Education Article :: Chapter 02 :: Vertical Line Study

Vertical Line Composition Development
Even/Static Static/dominant Static/dominant
Progression Progression Progression
Progression Progression Random

The line interval sequence of problems is the next phase of their investigation. The first example is the even static interval using five black and fourwhite lines to establish a benchmark for comparison. The series of line interval projects move fromsimple to complex. Each design implements both aesthetic ideas and visual communication. The individual square must work by itself and within the matrix. I use the analogy of a type font where each letter must be original but work with the other letters in the font. This matrix helps the new design student see elements as well as the big picture. Most students have an education based on art and not design. They see their images as pictures or paintings that may not be part a larger series. They use the three curved line studies as the opposite organic counterpart to the rigid line interval studies.

Thomas Detrie writes of the two dimensional design process, 'The relationship of lines to each other is investigated in a systematic way. Initial studies are completed creating static compositions with black or white emphasis. Next, manipulation of space and creation of movement through line progressions are investigated. Depth differentiation created through a random line arrangement.

To begin the line interval problem, studies are done using (five) black vertical lines that define a five inch area. Each study deals with different line systems and different quantities of black and white lines. These studies are done to gain an understanding of how to make line read as a system.
Consider layering as an option for your designs.
Black lines on a white field.
White line on a black field.

Project analysis
The line interval series of exercises encourage the students to look at composition both static and progressive. The control of the space using figure and ground and interval spacing help the students deal with formal values as the starting point of their design studies.

Static / Constant (Be decisive)
01) A static field showing an even relationship of black to white line.
02) Black is dominant to white.
03) White is dominant to black.
Dynamic / Progression
04) Black increases, white remains constant.
05) White increases, black remains constant.
06) Black & white increase, same direction, different rates.
07) Black decreases & white increases, different rates.
08) White decreases & black increases, different rates.
09) Random. An arrangement of five black lines, without repeating any line weights. Random in weight and placement. No apparent system or progression. The composition should not be predictable. Field should remain well defined. Be able to explain the design idea. (ThD)

Organic Curvilinear Form Development
Passive/Active Linear element Extreme active
These three exercises move from simple to complex. The first sketch is a passive shape with an active shape relative to it. This relationship establishes the rhythm for the remaining designs. The second form includes a curved line usually between the two forms. The three levels of activity are passive, active, and more active. The final form has five levels of activity all the way to extremely active. Project analysis
The final three sketches involve the use of curved lines and shapes. This is an aesthetic exercise to communicate levels of activity. The students create a feeling and appreciation for space and movement.

My own work as a teacher and a practitioner is in any event inconceivable unless it raises the perennial problem of the fundamentals underlying an activity in which thought, development, and execution must form a unit. In this world based on the division of labor the principles of fragmentation are being extended to spheres which are by nature indivisible.
Armin Hofmann 'Work, Quest, and Philosophy' (Basel, 1989 Birkhäuser Verlag; pg. 22)

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Copyright © 1996-2005 MK Graphic Design. All rights reserved. No portion of this document may be copied, reproduced, or electronically reused without written permission from Michael Kroeger at MK Graphic Design. (06.19.05)