Purpose, premise, and story are intuitive (but not necessarily automatic) parts of the appeal equation, because most people can sense when a story is interesting, or when a premise is new, or when a personality resonates with them. But what about all these seemingly arbitrary rules about the visual relationships of lines, shapes, and colors? Are these universal rules or something that is a product of our art culture?
Order versus chaos is a fundamental struggle of the universe. Creation struggles against entropy, explosive stars struggle against gravity, life struggles against plague and famine. Convection, which life on earth depends on, is the byproduct of systems seeking stasis, but the result is incredibly chaotic.
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I believe this is what makes great designs appeal to something deep inside us. When something is too ordered it becomes boring, but when it's too chaotic it's overwhelming. This struggle is such an integral part of life that when a design balances this struggle in a way that parallels what we experience in nature, it can resonate with us in the same way that a great story can.
The idea of order vs. chaos has a huge variety and depth of application in design and painting, so that's what I'm going to talk about in the next series of posts.