The Art of Geometry: Where Mathematics and Creativity Collide

Geometry is usually associated with mathematical precision and logical thinking, and it might not immediately come to mind when thinking about art. But the intersection of geometry and art has a rich history that spans centuries and cultures. From ancient architecture to contemporary abstract paintings, geometric principles have influenced and shaped artistic expressions in various mediums.

Back in 2019 while I was working on my Master’s degree in Graphic Design, I chose to study the influence of geometry in art and design, taking inspiration from many different sources such as fashion, architecture and nature. Over the next couple of months I’m going to share some of my original blog posts from my MA blog (now dormant) as geometry still – and always will – factors in our everyday lives and in our creative consciousness.

So how does geometry shape our world and, in turn, our artwork?

Symmetry and Balance

Geometry provides a foundation for symmetry and balance in art. Artists and designers throughout history have used geometric shapes such as circles, squares and triangles to create visually pleasing compositions. Have you ever noticed how a lot of logos use geometric shapes, either in the logo illustration itself or to contain the illustration? You don’t want people looking at your brand and thinking it looks… off. Or wonky. An asymmetrical logo only works if it’s done purposefully by somebody who understands symmetry and has the experience necessary to break the rules. Perhaps it’s a logo for a horror-themed magazine, in which case asymmetry would come in handy to create a sense of unease.

Many designers and artists who’ve been working in the industry for years can eyeball a piece and see asymmetry with their bare eyes. This comes from experience and is an incredibly useful tool to have in-built!

By incorporating symmetry, we achieve a sense of equilibrium and order in our work, appealing to the innate human desire for harmony and balance. There are a few different types of symmetry: reflectional (mirror symmetry), rotational (circular symmetry), translational (repeating patterns), and scale (self-similarity at different scales).

It can also be used as a focal point, a way to draw your audience’s eye toward a particular area of your work. It’s a powerful tool and something that should be considered when putting together a composition. I’m sure I don’t always find a good balance in my designs, but I try to keep it in mind.

    Sacred Geometry

    Sacred geometry is a concept found in many cultures, representing the belief that geometric forms hold spiritual or symbolic significance. The use of geometric shapes and patterns, such as the golden ratio, the flower of life or mandalas can be seen in religious art, architecture and cultural artifacts. These geometric elements are believed to convey divine proportions and evoke a sense of awe and transcendence. It has a long history, with roots in ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Greece and India.

    These sacred shapes and patterns are believed to possess inherent meanings and convey spiritual truths. An example would be the circle, often associated with unity, wholeness and the divine. Or the triangle, which can represent balance, harmony and the interconnectedness of body, mind and spirit. This is why sacred geometry is often associated with esoteric practices like meditation, energy healing and spiritual rituals. Some people believe that contemplating or working with sacred geometric shapes can bring about a deeper connection with the divine and enhance spiritual awareness

    by spirit111 on Pixabay

    Constructing Perspective

    Geometric principles are essential in the creation of perspective, a technique that gives the illusion of depth and three-dimensionality in two-dimensional art. Artists use mathematical concepts like the vanishing point or horizon line to accurately depict spatial relationships and create realistic or stylised representations of space.

    Geometric Abstraction

    Geometric abstraction is an art movement that emerged in the early 20th Century and focused on creating artworks using simple geometric shapes and colours. It sought to move away from representational art and instead explore the inherent qualities of form, colour and composition.

    When artists use basic shapes and arrange them in a precise and systematic manner, they prioritise the visual elements of art, drawing the focus away from any symbolic or narrative content. I can’t say I’m a massive fan of this type of art; abstract has always felt a little closed-off to me and my personal tastes, but it’s an interesting concept. I wonder how far you could go with it!

    Fractals and Algorithmic Art

    Fractals are self-repeating geometric patterns and in recent years they’ve become really popular in digital and algorithmic art. Now this is a geometric art that I find fascinating and mesmerising! Fractal artwork reveals the inherent beauty of mathematical patterns and provides a bridge between the precision of maths and the subjective nature of art. I look at fractals and I feel very small in the vastness of the universe. To me, maths is vast and unfathomable, and to see it represented visually evokes that same feeling.

    Oh, and it can also be incredibly beautiful.

    by JuliusH on Pixabay

    Geometry continues to serve as a source of inspiration and a guiding principle in artistic expression. A lot of the time we don’t even consciously use geometry; it’s all around us and woven into our lives and bodies. Whether employed to achieve balance, explore spirituality, construct perspective, or challenge traditional representation, geometric elements add depth, aesthetic appeal, and a sense of structure to your work.

    If you enjoyed this article and have any thoughts or questions, feel free to drop a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

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    Hi, I'm Jen, an illustrator, pattern designer and font maker based in the UK. I love creating beautiful design resources that people might find useful. Two of the biggest things I strive for in my work is offering great value and excellent customer service. Feel free to get in touch!

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