The Beauty of Space: A Reminder to Myself

If you haven't got your hands on Typograph.Journal Vol.01 by Typograph.Her*, you must do so right now. In this exquisitely typset book, Nicole discusses the shifting negotiation between the form and function of visual communication. She included a reference to this quote by William Morris:

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

In the literal sense, this is something that I strive to live by. But I get so emotionally attached to things that don't really benefit me, e.g. my primary school artworks (definitely not beautiful or useful), printers that don't work, old mobile phones. I hoard, hoard, hoard and over time, find that there's just stuff everywhere. Time, effort and heart-wrenching moments are invested into brutally stripping away the accumulated mess, but the feeling of relief and actually being able to visually 'breathe' in my surrounding is rewarding beyond measure.

This very same process, can be extrapolated into my design practice. Why is it difficult sometimes to keep things simple with a focal point? It is SO easy to add a flourish here, an embellishing line over there, and write an extra sentence to explain what's already been explained... It's the hoarding story all over again. A glance over the design and you instinctively know there's too much, but where do you start stripping away?

Enters William Morris. Let the un-useful and un-beautiful be gone. Each element in a design must act as a main, vital cog, in which a machine couldn't function without. So now taking a look once more at the design: that vector in the corner - kind of supports the content of the text, but it's not that obvious - not useful. That little graphical element - looks pretty, but it's not beautiful.

By the time the design renovation is complete. We can breathe again as Derek Birdsall says "White space is the lungs of the layout. It's not there for aesthetic reasons. It's there for physical reasons."

Remember: The beauty of simplicity. The oxygen in space (haha).

*http://www.typographher.com