For a period of time, I once studied relational database design. It is a fascinating field and I learned many things about my own chosen field of design. Relational database design is based on the premise of “one-to-one” and “one-to-many”.

We need this relational data premise to enjoy our modern day life of the Internet of Things. But we can take that concept further as we look into our understanding of the roles in our life—our real relationships.

We are sons, daughters, friends, siblings, workers, managers, teachers, etc… When issues happen in our relationships, we have to look into how that relationship is structured. As an example, a parent of many children has a one-to-many relationship. But, a child to a parent, is a one-to-one relationship. A teacher to students is one-to-many. But a student to a teacher is a one-to-one relationship. In order for total harmony to occur, the aspects and rules of the relationship (link) have to be followed. One piece of data affects other piece or pieces of data.

When we understand that our link to another person may not be the same the other way, we tend to understand behaviors a bit more. We are social creatures and we need those connections, whether it’s real or artifical. Those connections and links are important to our survival. But how we affect those links is determined by our understanding of said relationship.

Be mindful of your relational design in your own life.


Visual Hierarchy (cont.)

Hierarchy is thought of as a natural order of things, which makes for a nice visual relationship. Design and life is merely this same natural order. As a relationship, we can look further into these connections between 1st read, 2nd read, and 3rd read, etc… 1st read can be thought of as a parent to the 2nd read, the child, and 2nd read is the parent to the 3rd read. Further, 2nd read is dependent on the 1st, 3rd is dependent on the 2nd, etc…

Our lives are a reflection of this—a parent-child relationship. We are dependent on a representative parent and a representative child is dependent on us. As a child in the relationship, it’s your choice to honor and respect the parent. As a parent, you have no choice but to honor and respect the child. Thus, we have choices in one direction (child to parent), but no choice in the other (parent to child).

If we think of design in terms of relationships. We can easily control the viewers eyes. But, we can’t be afraid to determine what component is the parent and what is the child. Be bold in your choices and put your components in their roles.

In our lives, we have our roles that we must honor. If we forget our roles, relationships break down, families break down, and organizations and society breaks down—a confusing world. Design is the same way, if hierarchy breaks down, we have something confusing.




In the world of design and typography, kerning is the concept of spacing to achieve a harmonious relationship between letterforms. In the real world of relationships, we try to achieve the same harmonious relationships with other people.

With typography, designers can see the visual painfulness that happens when words aren’t properly kerned. As a designer, I can see a world of difference by moving letterforms slightly towards or away from it’s neighboring letterform.

I wonder if this holds true with our own personal relationships. Are their people in our lives who need to be either pulled closer or pushed away in order to create harmony? As we change and grow, our needs will change and our relationships change. If we kern one relationship, that will affect the spacing with other relationships. It’s this wonderful interplay that happens in order to create harmony and energy.

We should consciously be aware of our own relationship kerning. Do we need to be closer or further away to achieve harmony in our lives? It’s an interesting thought and further shows our interconnected lives.