Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Primary Elements (part 2)

A line is essentially a series of points. In algebra, if you have two points you can draw a line. A line can be defined, with a starting point and ending point, or it can be infinite (in algebraic terms), heading off in one or two directions without end. In the latter case, it is also directional, pointing up, down, left, right, or in a diagonal. An implied line may not be solid, but still lead you (physically or visually) in a linear fashion toward a location.

Image credit: Kleinman, Susan. "Mid-Country Modern." Metropolitan Home. April 2006. 98. (Overlay mine.)
Line orientation can also have a psychological effect. Vertical lines lend height and can imply strength, definition, grandeur, or intimidation. Horizontals can lower perceptions of height; they echo or recall ground lines, which also imply stability, but can get static or boring. Diagonals are dynamic, implying movement and lending energy to a space. The number, frequency, and repetition of lines can do many things, from defining a space to changing your perception of a space; many verticals, for example, could be invigorating but could also create anxiety, chopping up the perception of space or making the user feel hemmed in. Deliberate application of line is always called for.

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