Thursday, July 27, 2017

Include it out

Song of Solomon: timeless love poetry in contemporary calligraphy. 
Too many words dilute the effect.
In scripture, as in all great literature, every word counts.  But some words count more than others.  While I was drafting and redrafting this design, I tried to read it through the eyes of the readers, to determine what they would see first.  A work of art has to first answer, what is this about?  This text is about being enclosed.  So I repeated the verse's first words, "A GARDEN ENCLOSED...IS MY BELOVED" in medium-large letters as a headline, and used them to bracket the blocks of text that surround the inmost roundel, itself an inward-curving leafy enclosure.  
Fewer words strengthen the meaning.

But a day later, I knew my design had not quite arrived. Nothing was missing; quite the opposite; I actually needed only half of the headline. By trimming it to read "A GARDEN ... ENCLOSED," I let it pique the readers' curiosity, motivating them to continue reading and complete the thought. Plus it allowed me to make those headline letters larger, so they could be read from further away.  

As a design evolves, often the key step is to subtract something, not add something. Robert Louis Stevenson said it; "There is but one art, to omit! ...[one] who knows how to omit would make an Iliad of a daily paper."  

No comments:

Post a Comment