The Paradox of Life

This is my final major project which was designed in my final year of study. This posterzine was designed to highlight the power of thinking with paradoxes and to encourage designers to utilise paradoxes in order to solve problems. This project also displays the usefulness and beauty of paradoxical interventions and create a feeling of enlightenment to the larger audience of designers which will prompt them to think in a more optimistic and profound way.

This project was extremely interesting to research and design. At the research stages, I discovered the fascinating question that American Psychologist Barry Schwartz posed in his TED Talk; “What is the paradox of choice?”. He explained that initially people think that maximising freedom will maximise choice and believes that adding options increases expectations. Schwartz also talks about how the paradox of choice causes depression as there are overwhelming alternatives and choices in this world creating higher amounts of stress. This then triggered a thought of how high expectations, due to extensive choice, create a misunderstanding between needs and wants.

Further reading into psychology studies and materials, I found that the phrase ‘Paradoxical Intervention’ was an interesting process which I felt could be applied to many problems that occur in daily life. The problem I solved was “Do paradoxes create a better state of mind, a happier life, and a standard of living?”, which resulted with the answer yes.

A book called ’12 Paradoxes of Graphic Design’ published by designer Adrian Shaughnessy, gave me excitement to create an editorial piece on the more wholesome meaning of paradoxes which will provide insights that cross many other disciplines beyond the design industry. This book influenced the objective of my project: to deliver the message that paradoxes are useful and create more profound perspectives to resolving problems, which resulted with naming my project ‘The Paradox of Life’.

The posterzine is A3 size with the posters perforated in order to tear out and display. The ‘tear out’ element allows the punchy, emphatic quotes designed on the posters to be displayed in a studio, personal space, or shared out between designers. The consistent theme of the posterzine is relatable paradoxical quotes about subjects like relationships, technology, politics and psychology, depending on how you perceive the quotations.