When Paul Rand first coined this timeless phrase, he was speaking specifically of the golden rule of visual communication. Without difference, nothing is distinguishable. And if you cannot be distinguishable, you are nothing. You’re printing black on black. But Rand’s quote means so much more than graphic design. The world is made of opposites. Night and day. Land and Water. Warm and cold. Man and Woman. Jack and Coke.
When contrast occurs, opposites attract. The resulting combinations create a certain harmony that does not need explanation. These paradoxes are what make life exciting and memorable.
Rand’s quote is more relevant today than ever before. Graphic Designers communicate to a cynical society that has seen it all, willing to dismiss most of their daily visual consumption. For the 18 graduating seniors of Fall 2011, contrast is the key to visual communication. It’s the contrasting elements that make what we do memorable. The perfect attraction of two opposites will create an entirely new page in the web of pop culture.
And for the 18 of us as a collective, opposites really do attract. From our nationalities to our personalities and to our design styles, we’re a mixed bag of opposites that somehow work wonderfully together.