Keyword Study #1: Geometry

For the second week of our Masters we were asked to pick one word from our personal statements and create a keyword study. I chose the word geometry. It doesn’t sound like the type of keyword you would expect on an art course, does it? But geometric shapes and patterns are all around us – in nature, in our homes, in architecture and our surrounding environments, in the media, in our brands, and in our creative consciousness.

I am fascinated by geometry used in spiritual art and design and how the formation of shapes and construction of patterns can give us a sense of faith, hope and surety. It can also provide a sense of structure in our belief systems and a way to visually interpret the security that our beliefs bring us. This is something I have encountered while travelling and I plan to create a blog post focused solely on my experiences with spiritual geometric art in the future.

Geometric shapes are also popular in logo and brand creation. Could this be because they also provide a sense of security and structure in the brands that we encounter day to day? Are we more likely to trust a brand whose logo utilises geometry than one that favours a more fluid and relaxed approach?

I also wonder if geometric designs can be deconstructed or reformed to create a more jagged and unnerving feeling, perhaps signifying the breakdown of stability? This is another element to my keyword that I plan to experiment with over the next few weeks.

For week two, we were also given the task of finding:

1. A literal example of our keyword
2. An abstract example of our keyword
3. Another artist’s interpretation of our keyword

For my literal image I went with a basic geometric pattern:


This pattern was originally created for a brush-making company for use on toothbrush packaging. The pattern features the company brand colours and was designed to be eye catching but still retain a corporate feel. The angles and lines were intended to create a sense of structure and maturity, and the fact that I did not use a repeating pattern implies that the company strive for innovation and thinking outside the box. I tried a version with a repeating pattern and though tidy it did not give off an impression of the company or the product development process. One thing I don’t think worked was the intricacy of the overall design; it’s extremely busy, and teeters too close to the edge of playful which does not fit with the brand. If tasked to create further toothbrush artwork I doubt I will use such an intricate geometric pattern. If the shapes were bigger and more clearly defined, the implication that the company is sturdy and secure might come across more clearly. I did research on other well-known toothbrush brands and noticed they often followed a common theme, with a prevalence of curves and swooping shapes, and I wanted this packaging to stand out from the crowd.

My first abstract image shows a naturally occurring geometry:


For my second abstract example, I decided to conduct my own experiment and created a geometric shape in Illustrator (this took approximately ten minutes). During a conference with my fellow students I asked people to tell me what the following image evoked in them:


I had come up with a list of possible connotations alreadymystical, mathematical, spiritual, abstract, fantasy, ritual. There were also a couple of ideas that I hadn’t considered, including circuitry and constellation (and zodiac). After the conference I continued to look at the design and draw connections. I ended up with two more ideas: hoax in the context of crop circles, and insignia in the context of an organisation or gang.

It’s interesting that the connection to a series of basic shapes depends on a person’s interests, beliefs and ideas they have absorbed elsewhere.

Finally, my third entry is a piece by artist Manolo Gamboa Naon, which you can see on Behance here. I can stare at Manolo’s art for ages and get drawn deeper and deeper. It feels almost like I’m looking down onto a strange and colourful cityscape. The faint grey lines and intersections are like many pathways and possible directions people can travel, with the larger circular shapes like buildings with their own networks and pathways within. It could also represent a person’s brain, with its innumerable neural pathways and connections, the colours signifying the different areas of the brain working for different purposes. Manolo is a creative coder who also makes video games, which is possibly why when I look at this piece I see a landscape full of areas to traverse and explore.

Beehive Photo | Manolo Gamboa Naon