Relations, part 2

This blog post will follow in similar lines as my last post with me continuing to talk about relations. The book Visual Grammar continues to discuss the different elements of relations, and are now talking about coordination, how objects can be coordinated depending on same value, focus or being perceived from same perspective. It also talks about distance, parallel, tangent and influence. Distance are perceived between two objects and can be different depending in the viewer´s perspective. Parallel is explained as when two lines lies parallel on the same plane with equal distance from each other at all times. They will never meet, no matter how long they are. An angle on the other hand is the space between two straight lines that are intersecting. Most common angles would be 90 degree and 45 degree. The word tangent stands for when two objects are next to each other and are sharing one common point. Compound is two objects overlapping and therefore appears to be one object while Subtraction is when part of an object overlaps another object and therefore takes away part from the underlying object making it smaller and subtracted. Another term the book talks about is influence, which is an object that has changed form due to another object, or is mutual influenced by another object.

When looking around at different sources I found an article about tangents. One thing with this however is that instead of being something positive to use, it talks about it being something to avoid. In comparison to most other subjects in the book it is interesting to read about from the perspective of what to think about not to do, since that can be as important in design as what to do. In the article it gives examples on multiple tangents that can happen but should not happen. For example, putting an object in a corner so it is closed or putting an object right next to the edge so that they share the common point. These will create visual bothersome and many times be more disturbing than helpful.
On another site,, tangent are explained as lines interacting and creating a relationship that the designer did not intend to make, which can lead to confusion and create lines to be flattened to the audience. It does talk about how some tangents can be helpful sometimes, for example to get the viewers attention. This would depend on the composition, the use of the lines etc.

Here is examples of different tangents that can be distracting and should be considered to be avoided in a composition. Source:

Here is another example of tangents. The circles are just barely touching the edges and creating a common point where they meet. Source:

This is a picture of an example of parallels, the poles are parallel with each other and won´t intersect even if getting longer. Source:

Here is a picture that can show an example of subtraction. The pink cube is subtracted by the black side, as well as other parts are being overlapped.




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