Rhetorical Answer

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A response to the question never asked

Dot Day

I spent a large part of today making compositions out of dots. Above is a digital reproduction of one of my creations for a studio course at NYU called 2D Design Principles. The course covers the basic principles of two-dimensional design as a foundation for future work in graphic and product design. Today we learned about fundamentals such as points, lines, shapes, visual relationships and symmetry, capped off with a bit about color theory. One of the exercises asked us to create compositions, using blank sheets of white paper and black and orange dot stickers, ranging from formal to informal and from symmetrical to asymmetrical. I already understood the difference between symmetrical and asymmetrical, but the terms formal and informal were new to me. The instructor didn’t exactly spell out the difference between the terms, but from the analysis of examples he showed us, I got the sense that a composition with a high degree of regularity (e.g. evenly spaced elements, regular angles, and repetitive patterns) can be characterized as formal, while a composition with unevenly spaced elements, irregular angles, and few discernable patterns can be characterized as informal. Our challenge during the exercise was to use visual relationships among the elements on the page to create balanced compositions. You can judge for yourself whether I succeeded, but at the very least, I had an enjoyable and even theraputic experience. Given the ongoing insanity of the financial markets, a dedicated dot day was just what I needed.

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