Notebook, 1993-



Something different, abnormal, peculiar, or not easily cleassified . . . . Deviation from the common rule: Iregularity

C  O  N  S  I  D  E  R
Anomaly is the presence of irregularity in a design in which regularity still prevails. It marks a certain degree of departure from the general conformity, resulting in slight or considerable interruption of the overall discipline. Sometimes anomaly is just a singular element among uniform organization.

Examples of anomaly around us are common: flowers among foliage, the moon in a starry night, cracks on a plain wall, an old church among modern skyscrapers.

In design, the use of anomaly has to be of genuine necessity. It must have a definite purpose, which may be one of the following:

a) To Attract Attention. When anomaly is used sparingly, it tends to stand out and attract immediate attention. Center of interest can be created if anomaly happens only within a restricted area of the design.

b) To Relieve Monotony. Plain regularity can be monotonous. Anomaly is able to generate movement and vibration. Anomalous areas in this case should be scattered either casually or systematically all over the design.

c) To Transform Regularity. One kind of regularity can be transformed into another. Here anomaly is just a change of discipline.

d) To Break Down Regularity. Regularity can be completely broken down into disorder in one or more areas. Anomaly seems to be more violent in this case, but the unity of the design should be maintained.

[Wong, Wucius. Principals of Two-Dimensional Form. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1988.]

Anomaly among Unit Forms
Regularity exists among unit forms when they are related to each other under a certain kind of discipline, which may be repetition, similarity, or gradation . However, if we consider all the visual and relational elements, the relationship of various unit forms can be rather complex. Unit forms may be repetitive in all aspects, but they may also be repetitive only in certain elements and gradational in the remaining elements.

When anomaly is introduced among unit forms, the originality of each of the visual and relational elements should be carefully examined. An anomalous unit form does not have to be different in every way from the general regularity. It can deviate in just one or two elements and conform to the general regularity in all other elements.

Anomaly is comparative. One anomalous unit can be more anomalous than another. Anomaly can be so subtle that it is barely noticeable, or it can be extremely prominent. Anomalous unit forms can maintain a certain kind of regularity among themselves, or they can be quite different among themselves.

Anomalous unit forms can attract attention in one or more of the following ways:
a) The anomaly is prominent

b) All anomalous unit forms appear within a restricted area

c) There are only a few of these anomalous unit forms [or there is only one].

Concentrated anomaly normally becomes the center of interest in a design.

Anomaly relieves monotony when the anomalous unit forms appear quite frequently, scattering over a wide area. They can be fairly indistinct, occurring as minor distortions or transfigurations of the regular unit forms. Their placement in the design can be orderly or casual, generating movements and adding accentuations.

Regularity can be transformed from one kind to another when anomalous unit forms also establish a kind of regularity among themselves. Such anomalous unit forms are not just related to each other regularly, but are also arranged regularly. This is like merging or annexing two different groups of regular unit forms. The minority group is an anomaly in terms of the majority, but sometimes such distinction may be rather vague.

Regularity can be broken down when unit forms in one or more areas appear to be torn, cracked, fractured, or dissolved. This can be more effective if the structure is also disrupted.

[Wong, Wucius. Principals of Two-Dimensional Form. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1988.]

Anomaly within Structures
The regular structures are those of repetition, gradation, and radiation. Similarity structures are less regular, but still maintain a certain degree of regularity.

Anomaly within a regular structure occurs when structural subdivisions in one or more areas of the design change in shape, size, or direction, become dislocated, or fall into complete disorganization. This marks one further step towards informality, but the structure is still a formal one apart from the anomalous areas.

Obviously unit forms are contained in structures of this nature. In areas where structural anomaly occurs, unit forms can be affected in one or more of the following ways:

a) Their visual elements remain unaffected, but they may be forced to shift in position or direction, possibly crossing over adjacent structural subdivisions or unit forms.

b) Their visual elements remain unaffected, but the anomalous structural lines, being active in this case, may trim off portions of the unit forms which are not totally confined within their respective subdivisions.

c) They may be distorted as the subdivisions are distorted, but their relationship with the subdivisions remains consistent.

d) They may become anomalous while maintaining a kind of regularity among themselves.

e) They may become anomalous variously.

Structural anomaly can attract attention when it happens quite noticeably within a restricted area. Even if all the visual elements of the unit forms stay unchanged, structural anomaly stretches or squeezes space which easily draws the eye to focus on.

Monotony in plain regularity can be relieved with frequent occurrence of anomalous structural subdivisions distributed in an orderly way or casually all over the design. This causes interesting variations of blank space and positioning of unit forms, the shapes and/or sizes of which may or may not be affected.

The area or areas of anomaly may be just another kind of structural regularity different from the general discipline. Transformation of regularity can lead to exciting semi-formal compositions.

Breakdown in a regular structure means that discipline is completely destroyed in one or more areas of anomaly. Structural lines get entangled, subdivisions distorted or dislocated, or the structure partially disintegrates.

[Wong, Wucius. Principals of Two-Dimensional Form. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1988.]

Compositions with Anomaly
The combination of regular and irregular elements in a design establishes anomaly. Because regular elements are more numerous than irregular ones, anomaly also features contrasting quantities.

Anomaly can be introduced only in formal compositions with a repetition, radiation, or a gradation structure. The strict regularity of the composition makes a slight irregularity prominent.

Anomaly can be effected with the variation of shape, size, color, texture, position, or direction. An anomalous element usually marks the center of interest. Several anomalous elements can accentuate different aspects of the design.

Anomalous elements introduced too frequently lose their distinction as such and are seen as another set of unit forms.

[Wong, Wucius. Principals of Two-Dimensional Form. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1988.]

Anomaly in Shape
The presence of a form different in shape from the unit forms introduces an anomaly. The shape can be completely different, or have only external and/or internal variations .

Anomaly in Size
A particularly large or small form among unit forms of the same size introduces another type of anomaly. Fitting a large form into the composition might require the removal of some smaller unit forms.

Anomaly in Color
One unit form can be changed from a planar shape to a linear shape to introduce anomaly in "color" to a black-and-white design.

Anomaly in Texture
When one or more unit forms display texture or more details, anomaly in texture results.

Anomaly in Position and Direction
One or more unit forms can be dislocated in a composition, achieving anomaly in position and/or direction.

[Wong, Wucius. Principals of Two-Dimensional Form. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1988.]

R  E  F  E  R  E  N  C  E  S 
Anomaly n [1603] 1: the angular distance of a planet from its perihelion as seen from the sun 2: deviation from the common rule: Irregularity 3: something different, abnormal, peculiar, or not easily cleassifid

[Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition. Springfield, MA, USA: Merriam-Webster, Inc. 1995.]



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