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TRIZ-Principles for Art-Composition
Elena Novitskaya

February 10, 2003
A simple task: to create a composition using a red circle and a 250-symbol text.

Prehistory. Before the examination session, my friend-designer, student of the Jerusalem Academy of Arts, made an appeal for help. He was given a simple task to create a composition using a red circle and a 250-symbol text. It seems as if this easy task does not require any extra efforts. But by the time of the session, all creative power had been spent for more serious tasks and little force had remained for producing a fresh idea. He expected me to suggest some graphic move, some idea and I decided to make an experiment to use the inventive principles for solving an art-problem. Below is the excerpt from the letter:


"So, our task is to create a composition using a red circle and a 250-symbol text. The requirements and limitations, as well as the methodical purpose of the task are unknown, so we are unable to formulate a contradiction, which is necessary for using Altshuller's Table of Resolving Contradictions. Let us try to suggest conceptions by obeying all the inventive principles at a run. For better demonstrativeness, my conceptions are accompanied by sketches.


Principle 1 “Segmentation”. Divide the text body into two parts, into many parts, arrange the words randomly, divide the words into letters, etc.


Principle 2 “Separation”. Separate part of the text and lay special design emphasis on it. 


Principle 3 “Local quality”. All the composition is blurred, including the circle, and there is also a distinctly and thoroughly drawn element (in combination with the previous principle).


Principle 5 “Merging”. Unite the circle and the text into a whole, mix them.


Principle 6 “Multifunctionality” (An object performs several functions, so no other objects are needed.) Do so that the text performs the circle's function arrange it in a circle and paint it red. The circle itself becomes redundant. But for the composition to become expressive, it is necessary to remain some text “tail” outside the circle formed from the text.


Principle 7 “Nested doll”. The text is inside the text and the circle is placed even deeper.


Principle 13 “The other way around” (Instead of an action dictated by the problem conditions, perform a contrary action). It is very simple use 250 red circles and only one letter. But I fear the professor's reaction...


Principle 15 “Dynamic parts”. Introduce dynamics and motion into the composition. Let it be an impetuous comet with a red nucleus and a tail composed of letters!


Principle 17 “Dimensionality change”. A two-layer composition is quite possible. The first layer has a round hole and the substrate gives the red color. Or make the composition from a set of semi-transparent sheets of tracing paper, each of which will be part of the text thereby providing a variety of hues.


Principle 19 “Periodic action”. Create a rhythmical composition by splitting the text into unequal parts.


Principle 21 “Hurrying”. Organize the composition in such a way that your glance comes through its space and “hooks on” especially organized composition nodes.


Principle 26 “Copying”. You can make the background from 125 letters in pale color with contrasting letters above them. Or use a mirror image of the text.


Principle 27 “Cheap disposables”. This principle did not give a direct prompt, but suggested the idea of using an exaggerated contract. For instance, the circle is made from some very precious material whereas the letters are commonplace, “presswork”.


Principle 31 “Porous material”. The red circle has cavities with parts of the text in them.


Principle 32 “Optical property changes”. One can play with the properties of paper surface, text, red circle, using various textures, degrees of transparency, mirror arrangement, gloss, tarnish, etc.


Principle 33 “Homogeneity”. Reduce all the elements of the composition to a “common denominator”, i.e. the letters must have a round shape, the circle must look like the text's element, for instance, one of the letters "O".


Thus, we have obtained 16 conceptions in accordance with 16 principles (out of 40). Obviously, we can make an attempt to find an idea using the rest of the principles or to seek for other variants of solving this problem on the basis of the already used principles. Besides, we may try to apply the principles to each of the composition elements the text, circle, sheet and, sometimes, even to their relations. In any case, the number of ideas will be superfluous. It will only remain to choose the most interesting idea and to combine some most promising ones.
Good luck!"


Final version (Vadim Zarhin):


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Authors: Nikolay Shpakovsky, Elena Novitskaya