Jennifer K. Oliver

Speculative Fiction Writer

Tag: ma graphic design

Keyword Research #1: Geometric

My chosen keyword for the first module assignment on my MA is geometric. I am interested in how geometry is used to create pattern, symmetry, and definition, and also how it is used to create mood and imply meaning (rather than using text). Geometric design has risen in popularity in recent years, from logos and artwork comprised of mathematical shapes, to complex mandala and tangle designs, and I would like to find out why and what it is about geometric shapes and patterns that appeals to so many designers.

I first became interested in concentric and geometric patterns when I spent three months in Southern India in the year 2000. When I arrived in Tamil Nadu I experienced the Pongal Festival, a four-day long harvest festival which is an extremely important Hindu celebration. Many people draw kolam designs on the floors of their houses to bring good fortune and give thanks. The patterns are usually drawn in coloured chalk or rice powder. This was my first obvious exposure to mathematical shapes used in spiritual art.

In recent years mandala designs have become popular, particularly across image sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest. I find the art of creating mandalas relaxing and have dabbled in digital and hand drawn designs. This is a type of design that I would like to explore further, and discover new ways of incorporating them into my work where they give meaning and significance. Many people see repetitive patterns as a way of stress therapy. This has given rise to the term and drawing style Zentangle, another form of drawing where repetitive shapes create complex patterns.

I also plan to explore naturally occurring geometry; for example: honeycomb, leaves, shells, spiderwebs, snowflakes, wind-blown sand dunes, fractals found in geodes.

Induction Week – Paper Challenge

My MA in Graphic Design officially starts this week, but last week was Induction Week and we were set a small, fun challenge to take a piece of paper and make something with it. There were no boundaries on what we could make, only that the paper was the feature of the piece and we didn’t use anything else to decorate it. There are some lovely submissions to the challenge up on our Pinterest board, such varied and inspired work. I was a little worried that mine would come across as silly, as I didn’t dig too deeply to come up with the idea – it struck me that Hallowe’en is just around the corner and I wanted to create something playful and fun. So here is my spooky house, complete with monster.

I used sticky foam pads to layer the elements and the original plan was to shine a torch up through so that the different layers were backlit, but I ended up posting it during the day so the lighting was wrong. Still, it was fun to make this, adding a new element each night after work. Looking at this now, I can see many things I could have done differently and refined more, but at the same time I didn’t want to fret about this mini-project too much.

Our first assignments were posted and I am considering my chosen keyword that will form one of my projects. More to come!

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