Reading Response #3

to Artful Design • Chapter 3: Visual Design

Frankie S.

2022 October 18

Music 256A / CS476a, Stanford University

Reading Response: Creating Artificial Constraints

When I first started designing I thought that design was a boundless expanse of possibilities. And at first that’s why I liked it so much. I thought that with endless freedom comes endless possibilities and that the blank canvas could be nothing but good But that was until I started designing myself. The blank page terrifies me. I think it terrifies almost anyone. What are you to do with no plan, no goals, no path forward and no end in sight? Well, that’s were constraints come in. Principle 3.13 in Artful Design addresses this idea, and I have come to both appreciate and truly agree with it. I have spent a lot of time in the design curriculum here at Stanford and this idea of constraints is definitely one that permeates the courses and the methodology. In my first design class ME 101, we are given loads of constraints. But after my initial annoyance with such arbitrary requirements, I realized that these boundaries kept me from getting lost in divergent thinking. They grounded me in reality in a way that was comforting. I didn’t have to answer every question, some answers were given to me. I have come to really appreciate the opposing forces of divergent and convergent thinking in design. Constraints fitting into the later, and brainstorming the former. It has a beautiful yin and yang quality to it. Where something other and beautiful might emerge. And I am comforted by that. My old choir director used to say “beauty is in the art of contrast”. I really believe this. And for design a big part of that is this push and pull of chaos and order. One more thing that I wanted to respond to was the idea that objects with motion have personality. I quite like this. It reminds me of the work that I have done in the past with After Effects animation. I still remember the day that I created this liquid spiral and the giddiness that I felt when watching it. I might have even said “ITS SO CUTE”!!! I love that we as people find little pieces of ourselves in the things we make, and more generally in the things we interact with. It speaks to our capacity to empathize and connect with each other. Keeping this in mind when designing can be super powerful–both for good and for evil. I am excited to be thinking of this as I design.