines to communicate a reflection on the water. Type is used sparingly (only along the left edge,) and only to provide needed information to the viewer.

Source: Design Basics for Creative Results by Bryan L. Peterson

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