Black Square Designs

1. Order 2. Playful 3. Congestion 4. Comfort 5. Tension

In this project, we were asked to create 5 designs that communicates the words Order, Playful, Congestion, Comfort and Tension using only black squares. These squares were allowed to bleed off the page, range in size and be rotated. The final result was 5 physical prints. During this project we learned about the Gestalt principles as well as the Elements and Principles of Design.

My Process


1. Order 2. Tension 3. Congestion 4. Playful 5. Comfort

During my preliminary sketch phase of this project, I learned a lot about Design and how it was very different from Art which is my background. While creating sketches, I thought about the squares as a means to create images, objects and environments. During the first desk crit, I received the feedback of my compositions to be too literal and that I should think of the concepts in a more abstract way. I was also told to play more with white space with the squares.


After my rude awakening to Design and my realization that it shouldn’t be literal, I took a day to see what I could come up with in Illustrator. I wasn’t really concerned or thinking about the words they should be communication because I was just attempting to stop thinking to literally and more abstractly. After the second desk crits I was told to think more abstractly and look at the squares as an object in itself, not just a tool to create other things.

I found that sketching in Illustrator helped me create more abstract designs, as opposed to drawing since it put me in a different mind set. As you can see in my sketches, I enjoyed starting off with one idea and then creating many variations of that to see where it took me. This helped me explore more creative use of white space, bleeding, size and line.

I then sent these sketches for feedback and labeled them to words after I created them. You can find some of the earlier versions of my final squares in my illustrator sketches. From here I was able to narrow down and make changes in order to get to my final black square designs.


1. Comfort 2. Order 3. Tension 4. Congestion 5. Playful

In this project I learned how hard design was. I thought it was something that would be able to come naturally to me since my sister is a graphic designer but I underestimated how hard it is. I learned about creating contrast that is able to draw a viewer’s eye, using the direction of line to your benefit and how certain arrangements really do communicate different things. In the end I am happy with my final products and happy that I spent a lot of time discovering what is possible and what works.