Cool Composition- 1.168

The second assignment in my Digital Illustration class was to create a cool (as in cold) composition in Adobe Illustrator using basic shapes, gradients, and brush strokes.  I chose cool colors (deep blues and purples) layered with neutrals (black, white, and grey) to create high contrast. 

To the casual observer, my composition may seem random.  But for anyone who has studied art, design, or photography, they should understand the significance, specifically why I made the focal point (highest contrast) the small black and white square.  (I always strive to go above and beyond in my tasks). 

So do you know of this philosophy and can you see it? 


For anyone struggling, I will provide insight:

It’s easier to start with the ‘Rule of Thirds’ since a majority of people have heard of this relatively easy concept for creating effective composition of photographs, paintings, etc..  In essence, the rule states that you shouldn’t center the subject in your composition.  It is much more appealing to divide your canvas into three equal sections horizontally and vertically and place your subject on one of the intersecting points of the cross hairs.  This is because one’s eyes naturally focus in on these locations.  (Photos by Darren Rowse and Sena Jung, respectively) See link for more information and examples.



While the rule of thirds does well at making a more interesting product over centering a subject, the proportions aren’t totally correct.  Sometimes the subject seems overcrowded to a particular side with more white space (empty space) than necessary.

So now try to imagine the ‘Rule of Thirds’ on steroids.  We call this the ‘Golden Mean’ (or Golden Ratio, Phi, 1.168, Golden Spiral, Fibonacci Spiral, etc).  It’s more difficult to grasp since the math is much more complex than the rule of thirds.  To sum it up, it has been theorized that there is a ratio (1.168) behind everything we perceive as beautiful: natural elements, repeating patterns, faces, body proportions, structures, artistic compositions… and even music.  Many believe that this philosophy began with the ancient Greeks and was used in the design of monuments (the Parthenon), famous paintings (Leonardo da Vinci), and musical compositions by artistic masters.  (Photo is from wikipedia)


Below is what a phi grid (based on the golden mean) would look like versus a rule of thirds grid. 


Here are some links if interested in learning more about this topic.

If you weren’t able to distinguish it before, can you see it now? 



Cool fact:  I hadn’t seen this particulr version of the spiral before today.  Usually the Fibonacci spiral is illustrated in plain lines and squares.  This one effectively illustrates the likeness to my composition.


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