Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tapping Into It

Why do we tap our feet, snap our fingers or clap our hands when we listen to music? We feel the beat and are often compelled to be part of the experience. The sound of the song - notes, rhythm, vibration and pattern, organize emotional experience. The music gives us emotional cues and tells us a story.

When we tap our feet, we are recognizing the rhythm of a piece of music. Rhythm creates pattern. And, though repetition can bore us, patterns with contrast intrigue the eye, ear and mind as we search for underlying meaning. Pattern organizes our experience and generates interest.

Visual rhythm is part of every design with strong emotional resonance. I believe that strong design stays with you like music that haunts you. As in a musical composition, we designers are trying to evoke certain feelings. I created the Mandala pattern thinking about a window from the St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice. But I refined the curves of the design, creating more visual interplay between the straight lines and the arcs.

While designing the Mandala, I thought about the experience of watching a pinwheel, a windmill or one of the original film making machines - a kinetoscope. I was thinking about how centrifugal forces appear to make things spin out of control, but strong centers can hold them together.

The Mandala has become both a focus and an element in many of our designs. The Buddhist spiritual idea of a Mandala, as an object of contemplation that calms the soul and generates insight, appealed to me as I worked on the design, (thus the name). For me, the Mandala is a symbol of controlled creative energy – a fitting symbol for our company.

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