The meaning of three in design

2020 Oct 20th

The meaning of three in design

Is there power in numbers? The number three is not the sum of one and two. It is the design.

For thousands of years, society has used witty proverbs to:

  1. share knowledge
  2. teach learning about universal truths
  3. spread wisdom

The original meaning of a known proverb, which originated in 17-century Japan, has come to mean something completely unintended. The intended meaning of the phrase "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" was to remind society to be of good mind, speech and action. Today we have come to know this proverb to mean, to turn a blind eye to something that is illegal or wrong.

The power of thirds works across all mediums, in any size and all compositions. We ourselves are composed of a body, soul and spirit. Our time is divided into three: past, present and future. The simple fact of our existence is divided into three: our birth, our life and our death.

How to use symbols of three

Three is the first number that forms a geometrical figure, the triangle. All colours can be formed from three primary colours: blue, yellow and red. We use hot, warm or cold to describe temperature, and gold, silver and bronze as awards to winners.

Every set of three is complete. Throughout the ages, artists have used the magic of three. The rules of three are design principles that dictate an object's layout, size and shape in every room. When you pick any design element within your home you choose, a colour, pattern and material.

The "rule of odds" suggests that creating a group with three objects is more aesthetically pleasing than a single pair. People find clustering objects by odds more appealing because it creates balance. By placing an item on either side of an object creates a focal point for our eyes to centre on. From a visual standpoint grouping in odds creates the illusion of balance for our minds.

When you are designing a space remember this. In every book, story and life there is always a beginning, middle and end. But there are endless possibilities in everything in between. Using the "rule of odds" is just one way to find balance, display your creative eye and share your journey.