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The sum of one and one is three.
To all the mathematicians out there, it's ok: you can put your calculators away. I was once a math wiz too. But I’ve learned that there is more than just arithmetic in this world: there is language, design, art, visual beauty. By saying that the sum of one and one is three, I mean a couple of things.
First, as designer Garland Kirkpatrick explains, “1+1=3 formulates the metaphoric notion that the ‘whole [of the visual concept] is greater than the sum of its parts.’”
Second, I mean that what two people create together has the potential to be greater than what those individuals could create apart from each other. My vision for my career centers around these two ideas — that complex design will go farther than complicated design, and that by partnering with my clients and other creatives, we can create visuals that achieve more than what could be created alone.
What is Complex Design?
Achieving the first goal--complex design--requires continual and fervent study of design. Luckily I find myself in a degree that facilitates my study, at a university that encourages my growth. I have the opportunity to study under professional artists and designers, and alongside other creatives. From my professors, I've learned the foundations of design and gained practice in implementing my newly-found knowledge through my assignments. I also benefit from introducing these foundations into my professional designs as I work with clients. I grow from my teachers’ guidance over, and participation in, my design work. Likewise, I grow from interacting with my peers. Through their input on my work and through cooperation on projects I continue to learn great things about myself and my work. I’ve learned that by basing your work on the elements and principles of design, you can create more complex pieces of art that aren’t merely pretty, but engaging to the audience, providing a deeper experience the longer that one views it. Here's an example:
Visual metaphor is one element of design that adds to the piece's "complexity" without making it "complicated". In visual metaphor, a designer or artist substitutes one visual element in the composition for another. The artwork below was created for Azusa Pacific University's 2017-18 Theater production season, specifically their production of Into the Woods. In the piece, the wolf is substituted for Little Red's hood. The purpose of visual metaphor is to bring the audience in for a closer look: if Little Red simply had a bland hood, the image would not be as striking. The chair of the APU Theater Department noted that the image evokes the artwork of young Cossette from many Les Miserables posters--striking and frightening while innocent and vulnerable.
The second idea is that what two people create together has the potential to be greater than what those individuals could create apart from each other. Every time a potential client reaches out to me for designs, my goal is to partner with them to make their vision a reality. Sometimes people have an idea of what they want, but they have neither the tools nor the knowledge or experience to make their creative visual ideas come to be. By partnering with them to bring about their ideas, I hope to create a product that is better than what I would come up with out of thin air or a blank artboard. This approach to design has the potential to push designers into simply being order-takers: artists who can only create for other people and don’t ever create for themselves, or for a cause that they are passionate about. However, if you create healthy boundaries, and set goals for your personal design voice, you can avoid this possibility and create both for others and for yourself.
My ultimate goal is to open a production studio with my creative partner and friend, Luke Pamer. We have made strides to do this already. Beginning January 2016, we began laying the groundwork to release Two Pines Productions to the world. So in January 2017, we bumped up marketing and production. Take a look at twopinesproductions.com to check out our work.
Our building would house production equipment not only for our use as a creative production company, but also for our clients who come through the door. There would be space for a photography studio, a lab for computers to design and produce with, studio space for fine arts, and more. One of the functions of the space would be for our company to utilize these resources, but the other function would be to welcome all kinds of people into our building: aspiring artists and designers, students, curious clients, and people just looking to experience a creative studio space. Not only will our clients benefit from being able to use our equipment, but we will also have the opportunity to utilize all the tools at our disposal at any time — to create around the clock with our own resources. Our business model primarily derives from the second goal mentioned above, of coming together with other creatives to produce what couldn’t be made alone.
But why, you might ask?
Why do all of this? Why pursue knowledge of design? and the community within it? I love it. I have discovered in almost four years of working in design that I feel at home when I am creating. I have often said that design wakes me up in the morning, and keeps me up at night (in the best way possible). Granted, there are times when I wake up early or stay up late to work on a design that isn't coming together the way I envisioned — feeling that I do not have the requisite knowledge or experience to fulfill the task. Nevertheless, as I work, I am filled with joy over the opportunity to delve into my passion. I am passionate about learning more of design, about connecting with other people over design, and about the products that I create. By learning, I grow, and by partnering with others, I create more than I could alone. Why? Because I love it.