why beauty actually matters

July 16 | 2013

what is the definition of beauty? The most common answer to this question is: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. This quote is the common ground of those two examples above, in which they insist to judge about “beauty” based on their own taste and view. Stating this quote as the only truth, would mean the article would come to an end right here. Of course, it won’t end here, so lets now it’s time to take a look at some few more objective approaches to this subject.

typography

content does matters but what’s the point if the audience can’t process or perceive it? If a text piece is written in a way that makes it difficult to read it actually loses its purpose. In order to convey the message it has to be adjusted accordingly, depending on the media it is presented on. This is where typography comes in. The fonts must be chosen carefully and fit into the main framework and communicate to the audience as well as any other graphical element. It will make sure that the content is memorized and recognizable.

colors

colors are probably the most distinguish perception of the world around us, it surrounds us pretty much in all walks of life. They do have a certain impact on how we emotionally respond to things that we see or imagine. There are a few cultural differences on how some colors are being associated with, but there is a rough scale that determines what certain colors mean to us. The following illustration demonstrates this:

colors | design by pxlgirl

picking the right color in order to get a message across is crucial, once the association is made. It is one of the key features to make people memorize the content that would also set an emotional component to it.

shapes

Our brains have evolved to think in patterns. That’s why we can even associate more complex objects just by looking at simple shapes. We basically add the attributes to it that creates the image that fits. Just like colors, they also are associated with meanings, for example an edgy shape would be associated with “hard”, while round shapes would be seen as “soft”. The basic forms are shown in the image below:

shapes | design by pxlgirl

shapes make us recognize familiar objects and see new ones for which our brain sets yet another pattern.

simplicity and complexity

simple shapes on their own might not seem as exciting, but they gain importance when put in a context. If the objects get arranged in a certain way, the look and feel instantly changes. The image itself gets more complex, and so can its meaning if placed accordingly. The newly arranged simplistic shapes now are triggering emotions and associations.

simplicity & complexity | design by pxlgirl

one of the most impressive compositions made of simple objects are surely fractals. They create an infinite number of repeating shapes while zooming in. The fragments of fractal structures can be widely seen in nature (trees) and even our own bodies (blood vessels).

the beauty of it all 

apart from the personal taste, there is a certain objective description of what most would consider “beautiful”. But how do we classify what is beautiful? One of the most common explanations science has to offer is the so called “golden ratio”, which is a mathematical equation on the proportion objects have to one another. I will spare you the details here, but simply put the ratio is to be 1:3. It has proven to be perceived by people as something they would describe as “beautiful”, even though they might not always be able to provide a rational explanation why they think so. The “golden ratio” is being commonly used in art and professional design. The image below demonstrates the effect:

golden ratio | design by pxlgirl

one very common mistake made by non-professionals is centering, which makes the composition look symmetrically unappealing. As a matter of fact, beautiful things make us feel good, we can relate and identify with them. They might not be as useful on their own, but put together with content, they gain in value and can pass on information in a joyful and pleasant way. This is for what we admire our favorite artists and musicians for. They are the ones who put the work into molding beauty. That all being said, beauty certainly does matter.

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