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This Week's Challenge: Opposites Attract

Opposites Attract by Jessica Thrasher

“Am I so ugly that I need to put a paper bag over my face?” Yes, Mona, you are. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder—at least, that’s how the old cliché goes.

For designers, the opposite is often true. When you’re solving a design problem, you often need to land on a beautiful idea for the appropriate audience before you start worrying about how good the idea will actually look in the final, designed execution.

So, what happens if you’re asked to come up with a beautiful design idea about what beauty really means? What do you do when the entire foundation of your design is unnervingly objective, something that can be defined differently for each consumer? With this challenge, you’re going to find out.

An editor at a major publishing house has contacted you and asked if you’ll brainstorm cover concepts for an upcoming hardcover book about perceptions of beauty throughout the ages. Ironically, the book is titled Ugly by author Jane Klingslaner. In 60 minutes, come up with a range of cover ideas, then select one of those ideas to draw out in a clean, professional comp that can easily be migrated into a computer execution.

Opposites Attract by Jessica Thrasher - Photo 2

Opposites Attract by Jessica Thrasher - Photo 3

For the example shown above: During a twenty-minute individual brainstorm in one of my classes, designer Jessica Thrasher hatched the above idea for the cover design of Ugly.

Every week, I’ll be sharing with the design community a creative challenge, alongside sample solutions from working designers and students. The above challenge is from my forthcoming book for HOW Design Press, Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills.


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