Commercial artists need to touch home base regularly since we are so easily distracted by competition, trends, and making a living. If you’re anything like me it’s a struggle to stay focused.. Leave the foundation and the structure crumbles. Leave the study of art behind and your aesthetic skills dissolve.
“Don’t try to be original, try to be good.”
This is the first of my touchstones. The words are a quote from Paul Rand. In today’s context, the idea seems foreign albeit refreshing. On first read I felt more than one brick lift its weight – I thought, “hell, I can be good, just don’t ask me to be original”. Originality is too damn hard. Original is like asking me to be something I’m not; original is someone else.
I prefer to concentrate on the balance of form and content. As a result, I can listen to Paul Rand talk all day and his work feels like a visit with an old friend. It’s exciting, familiar, comfortable, surprising and challenging all at once. In the quest for originality, it’s easy to forget how to be good.
“When form overtakes, meaning is blunted, and when content predominates interest lags.” – Paul Rand
I can change my use of form when it suits the content; i.e. some images work better in black and white, some better in color. The variations are infinite but in the hunt for flawless balance, it’s content that is searching for its perfect form not the reverse. Therein rests the challenge.
Press creativity into service to find an aesthetically balanced fusion of form and content. The objective is not to make something pretty but to make the message compelling. The goal isn’t simplicity; the goal is to fuse meaningful content with persuasive form.
For everything Paul Rand, go here.