Dynamic Design. Abstract dynamism | WebReference

Dynamic Design. Abstract dynamism

  Abstract dynamism

Far from always you'll be able to easily include a realistically dynamic image into your composition. Much more common are elements of abstract dynamism featured by mainly static objects. As I mentioned above, perhaps the only geometric figure without any trace of dynamism is an isolated circle; all other forms, as well as some textures and even colors, are to some extent inherently asymmetric, unstable, and therefore dynamic.

Instead of analyzing various classes of forms separately, let's enumerate some implications that various form-related features may have when viewed from dynamic perspective:

  • Visual simplicity (Fig. 2) is an essential prerequisite for any object's dynamic function: we tend to feel that a too complex of intricate object would have troubles moving swiftly. Quite often by just simplifying the structure of an element, by streamlining it and by arranging its parts in a more obviously hierarchical pattern, we reduce the "drag" (in aerodynamic terms) and reveal the intrinsic dynamism in that element.

Figure 2

  Fig. 2:  Dynamic simplicity (the figure on the right is more dynamic than that on the left)  

  • Diagonality, rotation, non-horizontality and non-verticality all have, as we've just seen, a strong motion implication (Fig. 3). Physical world around us offers plenty of examples showing that any non-architectonic object is either falling, or jumping, or simply unstable - in a word, dynamic.

Figure 3

  Fig. 3:  Dynamic rotation  

  • Slant, or skew, is a special case of rotation with some parts of the objects's outline still horizontal or vertical, and others, rotated at some angle (Fig. 4). Here, the architectonic parts of the contour define the direction of the motion, while the slanted parts add force to it and make it more expressive. Physical analogs for this feature would include deformations in moving objects caused by inertia or aerodynamic drag. It is this effect that makes sans-serif italic typefaces so expressively dynamic - especially when compared to serif italic which are not slanted variants of the roman faces, but independent imitations of handwriting without much dynamism.

Figure 4

  Fig. 4:  Dynamic skewing  

  • Curvature range discussed in my previous column is directly related to dynamism, too. In most cases, expanding the curvature range leads to adding more explicit dynamism to the shape, as we go from a perfectly still and symmetric circle with its zero curvature range to expressive Beziers, and further on to the forms made of straight lines and sharp corners (e.g. triangles and arrowheads) - which, indeed, represent nothing but the ultimate case of infinite curvature range.

  • In the world of textures, dynamism is most often expressed by various blur themes, notably by the "wind" and "motion blur" texturizing effects. Indeed, anything moving swiftly enough appears blurred to the human eye, and imitating that blur by design means is a sure way to add dynamic flavor to the composition. This effect is especially useful in that it is capable of dynamizing abstract shapes or letters of text in a quite realistic (to be precise, photographic) manner.

Figure 5

  Fig. 5:  Dynamic texturizing  

  • Asymmetry of any kind, be it in the aspect of form, size, or color, is another source of dynamic implication (Fig. 6). In fact, what is called asymmetry is a single object version of what we call contrast for a couple of objects; much as contrast is perceived as such only when the objects are visually linked and not just dissimilar, asymmetry may only produce any effect when we get the feeling that the shape could be symmetric but isn't. Dynamic eye flows induced by pairs of contrasting objects are the subject of a next section.

Figure 6

  Fig. 6:  Dynamic asymmetry  


Figure 7

  Fig. 7:  Dynamic proportions  

Created: Mar. 16, 1999
Revised: Mar. 16, 1999

URL: http://www.webreference.com/dlab/9903/abstract.html