Contrast or harmony?

Here’s a collection of images that can be viewed in the context of contrast or harmony.

Not everyone will agree on which of these images could be categorised as contrast or as harmony (or both), and that’s the wonderful thing about imagery – it’s so individual. Most of us will perceive and interpret images based on our personal experiences, situation, mood or circumstances. Some of you will be analytical about your categorisation, most will react spontaneously and intuitively.

Look at these images and once you’ve made a choice, try to define what the elements are that helped you to decide if the image represents contrast or harmony, or if  (and how) it can be described as both.

Images are a good way to promote discussion in a learning environment. No one sees exactly in the same way – looking, re-acting and then analysing images allows us to ‘see’ through other people’s eyes and to learn about each other’s sense of perception. Initial reactions are a start, but when you take the time to think more deeply about what an image ‘says’ to you, a new level of understanding will emerge.

As an artist, the images I have chosen have an artistic appeal to me in relation to colour, space, design and form. As an educator, you could choose any range of images to promote specific discussion related to your area of expertise.

MARIMEKKO patterned hat spring

MARIMEKKO patterned hat spring 2013

Face design

Face design:

Boy and water

Boy and water lilies

Red and

Red and Paris


Super dad

Pink Orange Blue

Pink Orange Blue

Victor Vasarely

Victor Vasarely

Surma Man, Ethiopia

Surma Man, Ethiopia

George Harrison & Bob

George Harrison & Bob Dylan

Black and

Black and White

Village WindowPhotos by Tony Kearney on Flickr

Village Window
Photos by Tony Kearney on Flickr


Twigs Sculpture


Spiral stairway


Organic highway


People and their

People and their shadows



Bror Johansson




prickly pear frozen

prickly pear frozen margarita

Turkish artist Mehmet Ali

Turkish artist Mehmet Ali Uysal

a moment. a

a moment. a shift

Jonathan Delafield Cook ’s drawing “Bird’s Nest, 1998”

Jonathan Delafield Cook ’s drawing “Bird’s Nest, 1998”


Orange Blue

Explosion of

Explosion of colors

White Center.  Mark Rothko

White Center. Mark Rothko

The forms are similar, the patterns contrast, by Kelly Jean

The forms are similar, the patterns contrast, by Kelly Jean Ohl


White Birch

San Josemaría Escrivá Church by Javier Sordo Madaleno Bringas

San Josemaría Escrivá Church by Javier Sordo Madaleno Bringas


Purple yellow

H. Palleiko Designsfrom Flickr

H. Palleiko Designs
from Flickr


Botrylloides magnicoecum


Giuseppe Guadagno

Contrast or

Contrast or harmony


all images via


Beautiful grids

” Once a grid is invented it may bend, crumble or shatter, but its organising principle never disappears” Hannah, H Higgins, The Grid Book.

The grid creates an underlying structure that is used in art, graphic design, structural design, architectural design, typography, packaging, websites, maps and databases. Grids are all around us; they can be organic, man-made, natural, distorted, 2D, 3D, simple and complex. Some designers now see the grid as a conservative organisational principle, however the beauty that emanates from its use cannot be denied.

By thinking creatively, educators can build many different learning experiences using the grid as a theme.

Here are a few images to illustrate the diversity, complexity and beauty that can be evoked from grids.

Victor Vasarely

Varvara Stepanova-1920s

Varvara Stepanova-1920s

Tom Davie | Grid Posters

Tommaso Sartori

Winter Sinking Strokes: Modern architecture of Tokyo

by safa pirshiri

Light of Hope, Sheykh Lotf Allah Mosque
by safa pirshiri



pineapple skin

Pineapple skin

Mosque of Herat, Afghanistan

Morrocan Trade Bank by Norman Foster

detail from ceiling of the main mosque in Rajah Bazaar

Detail from ceiling of the main mosque in Rajah Bazaar

UK-based studio random international

Interactive light installation
UK-based studio, Random International

Indian hand-drawn patterns


#floorstract #deco #interiors

University of Oxford HAWKINS\BROWN

University of Oxford HAWKINS\BROWN


Badshahi Mosque – Lahore – Pakistan

Winter Sinking Strokes: Modern architecture of Tokyo #architecture


Alexander ceramic tile │Giles Miller Studio

Al-Rifa’i Mosque Window

Aerial views of the Dutch landscape by Gerco de Ruijter.



Safavieh rugs paro

Safavieh rugs paro grid

All above images via