Experiment 1: Gestalt
This experiment was to represent 5 words: order, congestion, tension, playfulness, and comfort- with only black squares.
This assignment is an exploration of how objects in space can convey meaning through their placement in relation to other objects in space and to the space itself. The use of Gestalt principles is key as they can help give these squares meaning and story. We were allowed to use black squares in any way, but we could only use black squares.
There were two big critiques from this iteration. Firstly, I was taking things way too literally. Secondly, I could not exactly overlap the squares to make rectangles, as that would detract from the whole ‘squares only’ requirement.
I totally agree with the first critique, and some of my sketches were indeed, “not good”, because I was running out of ideas — fast — as I was trying to reach the 5 sketches requirement. As you can see from the last picture in “order” (which looks like a hand..), second and third picture from tension (looks like some physics fulcrums), second picture from congestion (looks like a street), first and fourth picture from comfort (looks like a house and bus stop). Yes.. they are quite literal- which is missing the point from this assignment- which is to CONVEY the meaning of a word- rather than just DRAW it out.
As for the second critique, I was a bit unhappy with it because in the directions it said we could overlap squares, and I thought that overlapping squares == rectangles. However, I guess that detracted from the entire ‘squares only’ idea that the assignment was going for.
After carefully going through the sketches I like best, and incorporating all the feedback I got from my professors and peers, I came up with a second iteration.
Here, I chose my favorites from the initial sketches, and modified them based on feedback. This biggest change is that everything is clearly now made from squares. And secondly, I tried to make everything more abstract rather than literal.
Order is order. I wanted to keep it simple, yet powerful. It uses the gestalt principle equilibrium down the middle axis, which is exactly what order should use. For tension, I wanted to represent a block on the verge of falling, teetering between falling down and staying up with tension. For congestion, I received a lot of feedback about how I could incorporate different sized squares into a tight space rather than the same size- so I tried to show that with squares squeezing into a well. For comfort, I converted the initial sketch family into squares, all whilst trying to preserve the clarity of what it was supposed to represent. This uses the gestalt principle isomorphism because I am trying to convey a different meaning (family) from the blocks. Lastly, for playfulness I tried to convey a playful synergy between the two blocks- like best friends playing together, animal and owner having fun, or a kid throwing a ball.
After critiques on what people liked and didn’t like, I made some changes for the final iteration..
The biggest change I made was to congestion. The biggest feedback I got was that congestion seemed to symmetrical before, and not enough was going on. So I tried to add some asymmetry and give it a feeling of gravity. The blocks are all stopping each other from going downward and rightward, all while getting stuck in the hole. The second change I made was to comfort. I made the blocks smaller and closer, because I wanted better to represent tightness between the blocks and members, rather than a feeling of being apart. The rest are largely the same because they got positive feedback.