A "keyline" refers to a thin, solid boundary line that outlines the edges of a design element or graphic. It serves as a visual separator, providing definition and emphasis to the object it surrounds. Keylines are commonly used in layout design, typography, and illustration to enhance clarity and visual impact.




  1. Graphic Design: In layout design, keylines are often applied around text boxes, images, and other graphic elements to create a sense of hierarchy and organization, helping to guide the viewer's eye and distinguish between different elements.

  2. Typography: In typography, keylines can be used to outline letterforms or entire blocks of text, adding emphasis and readability to the text while maintaining a clean and polished appearance.

  3. Illustration: In illustration and digital artwork, keylines are frequently employed to define shapes, add dimensionality, and create a sense of separation between foreground and background elements, enhancing the overall composition.


Thickness: Choose an appropriate thickness for the keyline based on the scale of the design element and its intended visual impact, ensuring that it is neither too thin to be visible nor too thick to overpower the surrounding content.

Color: Select a color for the keyline that complements the overall color scheme of the design and provides sufficient contrast against the background, making it stand out without overwhelming the other elements.

Consistency: Maintain consistency in the application of keylines throughout the design to ensure a cohesive and professional look, avoiding variations in thickness or style that could detract from the overall visual harmony.

Purpose: Consider the purpose and context of the keyline within the design, whether it is meant to provide structure, highlight important information, or simply add a decorative touch, and adjust its attributes accordingly to achieve the desired effect.

Feedback: During the design process, seek feedback from peers or clients to evaluate the keyline's effectiveness in achieving its intended purpose and make any necessary adjustments to enhance its impact and readability.

Whether defining differently colored areas, supporting literature, or otherwise, American Print and Bindery offers exceptional keyline services to ensure the ideal structure for your printed piece. Contact us today to learn more!