The line is possibly the most elemental element of visual composition. Strangely enough, however, lines do not really exist in nature. Take the Rosenthal image of the flagpole below, for example. The pole itself appears as a line. However, if you zoom in, you will see that it has thickness and actually has a very long shape. But because of the relationship in scale with other visual elements, it works great as a line and is perceived as such.

Lines serve many purposes in visual composition. They can divide the composition, they can attract the viewer's attention, they can define shapes and they can explain the feeling or interpretation of the image by the viewer. Using lines with the feel of a composition is extremely important. This allows you to define 5 types of lines and what impact they usually have visually.

Vertical lines

Vertical lines create a bold statement. They tend to suggest strength with a strong foundation. They indicate a sense of reliability.

Horizontal lines

Horizontal lines also indicate stability, but in a much quieter way. They suggest balance, harmony and in some cases finality or a feeling of cadence (end).

Diagonal lines

Diagonal lines also create a strong feeling, but indicate a feeling of energy or movement. Combining diagonal lines with vertical or horizontal lines can create a nice mix of power and dynamics.

Organic lines

Organic lines often come from nature. The start to introduce feelings of chaos, complexity and beauty. Our eyes begin to relate to this type of line in a much deeper way and respond even more advanced than we might think. Lines that indicate lightning have an angular quality and can appear intense. Lines in patterns such as grass or wheat fields can suggest a sense of calming beauty. Organic line is starting to become associative on an unconscious level with the viewer.

Implicit lines

Implicit lines may be the most interesting if they are used correctly. Involved lines in composition do not exist at all and are not even displayed visually. They are made with targeted elements such as shape, hand gesture, eye contact (or direction) etc. They may be the most difficult elements to work with, but usually have the strongest impact when done properly.


Compositie, Lijnen


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