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In last month's article, What are Fractals, we looked a bit at what fractals are and how they're made. Now, we'll explore the advantages they offer you as a designer.
Part 2: Fractals: Infinite Art Equals Infinite Possibilities
By Pam Blackstone, Fractallicious.com
Like many graphic designers, you probably instinctively turn to stock photography or vector illustrations when you need a visual element for your layout. I'd like to encourage you to add a third type of resource to your design toolkit. Fractal art offers benefits that are under-appreciated by designers. For example ...
A carefully chosen fractal can help get your design piece noticed. Because of their beauty and intricacy, fractals tend to command attention. Fractals can be arresting - they make people stop and take notice. This can be effective when you need to retain attention for more than the split second of most people's attention span. view
Some fractal images can also provoke strong visceral reaction. This attribute makes them especially appropriate for certain types of design challenges. Consider the example at left. You probably had a strong gut reaction to this image because the motif it contains is an archetypal symbol with a number of powerful meanings.
Fractals tend to inspire contemplation. They contain repeating motifs and mesmerizing detail, and it's this complexity that makes them so interesting. Many fractals contain a strong central spiral, a compelling visual signpost that pulls the viewer into the heart of your layout. People respond to this on a subconscious level, much like the impulse to walk a labyrinth.
When you have a spiral spinning off spirals, it's hard to pull your eyes away. (Add to that popular icons like hearts and rainbows, and you have a very compelling image!)
Much stock photography is so over-used that people have become jaded. We shrug off layouts with smiling multi-cultural faces, confident handshakes, filthy ashtrays, or toppled booze bottles - the very symbols so often used for social marketing purposes.
Why not, instead, depict the despair of drug addiction or alcoholism in a more subtle way? Use of a fractal allows you to convey ideas metaphorically and offers a fresh new way to illustrate abstract concepts and the subtleties of mood and emotion.
Consider this fractal in this context.
As the images above demonstrate, fractal art has many moods. Want to depict the pressure of the 9 to 5 grind, the feeling of being out of control, or the sense of going around in circles and getting nowhere? Let a fractal communicate these messages subliminally for you. Likewise if you need to convey an upbeat, happy mood or evoke a tranquil, meditative state.
Perhaps because of their mathematical origins, many fractals have a distinctly sci-fi feel, making them great for futuristic layouts. Others emulate nature, with forms that can bear an uncanny resemblance to trees, clouds, feathers, ferns, flowers, shells, pearls, and other elements of the natural world, but in just an abstract enough way to cause the viewer to do a double-take.
Many fractal designs feature hearts, snowflakes, and rainbows, making them useful for seasonal treatments too.
Fractals bridge the gulf between photos and clip art:
They can be output at any size with no loss of resolution.
They can contain edge-to-edge design or solid background color,
They can fully support for masks, clipping, and alpha channel transparency.
They can be used online or in print equally effectively - even animated.
Fractal art opens up all kinds of new design possibilities, especially for people who tend to think outside the box!
Watch for next month's article, which will provide tips on how to use a fractal in your design.
Pam Blackstone, www.fractallicious.com
Pam Blackstone & Fractallicious!
See: Fractallicious.com, the Internet's first royalty-free stock art site specializing EXCLUSIVELY in fractal art. Fractallicious has hundreds of unique images available for download, on a royalty-free, rights managed, and/or extended commercial licensing basis.
Space and Sci-Fi
Hazy, lazy days of Summer
Organica: Shells, Fish, Pearls & Seaweed
Pam Blackstone is a fractal artist who sells her art in open and limited edition prints and greeting cards. She also sells online through stock photography sites, where her fractals have been sourced for projects ranging from book covers and business cards to web design templates and iPod skins. She has felt for some time that this distribution medium does not do the art form justice.
Contact Pam at Fractallicious