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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Book Review: Geometry of Design

Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition by Kimberly Elam (2001) is one of a series entitled "Design Briefs: Essential Texts on Design" published by Princeton Architectural Press. This book has helped me to understand how the golden section works in fine art and design. There are diagrams on every page showing the golden section in nature, ancient art, human proportions and contemporary design. Many pages have transparent overlays showing how lines of the golden section triangles and rectangles fit onto the scheme of an effective art piece or design. I wrote about design grids in connection with Emily Carr on February 20, which was also enlightening. I can see many benefits from thinking about design this way, although I'll admit it isn't easy to do the math. I don't think it has to be exact, but it does help to find hot spots for major and minor focal points in art and to understand why some formats are more pleasing than others to look at. I think the little Elam book will be a handy reference for me in the studio.

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