Absence of Detail (Is Not Information)




Some views of objects may be similar to other views except for minor details. The view without the details may be confused with the view with the details as the viewer may assume the details were omitted from the line drawing for a reason.


How to show a low detail side and ensure it is not confuse with a similar object/side with more detail.


  • Creating line drawings results in the selective inclusion or absence of features.
  • Users look for positive information and do not necessarily see an absence of information as a clear indication of an object’s properties.
  • Line drawings deliberately include some details and not others thus the viewer may not expect illustrations to include all of the detail present in the real object.


The alternate highly detailed side must be shown, indicating this is not the view to be used.

The design must be altered to include a distinctive visual detail contrasting with the other, high detail view.


Drawn from practice and inspection of existing artifacts.

Related Patterns:


Discernable Detail

Details are important for identifying objects and their orientation.

Do This, Not This

It may be necessary to show the alternate view with the higher level of detail in order to contrast it to the lesser detail view to assist identification and orientation of the part.

Style of Depiction

The use of line drawing implies details will be selectively included, possibly leading to different interpretations.


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IKEA - Freden Shelving Unit

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