Shapemakers: Inspiration at the Nexus of Graphic Design and Fine Art
The elements of design are simple, but the job that a piece of design needs to accomplish can be infinitely nuanced. When you unburden design from the usual restrictions of messaging, branding, and even representation, you arrive at the blurry nexus of design and fine art, where anything is possible.
I find that designers who work in this primordial realm of shapes and colors to be particularly inspiring when it comes to branding work for clients, where the same basic tools are being leveraged toward a more specific, strategic end. Experiencing the power and beauty of pure form and color in its raw state without copy or branding is a good reminder of the freedom that design affords, even though designers feel most comfortable when bounded by restrictions. I’m fascinated by the ways in which the most simplistic shapes and design elements can be made into something beautiful and sophisticated when composed with a skilled designer’s eye and discerning taste.
Below is a collection of a few primitive yet sophisticated “shapemakers” whom I look to for inspiration, artists who straddle the line between design and art by using the most basic building blocks of design available to create work that is transcendent.