Earlier this year I bought a book titled Notan: The Dark-Light Principle of Design. Notan, a Japanese term, involves the concept of dark and light; black and white; positive and negative. It’s a small book of 80 pages, but it’s jam packed with great information. As a life-long student, I was pretty excited to discover the book included exercises that I could study and practice:) Here are the first two exercises I practiced.
Exercise One was to create a design that’s asymmetrically balanced, arranging five black shapes on a white background. Then I was to look at those shapes as black holes, or as not a thing. And finally I was to see them as black rocks in water, working to balance the positive and negative space, or the black and white shapes. The rocks and water should be seen as equal entities.
Exercise Two involved negative shapes with positive reversals in an “expansion of the square.” I started out with a 6-inch black square paper and a larger white paper. When I cut a shape in the black paper and folded it out, it created the same shape as negative white space. I was to try and find balance and to maintain the order of the black square shape.
I’ll make another post when I work through the remaining exercises of this book.