The set of our Arts courses started with this intro module concerned with the main principles of design. The module involved clarification of such basic concepts which lie at the foundation of design. The principles of design most often identified are unity and variety, balance, emphasis and subordination, proportion and scale, and rhythm. I would like to reflect upon some of them herein.
First of all the notion of design itself was subject to thorough clarification. Today design is notably one of the most widely used terms, supposed to have an ample amplification of meanings: some original idea of decorating a room or clothes, specific organization of embellishment and what not. However, looking upon design as a professional or academic category, we can define it as some unique way or manner of organizing shape, mass, light, value, color, texture, space, and possibly time and motion so that an artist can clearly conceive of his creative intention (Getlein, 2016).
Next we went on to the examination of emphasis and subordination as two of the key principles mentioned above. The principle of emphasis is associated with concentration of one’s attention upon one curtained object in the picture. In case the focus is intended to be placed upon some small or visually dim area this kind of emphasis is called focal point. As far as subordination is concerned, this is on the contrary an “obscuring” technique designated to make some area less interesting or expressed so that the emphasized object stands out. There is some issue about this principle I found curious. Applying emphasis or subordination does not exclusively relate to technical highlighting or concealing some area or allocation those objects in such order so that some of them are more visually stressed. Those principles are supposed to appeal to our mindset and incite our thinking process. Those objects are not emphasized visually, but a heavier sensual burden is placed upon them.
Next we were supposed to deal with the concepts of scale and proportion and make the difference between them transparently clear. Size is about the size of an object as compared to some standard or its “normal” size. As far as proportion is concerned it is defined to deal with the size of object in relation to other one completing the composition. The application of this principle proved very interesting to me. We can clearly watch it in the works of René Magritte whose personal artistic aim was to split our normal understanding of size and prove that the world and all about it cannot be that easily and rationally measured. One of his favorite tricks was a shift in scale. His work “Delusions of Grandeur II” exhibited at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. is an immediately representative pattern of this technique. The picture represents a so-called “telescoping woman” the body of which is akin to the form and shape of a telescope with each section rising out of the one before and continuing on a smaller scale. Transforming one object into another was also one of the favorites of the author. In the same picture he applies it by envisioning a perfectly blue and realistic sky at the horizon and gradually turning it into a group of solid blue blocks. Delusions of Grandeur II. 1948
Getlein, Mark. Living with Art. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill, 2008. Print.