The Black Square
Problem (from “Visual Literacy” by Wilde and Wilde)
GOAL: By using ONLY FOUR black perfect squares,
create a graphic image that best expresses the meaning of the following
six words (see below).
VIDEO TUTORIALS NEEDED
FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT:
- Create a new folder on your network folder (making
a GRAPHIC_DESIGN folder might be a good idea!), called “Lastname_black_square.”
- Using Photoshop, create a total of SIX canvases,
each 300 x 300 pixels for each of the following six words:
- CONGESTED (either like a cold or like
- Use your Photoshop Rectangle Tool to make FOUR
AND ONLY FOUR BLACK squares. Use the Free Transform
Tool as needed to rotate, size and move your
- Create SIX preliminary sketches for
each word using the proper Photoshop tools and techniques. Try to use different
- DO NOT THINK OF THE EDGE OF YOUR CANVAS AS A "BORDER" THAT YOU CANNOT CROSS! THE BEST "BLACK SQUARE" CANVASES ARRANGE THE SQUARES SO THAT YOU CAN NOT EVEN TELL THERE ANY SQUARES IN THE WORK!
- Save them to your “Lastname_black_square” folder as “ORDER_1.jpg”,
- You will create a total
of 36 different small canvases
these six words. You
one of the 6 samples
the most effective
and execute it in large format
After completing all of your trial canvases, we will execute each
of your final designs using Photoshop.
- Create a New White Canvas, dimensions 600 x 600
- Pick what you feel is the BEST of your six versions
of each of the words above and recreate them on the new larger
In the lower left or right corner of your larger
canvas, use the TEXT TOOL to write:
Use Black or White letters, depending upon the color
of the corner you are using.
- Save each of these as: Tension_FINAL.jpg, etc.
- Turn in your entire Black Square Folder, with
all 36 trials and the 6 final products.
SAMPLE CANVASES: From
the Graphic Design classes of 2009-2010.
GRADING: As this project is predominantly about the process of brainstorming good answers to a graphical problem, you will be rewarded 2.5 points for each practice canvas completed. Final canvases will be worth 1.5 points each. You will receive .5 points for free. This yields a project point total of 100 points.
If the student demonstrates care and thought in the creation of their canvases, they will receive full credit for each file. Sloppy, ordinary or rushed
work will receive a total of 50 percent credit for each file. Uncompleted files
will receive ZERO points.
These pictures may be displayed in the classroom,
on the website or in the hallway upon completion.