Form and Composition — Final

A comprehensive look at my final compositions for erratic, rhythmic, fluid, rigid, and figure and ground

About the Project

For our second project, we applied our understanding of Gestalt principles and basic visual vocabulary to create communicative pieces using only squares. Through my compositions, I attempted to convey the meanings of erratic, rhythmic, fluid, and rigid through the placement of black squares of different sizes. I was allowed to use color for one composition but opacity, stroke, and “painfully literal” interpretations were off limits.

Project Process

Initial Sketches and Ideas

At the start of the project, I let my mind explore both abstract and literal visual interpretations of the words. I knew that I had concrete visual associations with each word, so I took to sketching those ideas out first. The issue I faced after this was pulling away from the literal and “first stop” ideas that I had explored. It was difficult to change my perspective and do a more abstract second iteration.

To skirt my mind’s self imposed boundary, I opened up Illustrator and started to dabble with any ideas that popped into my head. I pushed myself to think of the reasons why I had so strongly associated a word with a particular image and build off of that. I found that once I was able to ascertain a reason, I could go back to my sketches and give the squares an illusion of movement and dynamism.

These are the initial sketches that I drew at the very start of the project. I transitioned these into a digital form using Adobe Illustrator, creating two compositions for each word as well as two for the principle, figure and ground.

Figure and Ground

After going through an informal desk critique, I went back to my initial digital compositions and chose the two word pairs I wanted to juxtapose in my final composition as well as one figure and ground composition. I chose to elaborate on erratic + rhythmic and rigid + fluid.

Rigid + Fluid

For rigid, I chose to set the center square at an imperfect angle in between four perfectly set squares in the corners of the canvas. By doing this, The large center square looks like it has nowhere to move — it is stuck and limited by the rigid boundaries of the corner squares.

For fluid, I chose to incorporate color into the final composition. I felt that this helped guide the eye down a smooth path of angled squares. I channeled the vibes of ocean waves and chose a pale blue for my accent.

Erratic + Rhythmic

For erratic, I chose to keep my initial digital composition. I like that the squares are misplaced, too close, too far apart from each other. To me, it appears like someone had no control of their hand while stamping the squares on to paper. Naturally, there would be white gaps and overlaps.

For rhythmic, I chose to go in a different direction and channel the pulse of a bass in a high energy song. The center square is larger than the surrounding ones, indicating that it is the epicenter of the beat. From there, squares of descending size ripple out from the edges and corners, emulating the way the bass leaves an echo in the air.

Figure + Ground

For figure and ground, I chose to stick with one of my original digital compositions. I felt that the simplicity and even division between white and black demonstrated the principle well.

In all, I felt that the project was very effective in helping me establish my ideation process and learning the importance of iteration.