Sunday, February 27, 2011


The latest sample from the "Design Methods" chapter of my NOW IN PRINT set design book, Alice Through the Proscenium:

Minimalism -  “Less is More.”  That famous design dictum by architect Mies van der Rohe is good advice.  Distill your design.  Minimalism is powerful.  Most of us ought to design using more eraser than pencil, but remember that there is another opinion, put forward by Mies’s protégé, Philip Johnson:  “Less is a Bore.”

Reduction -  Sometimes the problem just seems too big, too complicated.  You’re overwhelmed with choices…  Simplify.  Solve only the one biggest issue.  Reduce the problem to its basic ingredients: instead of boiling a whole gumbo, simmer a nice plain clear fish broth.  You can always throw in crawdads later.

Can’t beat it?  Join it – Sometimes a problem fights so hard it wins.  Maybe there’s an area that, do what you will, insists on being all circulation, all crossing paths to other places.  So let it.  But don’t give in grudgingly, embrace it, give in BIG!  You may end up with the wonderful hall of Grand Central Station.  Celebrate your problem.

Contrarywise -  Or rebel against the evil oppressor!  Reject everything.  If something is normally round, make it square.  Usually tall?  Make it short.  Test every bourgeois assumption The Man makes with your heroic (idiotic) knee-jerk rebellion.  Power to the revolutionary!

(Design methodology can boil down to the intellectual equivalent of: if the door doesn’t open when you push it, then you pull.  Just get the #%$ door open!)

You too can own a copy of Alice... just visit and use this 15% off sale code: IDES305

No comments:

Post a Comment