One of the major elements of graphic design principles is form. When you hold an object in your hand you become aware of its shape, its angles, its curves, its edges, and its form. Form can be organic or geometric, it can be defined by light or shadows, and it can be enhanced by color or texture. Form is the way an artist arranges design elements to create composition.
Pum Lefebure is no stranger to the importance of form in design. You can easily see her consideration of graphic design principles in the projects her firm, Design Army, works on — from their campaign for Georgetown Optician to their package design for Green Hat Gin.
Form as a design element is also very prevalent in the Design Principles promotion Design Army created for Neenah. Presented in a mysterious black box are 20 different beautifully designed and printed circles. Each designed to showcase specific graphic design principles, and each featuring a different luxurious paper from The Design Collection.
We asked Lefebure about her inspirations, likes, and dislikes when it comes to considering form in her daily work.
What is form in graphic design?
Form is the three-dimensional development of the two-dimensional shape. For example, a circle is a shape where a sphere is a form. Form has depth and dimension.
Who inspires you by their use of form?
I love Frank Gehry’s work. I love how he expresses architecture through form, but not form as we know it. When we think of architecture, everything is structured and geometric. Gehry breaks through and uses organic form that is inspired by nature, inspired by art or Roman sculpture. When you look at the fabric on a sculpture, for example, it has a sense of movement. Gehry creates this fold, this organic form that is very unique through architecture. That’s why his work stands out. He inspires me to push much further when I think of form.
What is your design philosophy?
My philosophy is form, function, and feeling. I think work should have the feeling and that’s why I’m very sensitive when we select paper, of thinking about how a thing would feel in your hand, or the weight that it creates. A piece of thin paper can create form as it’s folding or flipping over, and the noise that it creates enhances the form. Those are the feelings that form can create.
What is your pet peeve when it comes to form?
I dislike 8.5 x 11 brochures. That size is not very creative. If we’re forced to use that particular size, then we play with the layers. For example, we would add different sizes and shapes within the piece to create the illusion of dimension, of something that is not flat and boring.
When does form come into the design process?
Our process is simple. First, we always start everything with a sketch, then we build a white dummy to really check the form; the paper, the texture, the weight, how it feels in your hands. After that, when the form is complete, that’s when the graphic design begins.
Form is just one of the 20 design principles featured in Neenah’s Design Principles promotion.
To get an up-close look at all the papers The Design Collection has to offer, get a set of the new swatchbooks here. (While supplies last.)
Stay tuned for more conversations about graphic design principles with Lefebure.