Graphic Design

Point, Line and Plane – The Building Blocks of Graphic Design

By March 16, 2015May 26th, 2020No Comments
point line plane

Point, line and plane are the elementary units of graphic design. If you were to deconstruct a design or a communication workpiece, these are the basic units you’ll find. Point, line and plane are the constituent parts of the graphic designer’s masterpiece.


A point locates a position in space or on the canvas. In graphic design, a point takes on the form as a dot which is a perceivable mark. A series of points form a line and an assemblage of points makes a texture, shape or plane. A point is comparable with an atom. It is the smallest particle of a graphical element that can exist on a communication piece.

In typography, a period or full stop is a point. It marks the end of a message, sentence or worded line. In a paragraph, a period sparks off the beginning of a new message, sentence and line. A character or an alphabet in a sentence can be regarded as a point in a line. A string of characters or alphabets forms a sentence. Likewise, colour printing on printed communications involves points. In printing, an image or colour is formed by overlapping colour dots which are akin to points. In digital communications, a point is equivalent to a pixel, a minuscule area illuminated on a display screen. An image on a display screen is formed by many pixels of colour.

At the macro level, the greatest or most important point of a visual is the focal point. Graphic design is communication through visual means. Having a strong focal point, is paramount in capturing the audience’s gaze.

basic graphic design point


A line is made up of a chain of points which establishes the connection between two points. In graphic design, a line exists in various weights or thicknesses. The line can be continuous, broken, straight or curved. When a line reaches a considerable thickness, it becomes a plane. A line can be perceivable or invisible. The axis to which graphical elements are aligned to is an invisible line. The grid system in design is a collection of invisible lines.

In typography, a sentence makes a line. Characters of a typeface rest on a baseline. When a paragraph of text is aligned typographically, a line is implied. Such a line is invisible and not drawn.

The most significant line in a communication piece is the visual path which the graphic designer has planned for the viewer’s eye to take. A good communication piece has the ability to direct and guide the visual path of the audience. It can be achieved through a well-designed composition, intelligent use of colours or proper textual hierarchy.

basic graphic design line


A plane is a flat surface with considerable height and width. When a line closes, it forms a shape, a defined plane. A plane which is parallel to the picture surface is flat. When a plane skews and recedes into space, it becomes dimensional.

In typography, a paragraph of text or a text area is a plane. A plane of text is made up of lines of text which comprise of points of text (individual characters).

In a communication piece, the plane is an important design unit. A common plane or one that is much used and seen, is non-stirring. A unique or rare plane brings visual excitement to the viewer and makes a strong visual impression.

basic graphic design plane