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Visual Cues: Form

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on 15 February 2014

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Transcript of Visual Cues: Form

Lines are not always explicit. They can exist by implication.

We seek out shapes when we see lines. In this diagram, most
of us would see a triangle rather than three independent
angles, according to the Gestalt principle of good continuity.

A line conveys information. Characteristics of weight,
contour, angle, color and texture are used to create meaning.

A horizontal line suggests repose, relaxation. Compositions in which
horizontal lines dominate tend to be quiet and restful in feeling.

Two dots create competition for the eye. Two dots create movement.
When we have two dots we have the beginning of a composition.

Diagonal lines are dynamic. They are filled with restless and
uncontrolled energy. Their kinetic energy and apparent
movement create tension and excitement.

A vertical line has the characteristics of alertness and action.
It can communicate a feeling of loftiness and spirituality.


A line can be thought of as a series of dots, or as “a dot that
went for a walk.” A line by its nature separates things on either
side of it. Or it can connect two things at either end.

When we see more than two dots not in a straight line, we try to form a
shape, a thought process that the Gestalt theorists described as closure.
We also create movement from dot to dot, something designers exploit.

The dot is a small, circular point in space.
It is the most basic element of visual composition.



Visual Cues

Three types of FORMS:





These shapes are the basic elements or fundamental
building blocks found in all visual communication.

Alone or in combination with other shapes or
lines they can convey universal meanings as
well as guide the eye or organize information.

Circles, Parallelograms and Triangles

In this painting, Renoir uses three
areas of red to create a triangular
composition. Red is the color that
stays on the retina the longest. It
attracts the eye, So it must be used
carefully. Renoir stretches it over
three points (or dots).

Lines, either stated or implied, are
the key elements in the division of
space. How we deploy lines and
how we divide space are signs like
any others; it means something.

Circles suggest infinity. They are
also protective (think of protective
encircling arms). They are endless
and warm. They can also denote
free movement such as a rolling ball.

The square denotes honesty and stability.
Squares are familiar, trusted shapes.
Because the vast majority of text we read is
set in squares and rectangles, it has become
familiar, safe and comfortable.

More sophisticated then the square. A common shape that is favored
for mediated images.

Triangles suggests action. They are dynamic and exciting. Triangles may convey either conflict or strength. Triangles can direct movement (up, down, left, right)…depending on which way they point.
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