Project One: Boxed In



To demonstrate the basic elements and principles of two-dimensional design utilizing a limited graphic, or visual vocabulary. Only black squares and circles of varying sizes cut into non-organic shapes (i.e. geometric shapes) can be used in your designs. The conceptual aim is to evoke an emotional or intellectual idea in this project. We will be utilizing the following elements of 2D design: Balance, Negative and Positive Space, Figure/Ground Reversal, Variety, Rhythm, Shape, Contrast, Transition, Value, and Unity. Using these elements and nothing more than squares and circles of varying sizes cut into geometric shapes within a restricted format (a square) you will experiment with creating compositions that can evoke emotional or intellectual ideas based off six personality traits. You will also experiment with: frame reference, touching, overlapping, cropping, expanding, contracting of forms, non-organic shapes (i.e. geometric shapes), illusionary space, contrast in terms of size, movement, and positive/negative space, etc.



Step 1: Taking your scissors and/or X-Acto knife cut out at least 10 perfect squares of varying sizes and 10 perfect circles of varying sizes from the black paper I provide in class.


Step 2: List six characteristics of your personality. These could include (for example) happy, stable, playful, bold, sad, musical, tense, tired, etc.


Step 3: Cut up the majority of circles and squares you have into geometric shapes. That means shapes with straight edges or regular curves. A shape derived from or, suggestive of geometry. Geometric shapes are characterized by crisp, precise edges and mathematically consistent curves.


Step 4: Once you have a large pile of interesting geometric shapes derived from circles and squares I want you to sketch out 8 perfect squares in your graph paper pad (you can fit 4 to 6 squares per page). Keeping the shapes you just made in mind I want you to sketch a design using your pencil that visually reflects your chosen characteristic. Repeat these 8 sketches for each word. Once you have done this choose the best sketched design for each word. (Hint: if you really love a design I would mark the cut out shapes so that I know they go to that specific design, for example all the shapes for one design would have the number 1 or 2 etc. on them.)


Step 5) Using a ruler and a light H pencil mark out 6 - 8”x8” squares in your sketchpad Then cut these out leaving just a little paper left around the outside of them, say 1/4”. Once you have completed this create the actual design on the sketchpad paper squares with your cut paper pieces and rubber cement. Try to stay as precisely within your 8”x8” drawn frame as possible! Remember that craft and presentation are large portions of your grade! Once you have created your design take your rubber cement pickup and get rid of any excess rubber cement. Then take it and cut off the excess paper and any black paper that may be outside of the frame as precisely as possible. Then using your H pencil write the word choice you are trying to express on the back.


Step 6) Cut out a 10”x10” piece of white illustration board. Using your H pencil mark where your square design should go on the illustration board so that it’s directly in the center, leaving a 2” border all the way around your design. Then using the rubber cement and “card” technique I show you in class mount your design. Make sure to put your word on the back of the illustration board as well and remove any excess rubber cement! Repeat this process for all five remaining designs/words. Put a hinged coversheet over your design and label as per your syllabus and then hand in. There will be a critique.



White Illustration Board, Rubber Cement, Rubber Cement Pickup, X-Acto Knife & Blades, H Pencils, Kneaded Eraser, and Graph Paper Pad, 12” Ruler

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© 2020 Dustin M. Price