No one understands this miracle in ONE, more so than trade show designers and exhibit visual artists. The perennial philosophy "Pick the best and use it everywhere" is usually the foolproof rule of exhibition and gallery graphics.
However, it would be impossible for an institution with rich heritage and artifacts ranging from hundreds of years to focus on ONE.
For example, British Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum contained 400 years of the ﬁnest British furniture, art, and interior design ever collected. Picking one was going to be tough. So Michael Johnson picked few instead, and let the visitor imagine what wearing, leaning on, or snogging in front of all these treasures might feel like. So he tied the different artifacts with a SINGLE concept —UNITY with Silhouette Shapes. (Above: Anchor graphic)
Every artist have slightly different list of principles in projecting the POWER OF ONE. However, ONE of the four below, has never failed me.
"Center of Interest." It is about dominance and influence.
Most artists put it a bit off center and balance it with some minor themes to maintain our interest. Some artists avoid emphasis on purpose. They want all parts of the work to be equally interesting. Unless you are a master in your craft, it is wise not to travel that path. There are other effective ways to message your design that will populate the mind of your target audience.
“Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli
A very transparent way to look at it: Find clever ways to arrest the brain. The last thing you want to do is sheepishly follow trends. Know what they are looking for. Then allow yourself to listen.
Emphasis is comprised of different elements. Here is a quick run down. Of course, as always expand on, crush it, bend it. Your job as a designer, is either to jolt the brain or caress the brain.
Cripple the status quo — you are bound to get noticed.
CONSTRUCT EMPHASIS by contrast. Sure, verticals stand out in the midst of horizontal. Why not add elements of surprising balance. (Image source: world wide web)
CONSTRUCT EMPHASIS by sfumato. Embrace ambiguity, paradox and uncertainty. When others are touting, that their products are the best and the brightest, your mission should be; 'The product is as good as you can make use of it.' Challenge your audience and shroud your product offering with mysticism — we are unconsciously designed to gravitate towards it. (Image source: world wide web)
CONSTRUCT EMPHASIS by redefining boundaries. "Apple takes over Selfridges windows to promote the Apple watch." From a design stance this idea, increases the confines of your canvas. From marketing strategy, cross-pollinating has always been a proven tool. (Image source: world wide web)
As in music, complementary layers and/or effects can be merged to produce a more attractive whole. The composition is complex, but everything appears to fit with everything else. The whole is bigger, better and monumental than the sum of its parts.
“I tried to discover, in the rumor of forests and waves, words that other men could not hear, and I pricked up my ears to listen to the revelation of their harmony.” ― Gustave Flaubert,
ABOVE: Weaving the complex colors of nature in our effort to present it in a single island exhibit design. Our desire to fashion HARMONY.
CARVE OUT THE CONCERNS OF OUR PLANET IN YOUR PURSUIT OF HARMONY — YOU CANNOT GO WRONG
At this stage of human evolution, harmony is the key of our survival in the planet — Focus on “planet-driven and person-centered”. What is needed for the planet at this time of transition— think about that. Then you will be guided by harmony as your core messaging. Whatever the size of your product, imagine it as a part of a bigger picture — urge the stake holders to fashion the marketing messages in a setting of a bigger design context.
Embrace the long and arduous journey ahead.
“It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." ― Niccolò Machiavelli,
"When nothing distracts from the whole, you have unity." Unity without variation can be monotonous. Unity with diversity generally has more to offer in both art and in life. Of course, some very minimal art can be very calming and at times even very evocative. A simple landscape can have a powerful effect. When you are unsure about the pulse of your audience, play safe and go with the timeless.
When you want to play brave, spice up your image — unite with the culture of the times. Shamelessly copy. But, mindfully re-construct. You will not be the first one. Henri Matisse showed us how it is done.
“A prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli,
THE PRINCE would have been proud of this spoof. This was being 'prudent' by busting barriers. Their Facebook page exploded and attracted thousands likes and leading publishing companies were noted the entire spoof! NOTICE: The mindful reconstruction: The boys were in a sate of suspended alertness. The girls, on the other hand, kind of replicate the original people — "everything in this world in any epoch has their replicas in antiquity.” — Niccolò Machiavelli
This is my favorite. Use opposition to stay unwilted in your messaging. Clever brands use 'OPPOSITION' to jolt our brain. Using this concept, you can be brilliantly blunt & brazenly challenging your audience with unflinching directness. Our psyche is braced by it.
Go back to 2002. Americans were in love with those ghastly gas-guzzlers. A new brand of automobile emerges. The car was MINI Cooper. How did they carve out their brand message?
The principle of OPPOSITION shaped the marketing of this car. The car's radical campaign threw caution to the wind and played up their size when the general consumer sentiment, clearly was on the opposite direction.
USE OPPOSITION TO CREATE INTEREST
ABOVE: Head shots are profiled cut shapes. What throws the brain off balance is the back- lit visual in a the form of grid that tells the story of the 7 Stages of the Journey of Man. (Image from FLICKR)
USE OPPOSITION TO CREATE ARCHITECTURAL ADVENTURE OR INSTANT ATTENTION
ABOVE: [Left - Individual labels adorn this street side poll- clever advertisement of a dentist office.] [Right - A single element on the exhibit can subvert the entire structure, yet it does not. The architecture of the booth and the graphics on the floor is pointing towards one direction. The whole composition gives traction to the space.] (Image source: world wide web)
USE OPPOSITION IN YOU GRAPHIC DESIGN TO WORK THROUGH A CONCEPT
ABOVE: Symmetry is characterized by the same entity repeated in the same positions on either side of a vertical axis. What happens when you shuffle it around. It completely changes your perception about what you are seeing. Your 'mindscape' expands and you give improbabilities an opportunity to transform into possibilities. (Image source: world wide web)
In conclusion, your mind is an athlete. If, fearless and focused, it is formidable. When you use this intangible asset of yours, to transverse and touch the varied aspects of your customer's life, you create asymmetries and crosscurrents that is bound to make your brand mischievous and magnetic, symbiotic and yet, liberating.
Go ahead, give it a shot.
“There are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, and the third is useless.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli