Concrete Objects + Structures

Visual Grammar, by Christian Legorg, continues with his discussion on visual language with his take on concrete objects. According to Leborg, concrete objects are perceived within defined limits. These limits are referred to as contour lines, and they are what defines the shape, or form.

Leborg groups concrete objects into three categories:

  1. Geometric Forms- forms based on mathematical principles with regard to points, lines, planes, and mass.
  2. Organic Forms- forms based on or created by living organisms.
  3. Random Forms- forms created through unintentional interactions with nature, reproduction, or involuntary human action.

According to Leborg, size and color play huge roles in concrete objects. He writes, “The size of the object is relative to the person perceiving it and his or her perspective. The size of the object must be evaluated in relation to its placement and the format in which it will function.” Concrete objects reflect only parts of the color spectrum because color is wavelengths of light, therefore the material objects are made from only reflect certain parts of the spectrum. Leborg further breaks down his definition of color by explaining the differences between hue, tone, and saturation.

Hue refers to the specific wavelength of color and is independent of intensity and saturation. The hue is color at is purest form.

Tone, or shade, is the amount of black within a color, which accounts for the lightness or darkness of a color.

Saturation refers to the amount of white in a color, high saturation contains little white, and little saturation contains a lot of white.

Leborg continues with his thoughts on concrete structures, “A structure is concrete when its structure lines are visible or actively influence the form of the objects in the structure. In contrast to abstract structures, which only indirectly indicate how objects are positioned, concrete structures are visible compositions in themselves.”

There are two kinds of structures, visible structures, and active structures. A visible structure has visible structure lines, and active structures are structure lines that influence the the form of the objects but do not need to be visible.

Peter Donnelly uses both active structures and visible structure lines in his waterfall poster.

He rounds out his thoughts with his ideas on texture. Texture can be seen or felt, and consists of either structure lines, or objects, or both.Texture is created form materials and can be made with inscription or application.

An Australian artist, John Lovett, classifies size as an element of design, on his website He defines it the same way as Leborg, and emphasizes the perspective of the viewer. Lovett explains that for a viewer to perceive an object as large, a smaller object has to be found within the composition. The comparison creates contrast and tension. The unequal balance between the sizes of objects can add impact to a composition and is often used to create a focal point.

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