Authors: Audrey Bennett
Addresses: Department of Language, Literature, and Communication Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute New York USA
Abstract: This article serves several purposes. First, it posits that math is a source for the long sought after black cultural aesthetic  for graphic design. Second, it brings to designers research that has revealed the historical existence of advance mathematical principles in indigenous African art, architecture, and culture. Third, it recommends to African-American graphic design students the cultural artifacts of ethnomathematics as alternative sources for creative inspiration by showing how geometry (a relatively new discipline in western society) has been embedded historically in indigenous Africa. Fourth, it reports and analyzes empirical data from a test done on the design potential of the Cornrow Curves and Mangbetu Design software programs to generate mathematical visual patterns that are useful within the discipline of graphic design. Finally, it discusses the relevance of fractal geometry  to the visual semantics of the graphic designer’s grid-based canvas—a printed or electronic page or composition in which text and graphics are strategically positioned so that a diverse audience can access it for information and/or an aesthetic or cultural experience.
Keywords: black aesthetic, fractal geometry, graphic design, ethnomath, ethnomathematics, cultural design, cultural aesthetics, fractals
Journal of Design Research, 2003 Vol.3 No.2, pp.61 - 70
Available online: 04 Jun 2005 *Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article