I’ve heard the word perspective used many times over the past couple of months. It seems to keep appearing no matter what I am doing, where I am going, or whom I am with. When I thought about handwriting this idea, here’s what happened:
Well that was fun!
Honestly though, this little typographic sketch felt inspired. While putting the ink on paper, I spent a lot of time thinking about what perspective means to me – in art, design, and my own life.
Perspective in Art
While studying drawing as an undergraduate, perspective was always a point of emphasis. I remember feeling intimidated by the concept, thinking “I have to draw STRAIGHT lines?” Perspective takes practice. It takes precision. It takes a whole lot of looking at the environment, measuring an angle with a pencil, and praying that the pencil makes it back to the paper without rotating a single degree. It’s tricky.
Although it’s a difficult thing to master, when perspective does start to click, the results are magical. Drawn images come to life. Graphite creates two-dimensional pictures that capture reality, beckoning viewers to walk into art itself. Perspective is ultimately a tool used by artists to create a sense of truth in their work.
Perspective in Design
While art uses perspective in a mathematical sense, design actually focuses on perspective as a frame of reference. When approaching a design problem, it is always important to understand stakeholders’ points of view. Everyone views the world with a specific set of internal criteria based on past experiences and current values. No matter how unbiased we try to be, we as people always have unique experiences that drive our “filters” on the world. That’s just the way it is.
Designers have the great opportunity to tease out perspectives and make sense of them. By externalizing points of view, designers are able to generate truly meaningful solutions. Being able to quickly switch between varying perspectives may be one of the most crucial (and difficult) traits to acquire as a designer.
Perspective in Life
Perhaps both art and design can teach us about perspective in life. There is certainly an art to the world in which we live, presenting us with roads to travel down and buildings to climb up. Sometimes it’s easy to look at the things in front of us and remember the time we took the wrong path or the day we tripped on the stairs. These things happen. However, design teaches us that we have the ability to shift our perspectives, framing the situations in front of us in a more positive light.
I for one am realizing that happiness is all about perspective.