Compositions with Color

For this week’s ‘compositions with color’ assignment, we were tasked with selecting a color palette, and then producing six compositions that feature these colors.

While deciding upon a color palette, my mind kept returning to the marquee sign for Davey’s Ice Cream, which I wrote about in an earlier post for this class. The colors that comprise this sign are, without a doubt, exceedingly basic, but there is something charming about them, and something quite effective as well.

There is also great complementarity to be found in this spectrum of bold, basic colors. It’s well known, for example, that blue is very nicely balanced by yellow, while red’s complementary color is green.

Going along with this theme of pairs and complements, I decided to split my compositions into three groupings of sibling designs.

The following two were made in the p5 library of Javascript. Very simply, they were composed by tracking an ellipse with randomized color values (red and blue in one, and blue and green in the other) against a non-looping background. The result, in both cases, is a mild optical illusion.

For the next two, I took photographs of nature and, using Adobe Photoshop, overlaid them with reverse gradient maps and abstract geometrical shapes of varying size and inconsistent shadow effect of my making. 

The last two are still images from Tsai Ming-liang’s 1994 movie, Vive l’amour. In Photoshop, I made a number of selections and cuts, revealing a two-toned background of complementary colors. 

Typography and Expression

An airplane ticket is not unlike an airplane cockpit. Both are cluttered to the untrained eye and rich with information, but not without reason: the pilot and the flyer alike both need to be informed, otherwise we don’t get to fly and they don’t get to do the flying.

My design for a boarding pass is a kind of a truce or compromise between information, ease of understanding, and comfort.

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Sign Research

The exercise of looking around a city for examples of successful and unsuccessful signage will differ considerably depending on whether one is a native or a foreigner in that place.

Someone who is unfamiliar with a city will rely on signage as an extension of a city’s infrastructure, paying much more attention to signs that give directions, instructions, suggestions, and warnings, etc. Furthermore, if one is truly a stranger to a place, a city’s signage can play a pivotal role in coloring their associations with and impressions of that place. Signage, in this latter case, is read in a fundamentally different, more vivid and curious way.

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