Chapter 1 Notes

1) “I am convinced that abstract form, imagery, color, texture, and material convey meaning equal to or greater than words.” – Katherine McCoy

This quote is a true representation of the power of symbols. Throughout history there have been symbols that had a profound impact, and many that still continue to do so today. They can even be more powerful than words, in the same way a hug could convey something that words cannot. They are a form of non-verbal communication.

2) The concept of format

Looking at the pictures on pages 34-35, it is evident how crucial the format(horizontal or vertical, small or large) is to the subject, and the forms that are being portrayed.

3) The optical illusion.

The set of circles, squares and triangles on pg. 40 really played a trick on my brain. I did not realize how different the eye may perceive things that are mathematically or symmetrically alined, but appear to be different it shape. This goes back to rule number 15 in the introduction.

4) The dot.

I never before recognized the power and uniqueness of a dot. It is said to be, “the fundamental building block of all other forms.” I wonder if I try to recognize dots in most of the design I see if my perception of space and give and take to other forms will transform. Also, not all dots are circular! How trippy is that.

5) Each of these things is unlike the other.

I am amazed how forms can obtain and display different identities. When I look at an image, I may not realize all that each form and its positioning may be saying in contrast to other forms. Even when the identity of a form does not change, its meaning will vary depending on its placement.

6) Plane and mass.

This concept confused me until I realized that the they are essentially large dots whose shape and outline are a crucial part of their design.

7) Geometric vs. organic form.

I have often seen designs that looked more of less like one of these two categories, yet I did not know the best way to define them. I would use terms like “earthy” or more “shapely” instead of these correct terms. Now I feel like I have the correct terminology when describing my own design choices or ideas.

8) Texture vs. Pattern

I have often confused the two of these. When referring to one, I have often called it the other. In doing so, I have neglected to recognize their important difference. Furthermore, when concerning paper stock texture for printing, there are various types that are best for certain designs, something I need to be cognizant of.

9) Proportional systems.

“Controlling the eye’s movement through, and creating harmonic relationships among, form elements… might be facilitated by creating a system or recognizable, repeated intervals to which both positive and negative elements adhere.” Pg. 72. The phrase that struck me was controlling the eyes movements….almost manipulating another eye to see what I want it to see in the order desired. Manipulation may be a harsh word, but essentially using proportion to create relationships and tension or harmony between form is important.

10) Interplay makes a message.

The logo as well as the poster on the bottom left of pg 76 struck me a interesting examples of this concept. It is clear that lines and dots, forms as well as pattern each play a role when creating an overall message. They each carry meaning and can either add or subtract to the goal of the designer. I cannot overlook the importance of each decision I make when designing.

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