Abstract objects such as point, line, surface, volume, dimensions, and format are all objects that alone cannot exist as concrete shapes. For example, you cannot physically see a point because it is simply represents a place without area. Similarly, line may be described as any number of points that share edges with one another. Lines may be continual or have two endpoints and may be straight or curved. Just as lines are made up of multiple points, a surface may be created with a row of lines. “A surface is defined by two lines that do not coincide or by a minimum of three points that are not located on a line. If two lines have one coinciding point, the surface will be a plane” (Leborg 12). Therefore a surface is a point that is multiplied in two directions, and has two dimensions: width and height. Surfaces are also the outside of a volume. Volumes are the space inside an object, and are made up of surfaces, lines, and points. The dimensions of an object are it’s measurements. In the physical world, everything has three dimensions: width, height, and depth. Anything short or beyond these dimensions cannot truly exist and can only be envisioned. Lastly, format is the arrangement or structure of everything we see in relation to one another.
In addition to Christian Leborg’s Visual Grammar, I found several online resources that share similar information. I found the website, Art, Design, and Visual Thinking by Charlotte Jirousek to be helpful in not only reinforcing the definition of the terms, but explaining how they may be used in a design. On the topic of point, Jirousek elaborates that with a point, “there is something built into the brain that wills meaning for it, and seeks some kind of relationship or order, if only to use it as a point of orientation in relation to the outline of the page”. Likewise Leborg had cited that “the abstract conveys the essential meaning, cutting through the conscious to the unconscious, from experience of the substance in the sensory field directly to the nervous system, from the event to perception” (Dondis, A Primer of Visual Literacy). What both authors are trying to emphasize is that the abstract elements are something that yield much more meaning in our thinking for what they lack in tangibility. She also expands on point by introducing the gestalt theory and how points also include the elements of closure, continuity, similarity, and proximity.