P2 Form and Composition — Comprehensive Process Documentation


Gestalt is an idea that every part of a composition is perceived as a simple form and viewed as part of a whole. We were assigned to produce a composition made up of only squares in order to illustrate this principle, given three word pairs including rigid/fluid, clumsy/graceful, and rhythmic/erratic. The traits of gestalt need to be applied when communicating only with a simple form of design such as square.


I started with sketching various form of each words, exploring what characteristic each words carry.

For rigid, I could relate to traits like solid, big, resisting, etc. So I mostly used big squares filling in most of the space in the box, and the gaps between the squares are not too big(if the gap even exists).

For fluid, I could relate to words like moving, flexible, soft, flowing, etc. So I used many squares of different sizes in each sketches. Most of the squares are floating in the air or in active state with various sizes and position.

For clumsy, I used irregularly placed squares, or having one square slightly off from the other patterned squares, just randomly scattered, or squares that seem playful and unbalanced.

Graceful was the hardest word to come up with designs. I could think of words such as aligned, patterned, flowing, holy, natural, and balanced. This was the most challenging word to come up with various ideas because it is an emotional word.

For rhythmic I could refer to patterned, joyful, etc. I found some relations to fluid and graceful in my design sketches for rhythmic, but rhythmic consists of more patterned, or consistent size or placement of squares.

I found erratic to be similar to clumsy, especially in a sense that it does not have specific pattern or consistency in size or position of the squares.

These above images are more sketches for depth in exploration of the characteristics of the words.


Then I digitalized some of the sketches with illustrator. These were used for desk crit. I will comment on the works for each words with the feedbacks I got from the desk crit.


Feedback I got for rigid is that these two versions do not give much sense of the word “rigid” so I figured I needed to develop more ideas on rigid.


Version on the right seems like fluid because it is in flowing shape but not so much for the version on the left.


Version on the left is a good example of clumsy but version on the right rather seems like “graceful” more than clumsy because of the balance the squares create. I decided to modify the squares so that it centers the edge of the other squares on the bottom and use this version for the word “graceful”.


Version on the left seems more like “rigid” and version on the right seems to fit in “rhythmic”.


Need more interesting ideas for both black side and white side to catch the viewers’ attention.


Left version was originally for rhythmic, but seems to belong to “fluid” more than rhythmic. Right one is for clumsy.



With the altered “graceful,” I created word pair clumsy/graceful. Colored squares are to emphasize the unbalance that clumsy square(left) creates and balance that graceful square(right) generates. The reason why I chose these two versions for this word pair is that these two are stronger when they are located side to side, because they have similar composition in the space provided.


Squares that were each originally for graceful and rhythmic changed to rigid and fluid. This way the squares communicate better with the words they were labeled. I chose to not use color because I thought using colors would throw off the purpose of the particular design I chose to use for rigid. Though, it could have been different for fluid and made the work stronger but I could not find other way to use colors for rigid.


I created completely different version from the figure/ground squares I created before. This seems more like a pattern, but I think it could have been better if I had made different choices in design, such as not using consistent pattern and instead making a shape that would make white color stand out because black color usually stands out better and easier than white because it is a dark and bold color.


After the critique, I learned a lot about design in general regarding composition and communicating with colors, placement, and other detailed aspects of design with simple, but thoughtfully and intentionally created form. I found that designs with complex and sophisticated patterns usually seem interesting and catch veiwers’ attention. During the final critique, I learned that sometimes details can change the whole concept. Use of color can be critical.

My design for graceful could have been better if it consisted of some rhythmic aspect, and I think my designs were simple overall. This was a good learning experience that gave me suggestions and recommendations on which part I need to work on more in order to improve for future projects. I learned that communicating certain word or message with a simple form like square require us to take time to generate unique ideas to create complex designs with simple form by using different sizes, color, placement, shape, pattern, etc depending on the meaning and characteristic the word carries. I also learned that every design is intended and carefully planned and crafted — for example, even the design that needs to communicate the word “unintentional” should and would be created with intentional choices and structural forms and movements.