Western style arrangements typically consist of a free form assemblage of flowers in a container. In contrast, Ikebana is more of a disciplined form of art, governed by well_defined rules, principles and techniques. For example, certain precepts regulate elements like the light and the shadows. There is also what is known as the three points of balance _ shin_fuku_tai in Japanese _ which symbolize man, heaven and earth, respectively, and that have to be in harmonious equilibrium in order to give true life to an Ikebana flower arrangement. This and the fact that stems and branches are used in addition to flowers, are perhaps the most obvious differences with western_style flower arrangement.
Line direction is where flowers placed in the design giving the arrangement vertical direction, horizontal direction, or a diagonal line. Line materials also place curves into the flower design. Without line in a design, we would not have any fluid movement. Our eyes would be stuck and not circulate throughout the design to see the whole image we are trying to create.