Inspired by my colleague Joerg’s retrospection, I decided to take a peek back at some of my own ‘visual history.’ I found clear evidence of a long-standing love of and affinity for circles activated by, and connected with elements of line and plane.

Take, for example, these spreads from some of my first forays into (self-conscious) graphic design: editorial layouts for student publications, circa 1998. A motif is established; an aesthetic proclivity begins:

A year later, working on another publication, the circle as dynamic element reappears:

The women’s heads in the photograph (one of my first and only forays into photojournalism) act as a dynamic triad of circles:

In this last example, I’ve subconsciously integrated a dominant circle into the layout through photography (and yes, these photographs are of my own making):

As I stared down graduation and entry into the ‘real world,’ my use of circles grew more rigid, less free:

Fast forward eleven years. I’m still in love with circles; albeit more openly and consciously. Consider my earlier post about my ‘personal brand,’ or my post ‘For the Band‘:

Certainly—as my clients can attest—my design exploration regularly moves beyond the approaches and tendencies identified here. That said, it’s important to have the capacity to be self-reflexive, to embrace natural proclivities, and to control them in the service of clients and their communications. For designers striving to harness the basic, universal principles of design in infinite contexts, ‘aesthetic self-knowlege’ is critical.