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A study into experimental elements of composition


This study is based on graphic design experiments engineered by Inge Druckrey and The Designer ’s Graphic Stew. (T, Samara, 2010). These sources both state how their experiments are going to improve on how you look at design , so the size and form of the body of work, does the work have a good rhythm to guide you through and the whole relationship between the items within the design. All these factors will assist in improving you designcompositional skills. The notion that seeing can be improved refers to improving

your sensitivity in perception of design and advancing practical connoissurial skills of composition and layout. The aim of this study is to design a series of visual experiments, advancing on from the given, and testing test these principles. This study will demonstrate how successful these techniques are and will attempt to locate their use in a commercial context.

The basis of these experiments, strip back on the ornate and intricate aspects of design and train your eyes to see the basics of strong composition in design or everyday elements. Learning to look at objects in and understand it in its simplest way possible.

So if something is round or square, textured or smooth and to translate what you see into a form language.

Two Square Experiment

Figure 1. Examples of work from Inge Druckrey’s students

The foundation of this experiment is to show how little you need to make the negative area come to life. The use of the two squares display show many different variations you can apply to this given format.

Figure 2.

Figure 2 shows experiments done first hand. The use of the square keeps the exercise simple but doesn’t give the piece much body. To contradict it’s a simple and quick exercise to help you envision the negative space. There isn’t any ruling that the squares can’t touch so I went ahead and experimented with this. Expanding the exercise in this way really makes you envisage the negative space more.

Figure 3. Making the negative space the main form

Druckrey’s Beethoven poster is a perfect example of how the negative space has been adapted and brought forward to the main view point of the design. The composition and positioning of

the large B with the sheet music style lines created a large E in the negative space all by itself. This essentially was the foundations to create the word Beethoven as an abstract image included within

Figure 4. Beethoven poster design by Inge Druckrey

the poster taking advantage and the simple imagery and contrast of the work.

Scale, Contrast & Organization

After identifying objects in their simplest form its time to experiment with they behavior when their mixed together. To achieve good composition it is good to understand the difference between form and space, form is the positive element (the work you see) and space is the negative element (the paper or screen). To ensure appealing optical experience your work must compose form in space

so that the viewer perceives not only that the forms are interacting three dimensionally, but also that there is a kind of harmonic rhythm amongst the layout. A strong composition consists of visual relationships that support and restate each other, as well as some that conflict with the expectations that those equally supportive relationships create. (T.Samara, 2010)

Perception Experiment While designs in general are just flat, creating forms of different sizes creates the perception of three-dimensional space. The larger forms seem closer and the smaller seem farther away.

Figure 5. Experiment exicuted from The Designer’s Graphic Stew (2010)

Figure 6.

Below shows how I’ve advanced on from using the common types of form to using letters and the negative space within the letters, this ties in with the subject of

my Final Major Project. I found the most affective layouts are where there is a massive difference in size of the forms; they really show the perception of three-dimension.

Close Proximity Experiment By bringing properties or proportions into close proximities against each other tests relationships with form within composition. Referring back to the experiment in figure 2, this practice also relates to how the negative can be brought forward with the design to enhance on the way the piece is viewed.

Figure 7. Experiment exicuted from The Designer’s Graphic Stew (2010)

Figure 8.

Advancing on to using letters and their negative space to relate to my body of work. Bringing the negative space of the letters together creates a flow of

the work, being able to use the negative space in your benefit the enhance the flow within the close proximity.

Repetition Experiment Creating repetition of a form invites the eye to compare and re-examine its understanding of a visual idea. By using repetition you can really create a move visual piece from the exercise. Looking at the objects and the space combing to make the image a whole just shows how little you need to make a simple form into a visual piece with multiple outcomes.

Figure 9. Experiment exicuted from The Designer’s Graphic Stew (2010)

Figure 10.

Advanced on to relate to my Final Major Project, being able to compare how different letters of different typefaces relate to one another makes

you examine the fundamentals of the letter and its basic form.

Movement Experiment Learning to create movement or rhythm in a composition can really bring calm to a complicated design. It also leads the reader through the piece of design, so creating good rhythm is almost like being able to control how the viewer looks at your work. In music rhythm is an essential part to the main body of the song, if the rhythm is wrong the song doesn’t flow. This also applies to design, if the rhythm of the composition is off the work doesn’t seem to feel whole.

Figure 11. Experiment exicuted from The Designer’s Graphic Stew (2010)

Figure 12.

Using the negative space of letters didn’t work as well as intended, the movement being created was more of a shape movement not of a compositional movement or rhythm within a design. This experiment needs to taken forward onto a larger format

with typography and photography combining.

Relationship Experiment Relationship in composition is the final element, which includes all the prior experiments essentially combined into one. The relationships between all the components in a design have to work well together to create a good working piece of design. Relating back to The Designer ’s Graphic Stew, the experiment works with making a relationship between simple forms. So if two elements are to align or appear to be the same size you have to make sure the attributes are unquestionable.

Figure 13. Experiment exicuted from The Designer’s Graphic Stew (2010)

Figure 14.

Advancing on, using letters in the experiment has worked well with being able to examine the relationship between upper and lower case

characters. In regards to working with the negative space they almost create an abstract manor with the use of the negative space strongly being pushed

to enhance the image as whole.

Examples in Practice

Josef Muller-Brockmann Renowned Swiss designer Josef Muller-Brockman is a great example of how all these experiments in composition have been transferred into a commercial output. At first glace you can

already see the rhythm and movement within the piece, the curved lines flowing, leading you to the center of the space and the typography. Once you start looking deeper into

the work you can see the different scales used for each line, which are essentially decreasing in size every step. The work of MullerBrockmann has influenced many designers in the

past and up to the present day, by using the basic fundamentals in the previous experiments proves to make beautiful informative design.

Area 17 - NTT Data Journey On Short Movie This example of work is more modern but still has all the fundamental elements in its composition. The work is beautifully crafted with photography, typography and iconography forming together with a great relationship.

Although photography has been used as the man view point you can still see segments of perception mixed with items coming into close proximity which really exhibits the beauty with such clean and crisp composition.

A study into experimental elements of composition  
A study into experimental elements of composition