Simplicity through chaos.


Ex Nihilo is an ongoing research study and visual essay that examines the parallels between existential nihilism and graphic design in an effort to establish more meaningful and fulfilling creative work. You can read the digital version of the first phase here.


Each chapter of the essay focuses on a different aspect of existential nihilist philosophy and how it can inform fundamental design principles (e.g. Jean-Paul Sartre’s theory of being and nothingness as a conceptual basis for utilizing negative space with effective consideration). 
In the printed version of the essay, each section is spread across individual cards which contain their own respective illustration on the front, with a new paragraph of the essay on the reverse side for context. These are intended to be read in chronological order, but have been arranged separately to ensure the essay remains accessible and easily digested by readers, even if read out of order.
Each accompanying illustration is an abstract representation of the written words. Across the printed essay, they establish a visual narrative that begins as an arrangement of organic, inky patterns before gradually evolving into more refined and geometric compositions. This mirrors the essay’s trajectory of establishing the theories before defining them across examples and analyses of  works by a variety of leading designers.
© Sombra 2019