Project 2: Form and Composition

Sketches || 2017 || Individual Project

About the Project

This project’s goal was to explore how different usages of form and composition can create meaning. With only black squares, I was tasked to arrange them to capture the two of the following word pairs: rigid + fluid, clumsy + graceful, and rhythmic + erratic. The last part of the assignment was to create a figure ground composition using Gestalt principles where 50% of the composition contained a black image and the other contained white image.


I started off practicing sketching squares. I chose not to use a ruler so that I could move quickly and efficiently. I did not want to dwell on perfect squares and instead wanted to focus on creating the visual message. I also started off just sketching whatever came to mind for any of the words.

Right away I could sense that I wanted to use Rigid + Fluid together as the reversible figure. I started off sketching for the word rigid and found that the white space created an image that reflected the word fluid.

After a bit of exploration, I decided to dive deeper into individual words. To expand my scope, I dissected some of the words into their synonyms or other related words.

Digital Iterations

After evaluating my sketches and getting feedback from others, I moved onto Adobe Illustrator to digitalize my ideas.

On illustrator, I was able to use different alignment features to help me achieve more complicated effects that helped convey some of my ideas. For example for rhythmic, I really wanted patterns in my composition. Using alignment and duplicate functions, I was able to explore more forms. Above are some initial ideas that I created from my sketches.

After this initial drafting phase, I decided to delve further into each initial pairing. For graceful and clumsy, I had a lot of trouble at first with the word graceful. I wanted to create curves or simple compositions because those were the first ideas of graceful that came into my head. However with my bottom right iteration, I started exploring other ways to represent graceful. For example I view wind and rain as naturally graceful, so I tried to capture that feeling. I also want to create a sense of suspension with my composition. Even though the squares are two dimensional, I believed with the right kind of placement they could convey more complex ideas.

For rhythmic and erratic I wanted the two pieces to go hand in hand with each other. I imaged that rhythm is a very patterned and structured piece, while erratic is what flips it around and takes that structure apart. For most of my pairings, I started with the rhythmic composition first before create my erratic piece.

Creating the Figure/Ground

For my figure and ground composition, I was having trouble at first, especially since I thought my figure ground had to capture a word pairing. After this slump, I decided to start basic. I created a figure ground with just two squares and then four and then rotated the squares to change it up and see what images that created. While I believe my final form is effective as a figure ground piece, I can see now that the second and third composition below does an even job at presenting the black and white images.

Final Forms

After many iterations and explorations, I reached my finals forms below.

Graceful + Clumsy
Rhythmic and Erratic