habit crit process

Habits of Compositional Problem Solving [DOT thumbnail team process crit] (crit guide plus process crit guide for traditional gestalt dot project.)

dot thumbnails

Learning to recognize, observe, deconstructing one’s own assumptions, habits and chunking is critical to successful use of the creative process and outcome. The focus of using the gestalt dot comp project, in addition to gestation concepts, is to introduce thumbnail brainstorming, compositional problem solving habits, and crit methods which in this case focuss on thumbnail compositional solution habits and not quality of work.

  1. Scale
  2. Distances
  3. Relational shifts of scale, distance, placement and/or density
  4. Density
  5. Placement (within page)/Balance
  6. Positive to Negative Space


Spread out all thumbnail compositions [comps] on your desk. Your table team will spend 5-7 minutes analyzing your thumbnails and NOTING your habits/patterns of problem solving for the entire set of compositions.

habit crit

TAKE NOTES in your VJ while your work is being crit. You will participate in the analysis of the rest of your team members. But will not talk while they analyze your habits

Typical habits (sense of sameness) in the solutions to look for are: dot size, dot degree of scale shifts, placement relative to the page/square (centered, off center), distances between dots, distances from edges, density of dots, amount of negative (white) to white space in composition.

Common solution habits involve similarities:

  1. Scale
  2. Distances
  3. Relational shifts of scale, distance, placement and/or density
  4. Density
  5. Placement (within page)/Balance
  6. Positive to Negative Space

You will discover you have compositional habits as well as work/process habits that should be paid attention to and pushed/stretched throughout the semester. Watch for them, pay attention to them, learned to use them and to move beyond them for problem solving (works for life practices as well). human dot comp

You are to record in your journal the team’s analysis of your work and apparent solution habits. PLUS five things you learned while other people were being crit or during today’s large group discussion.

HW Write up a review using complete sentences of what you learned from your and your peers’ crits. Be sure to address each of the following, scale, distance, relational shifts, density, placement and describe give specific examples in VJ even if your team did not discuss each. Complete before next surface studio.

Create 2-3 new/revise thumbnail solutions for each concept (total 6 to 9) that break your habits and/or are inspired by what you learned from other peoples solutions.

For communicating MEANING (gestalt) if adjustment is needed based on more thorough understanding via team discussion, make several revisions (new thumbnails).


Add your additional thumbnails to your original set of 30. ReSORT into the three categories not by what you intended but by how they appear now—proximity, similarity, and continuance. NARROW down to top TEN most interesting, unique, and clear for each of the concepts—proximity, similarity, and continuance. Then narrow down again to strongest 5 solutions for each category (conceptually and visually) for a total of 15 compositions.

Render with sharpies (SOLID DOTS; no outlines) the top five strongest (conceptually and visually) compositions for EACH principle as 5 x 5 BW compositions.

dot compsSTRATEGY

  1. Cut out 15 – 5 x 5 inch SQUAREs from smooth Bristol or white cardstock.
  2. Scale up from thumbnail, tweak design, and replicate your 15 chosen thumbnails on to the 5 x 5 squares.
  3. Within each square, using, a fine tip black pen, draw 3-6 precise circles with a circle template or compass. Carefully fill in circles completely with black sharpie.
  4. Remember you are composing these circle forms to express the following gestalt principles: Continuance, Proximity, and Similarity.
  5. CRAFTSMANSHIP matters!
  6. Label each composition lightly with pencil on back with concept and your name. After you have completed these 15 compositions, carefully evaluate each and determine which ones are the most successful. Do any need to be revised? Make it happen.These 15 comps will be critiqued first thing next surface studio.

Complete 15 comps before next surface studio, ____________, and write up your habit critique feedback and response as well.



dot concept crit guide—proximity, continuance, similarity Crittee—Takes notes in VJ and listen carefully; pay attention to others perceptions.

  1. Can you see their viewpoint? Is it stronger than your initial intent?
  2. What could be adjusted to strengthen either your intent or teams perception?
  3. Are you surprised? How so? Not surprised? Why not?
  4. For final three selected by team, agree or disagree with each selection and explain why?
  5. Be VERY specific. How could even these be strengthened? TEST IT?
  6. If yes, make this refinement for final ones.
  7. Address all questions in crit write up.



  1. Quickly SORT as a team into categories based on 3 dominating principle.Team may also need to “don’t know pile.”
  2. One category at a time, analyze for meaning; eliminate the weakest — flipover and set to side away from rest; continue process of elimination down to best (strongest meaning + interesting/novel visual solution) TWO for each category.
  3. Select final 3—Be sure the final set shows varied/distinct solutions. Lay them out together (couple inches between each; not touching). Are they too much the same or do they show good variety? How interesting are they as a set? Using tracing paper over each (3) quickly note suggestions for refine to strengthen composition and/or concept.

Crittee follow up

  1. Tape original team selected three solutions in VJ (or Xerox copy).
  2. Put crit write up below comps.
  3. Based on crit determine any items still needing to be resolved/refinedand update. Test changes (render them). If yes, go with refined solution.
  4. You may make an executive decision to substitute ONE totally differentcomp than the team chose, BUT for that one you must include tape copy of team–selected comp next to one you select AND give a written justification as to why you have chosen to switch out that comp.
  5. Execute top three pristine BW on 5×5 INKJET MATTE PHOTO PAPER. Mount each 5×5 on 9×9 black construction paper with 5×5 perfectly centered.


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