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Exploring Asymmetry: Learning from Art History

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The "Exploring Asymmetry: Learning from Art History" Lesson is part of the full, Design for Developers course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Sarah introduces rule of thirds, triad composition, and Swiss design which achieve balance, but are still asymmetrical.

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Transcript from the "Exploring Asymmetry: Learning from Art History" Lesson

[00:00:00]
>> Sarah Drasner: In photography, there's this idea of rule of thirds. And that rule of thirds can actually carry across to the web design and development as well. This rule of thirds is if you take a composition, you break it down into three pieces. And you pick one of those thirds and put the key part of the composition there instead of right in the middle.

[00:00:19] In can actually help the composition by a great deal. And there's also an idea of triad compositions. I love triad compositions. Once I tell you this you'll start to see them everywhere, I swear. So, if you look at this composition we start from her hand in the corner, it goes down all the way to that cloth here, then it moves over to his foot, and then it goes back up to her arm, that's the composition.

[00:00:46] So it kind of draws here, here, here, so you can see how there's triangles within this composition. This is very intentional. There's lots of things written about this in old medieval texts because it keeps your eye from leaving the canvas. Your eye is constantly circling instead of coming to the canvas and dropping off, it goes back.

[00:01:10] It circles back through and it goes back up. So there's tons and tons of triangles in canvases, especially post Caravaggio, there's a lot of this idea that you'll see again and again. So here's some triad compositions in painting. You can see in my brand shot. There's a triangle.

[00:01:29] It goes into that shadow, right, like the guy who's laying there, it goes up to her umbrella. It goes back down and across where the dogs are. These are very intentional. That guy is positioned perfectly so that he can draw a triangle with your eye. This is the Edo style print here, kind of going down, over, across, back up.

[00:01:52] And the same with the Swiss design composition. We're going to talk about Swiss design a bunch today because its a really interesting, dynamic composition to study. So we get to see these triangles again.
>> Sarah Drasner: So, Swiss design is kinda famous for using large, flat, geometric shapes. And really some things are kind of subtly using and making and breaking grids.

[00:02:22] Swiss design is not subtly using and making and breaking grids. Swiss design is using and making and breaking grids very very cleanly, very obviously and if you ever want to you know kind of study or make master copies of things, Swiss design is a really great place to do so.

[00:02:40] We're gonna do that a little bit, I'm gonna show you a couple examples of that today.