The Seven Elements of Design – Part I – Line

I was recently made aware of a gap in my education regarding design. Perhaps I forgot these principles or maybe I never learned them in the first place, but there are seven basic elements of design. Seven different ways that made a composition more interesting, more conceptual, more appealing. These Seven Elements of Design related to the Four Principles of Design – of which I will address at a later time.


These are lines. Yes, lines. They make up the first (in no particular order) element of design. Last week I handed a paper to an instructor and his first question was, “Where are the lines?”. Open a newspaper or a magazine and count how many lines you see on one page. This is an important element. I will forever see my instructors well-manicured finger jabbing at a magazine, “Line! Line! Line!”.

One of the first references to lines in the Bible is of God speaking to Moses in Numbers 34. God is giving Moses instructions for when they enter Canaan, telling him where the borders are to be placed. At the end of verse 10, God says, “This shall be your land according to its borders all around.”

In design, lines divide and join, separate and bring together. God uses lines to mark out the Promised Land. These lines were so important because they Israelites were getting so close to the fulfilment of the promise God had made to them. The vision was becoming a reality and God’s chosen people were beginning to see beyond the desert they had been roaming.

Whether your lines are dividing text, surrounding an image or creating the image, never underestimate their importance. Line is the beginning of the fulfilled promise.


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