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Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder?

Published on 
April 14, 2015

Copyright © Ranz Graphic Design

Some believe that to be so… but I respectfully disagree. That phrase suggests that the mind alone decides what is beautiful and what is not. Is that entirely true?

Suppose I gave you an Apple, if you decide to think of it as a Pear… does that change the fact that it’s an apple you’re holding? No. The properties that make up that particular fruit are still there. It is what it is.

In a similar way, beauty has certain properties and is bound by rules. To the extent that we follow or disregard these rules, dictates weather we will achieve beauty in drawing, painting, building, and of course Graphic Design.

Someone may argue that… There are cases where I would find one person has a beautiful face, but my friend may think that he/she is not as beautiful. Wouldn’t that imply that ‘beauty really is in the eye of the beholder’? Well no. You see… beauty is not static. A square is beautiful because it has symmetry (1 element that dictates beauty)… however a circle ALSO has symmetry and is considered beautiful in it’s proportions. If I decide that I like the shape of a square more than that of a circle… that will not change the beauty of the circle, it will still be considered universally beautiful.

Therefore… we see that while one or more things might have the raw elements that dictate beauty, we can still choose to gravitate towards one TYPE of beauty over another. This highlights that beauty has RANGE… but that range does not extended indefinitely. Should an object or drawing lack many or most of the elements of good design, it will ‘fall out’ of that range and ‘9 out of 10 people’ will consider it unsightly. In fact, the study of the Golden Ratio and physical beauty attests to this as people of all races and backgrounds are more likely to be considered attractive the closer their proportions are to that ratio.

So beauty is out there... certain things, animate or inanimate, may possess it. While the viewer can decide what he deems as beautiful, he cannot change the inherent qualities in an object that makes it such, just by stating his opinion.

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