Lesson 3: Elements of Design: Line, Shape and Form, Space


Space is an area or extent, and as such is a critical element of visual design. As the basic raw material of a design, space is the empty area into which the other elements of line, shape, colour, texture and pattern are placed. Space can be formal or informal, personal or impersonal, warm or cold, enclosing or expanding, confining or librating. It can attract or repel. The different characteristics of space can be exploited by the designer in many ways. Space gives rest and relief in a pattern. It provides distance which determines how shapes, lines and spatial division relate.

The space enclosed by the lines forms a shape and shape is simply an enclosed space. So shape, line and space are inseparable from each other. The problems of placement of shapes in space involve all the principles of design, but more specifically the principle of proportion. As we add shapes within one particular space bound by a outline, tensions are created causing the eye to move from one shape to another, the movement in space is created by different means e.g. by contrast in shapes, in size, in direction etc.

Space might be divided employing repetition, variety, and combination of repetition and variety. The feeling of distance is created by the gradual decrease in size of the shape (Fig.3.23). Also the overlapping of shapes (Fig.3.24) creates an illusion of depth.

Last modified: Tuesday, 24 January 2012, 8:05 AM