The importance of applying Fractal Principles to Compositional Strategies for the Static and Moving Image

Daniel Della-Bosca and Dr Dale Patterson
2014 Conference

While there is evidence in art and design of the application of fractal principles or tenets (e.g., self-similarity, recursion and iteration), their use is usually reserved for critique after the work has been produced. By contrast, this paper proposes that the tenets of fractal form be explored at the stages of compositional development, both as a proportional principle and as a strategy for applying random dynamics. This paper is informed by prior participant studies that evaluate viewers’ psychological responses to fractal images to build methods for using fractal proportion and dynamics in composition. From an educational perspective, the argued imperatives are for a set of design principles in terms of the aesthetics of fractals and their relationships to image and audience. This is to be informed and supported by ongoing studies in the fields of mathematics and neuropsychology. The growing interdisciplinary activity that seeks to understand and apply fractals in aesthetic terms leads to the important discussion of fractals in design education. This paper proposes that fractal principles be instated as part of the grammar of design for education.

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About the author

Daniel Della-Bosca is a lecturer in digital media at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. A designer and artist, he has worked and exhibited nationally and internationally, and is committed to the advancement of art and design education. Daniel’s primary research focus is the application of fractal mathematics to the field of aesthetics, and his specific skillsets are the interdisciplinary bridges between art, design, CAD software and algorithmic generation of image and form.


Dr Dale Patterson is a computer scientist and lecturer in Digital Design at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. Dale has worked in the field of computer science both commercially and in education (focussing on 3D computer graphics and its applications). His primary areas of research include human computer interface design, 3D computer animation, visual effects and games. Dale also has strong research interests in computing as applied in bio-medical applications (e.g., scientific visualisation, artificial intelligence).