dang25_collage2“Design is the structure of art” – Rudolph Schaeffer, founder, Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design, San Francisco, Ca.

“Two principles underlie all forms of human expression…unity and rhythm – William Moore, instructor, Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, Ca; California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, Ca.

The thought of structure as part of the creative process might appear to some as a fairly outrageous idea. Lots of people would compare that idea to a more commonly held notion that art is all about freely expressing one’s creative voice without limitation. Pause for a moment and consider the following: A painter still needs to know which media to combine for a desired effect; a photographer still needs to understand how to work with light and a graphic designer still needs to know which visual elements to use and how to manage them. The notion of creative freedom eventually comes up against a learning curve. However, learning about tools – paint; digital media; aperture settings; fonts; coding – is just the beginning.

Draw yourself a few lines and a few shapes. Ask yourself: How could these lines better coordinate with those shapes? If you were creating a poster on clean air for example, how would your setting of words best relate to your pattern of, say, clouds? The ability to coordinate shapes and lines, space, textures, colors, etc, can reveal a lot about an individual’s ability to either involve the viewer or confuse them.

Welcome to Design Principles 101. This blog has been created to provide a free-access community for designers and artists to develop or fine-tune their creative chops. It is our hope that this environment will become both a valuable resource and a dynamic forum for creative development.

Our goal is to foster an enlivened understanding of the fundamental design principles that make art and design the dynamic playgrounds they were meant to be. Your continuing involvement and input is welcome and essential.

Yours truly,
Howard Schneider

3.0-kristina.vThe Mystique of Tools and the Search for You
Have you noticed how ridiculously easy it is to get caught up in the software tools of art and design? It’s just like opening up a tube of cadmium orange for the first time and thinking to yourself, “I own color!” This is understandable. Powerful discoveries can be pretty exciting, and they seem to grow more powerful, more desirable and accessible all the time.

That said, have you ever sensed that perhaps something seems missing but you’re not exactly sure what that is? The tools may be fun but you seem to be hitting the same wall time after time? Your tools, after all, can’t think for you. Techniques aren’t endowed with good taste or sound judgment. Both can extend your talent, but they can’t develop it.

That thirst you may be feeling for something that brings it all together can certainly be quenched. By beginning to understand the fundamental principles of visual relationships, you will begin to assert control over your creativity in ways that may have eluded you before.