Concrete Objects and Structures

Christian Leborg defines abstract objects as objects perceived within defined limits. The exterior of an object, its “limits,” are called contour lines. These contour lines are the outline for an object and without shading or perspective can only depict flat 2 dimensional shape. The three forms that Leborg provides are geometric, organic, and random forms.

Geometric forms are those that are defined by straight lines, points, or can be created mathematically. For example, a triangle, square, or perfect circle would all be considered geometric forms.

This is an example of a form that is made up of geometric shapes. While the subject itself is organic, the artist used geometric forms such as triangles to create this work.

This is an example of a form that is made up of geometric shapes. While the subject itself is organic, the artist used geometric forms such as triangles to create this work. (Designspiration)

Organic forms are those that may be found in nature. They are different than geometric forms because they are not mathematical and generally are more curvilinear and less uniform. Objects such as leaves and flowers would be considered organic.

This design incorporates two organic forms into one. Almost everything in nature has an organic form. The contour of the deer and the leaf are free flowing and doesn't contain any straight lines.

This design incorporates two organic forms into one. Almost everything in nature has an organic form. The contour of the deer and the leaf are free flowing and doesn’t contain any straight lines. (Designspiration)

In visual communication, form is used in everything we do. To relate the concept to work that we have studied I found examples of what geometric typography would look like in comparison to something more organic.

This would be an example of geometric form in typography.  All the letter forms are made up of fundamental geometric shapes to great a readable typeface.  (Pinterest)

This would be an example of geometric form in typography. All the letter forms are made up of fundamental geometric shapes to great a readable typeface. (Pinterest)

In contrast, this would be an example of organic typography. The lines are much more curvilinear and free flowing. (Designspiration)

In contrast, this would be an example of organic typography. The lines of the letterforms are much more curvilinear and free flowing. There are no straight lines or hard edges. (Designspiration)

Other characteristics of concrete objects are size and color. Size is related to proportion because size can only be relative to the perspective of its viewer or its placement and format. For example, nothing can simply be “big” or “small”. We may think that elephants are inherently big, but if we were to compare an elephant to a blue whale, we might actually find that an elephant is relatively small compared to the whale. Concrete objects also have color. Hue refers to pure colors such as red, blue, yellow, etc. Tone (also called shade) refers to the color’s content of black. The opposite of this is saturation, having to do with how much an color’s content is white. A more shaded color is turning darker whereas a less saturated color is turning lighter.

This is an example of red being saturated. On the farthest left is the purest hue of red, each increment going left to right is getting less and less saturated. The   color on the farthest right has the most white content. (color)

This is an example of red becoming less saturated. On the farthest left is the purest hue of red, each increment going left to right is getting less and less saturated. The color on the farthest right has the most white content. (color)

Concrete structures include visible and active structures, as well as texture. Unlike abstract structures, a concrete structure is not invisible and is part of the visual composition. A visible structure is exactly its name, it has visible structure lines. An active structure has lines that influence the form of the objects within its structure, and does not actually have to be visible to be active. The texture of a structure may work with two of the senses: touch and/or sight. For example, most people know the texture of fur. You can feel fur by physically touching it, but usually we can even distinguish this texture just by looking. Texture can have a decorative, random, or systematic design.

To expand on the reading from the chapters from Visual Grammar I was able to find a website called Color Matters. While this chapter did touch on color, it only really focuses on hue, tone, and saturation. I decided to find another resource on color because I wanted to explore more color theory and the different relationships between color and symbolism. The primary colors include red, yellow, and blue. Fundamentally every other color in the color spectrum may be created combinations of these three colors. Secondary colors include orange, green, and purple. The orange is from combining red and yellow, the green from blue and yellow, and the purple is from mixing blue and red. There are also tertiary colors that are derived from even more mixing, such as yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, and so forth.

This is an example of all the different color categories. Here you can visually see what the primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors are in relation to one another.  (Color Matters)

This is an example of all the different color categories. Here you can visually see what the primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors are in relation to one another. (Color Matters)

I also found a link on the website Color Matters that discussed color in symbolism. Most cultures have their own associations with color. Some examples through a global color survey suggest that to the majority, yellow is associated with happiness, red with power, gold with expensiveness, black with mourning, white with deity, and etc. As a designer it is extremely important to remember the power of color and the associations they make to people of every culture.

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One thought on “Concrete Objects and Structures

  1. Pingback: Fundamentals of Color | Visual Communication

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