My favorite museums are the ones where the informational text is stamped directly onto the walls, especially when the walls are white. It feels like the words are floating in the air in front of an empty space, and it makes the whole experience feel even more surreal.
Museums, to me, are indeed surreal: they’re these grand mansions that hold images and artifacts from all the world’s history. They’re like eternal, ever-growing time capsules, havens for art and beauty. Of course, it’s not all beautiful inside. Some works aren’t meant to bring joy; they’re sad and disturbing. But seeing the sadness and confusion and the chaos of human suffering in the context of this bigger room, mixed with images of beauty and love and all of history, allows us to step back and see Art as one big picture. And that picture is beautiful. In Walking on Water, Madeline L’Engle says that art is “cosmos in chaos,” that some artists see all the chaos in the world and only recreate chaos in their work. But the great artists see chaos and turn it into cosmos—something meaningful and True and as big as the world itself.
I believe that design is similar. It takes the chaos of unsolved problems and jumbled information and re-orders it into something feasible to all—something comprehensible across languages and ideologies. Beneath humanity’s diverse cultures and backgrounds, we all share certain archetypal beliefs and desires. Visual communication takes complexity and gives it a familiar order, allowing us to see past the barriers that separate us and to recognize those worldwide similarities. Great design is universal. It’s cosmos. It’s art.