When my oldest nephew saw Star Wars (A new hope) for the first time he was totally fascinated by the evil Darth Vader. Being always curious about mysterious, dark and forbidden things I wondered why this is, where this comes from and if there are rules behind it. Rules that we as designers and creatives could use (for good things of course). For my final thesis at university I decided to explore evil and put my findings into a book: "Off the right path – Oneway to evil and no return".
The book is written as a journey to the land of evil based on the rules of a classic antique drama. In 13 chapters, the reader travels alongside the seven deadly sins until the unavoidable end, the apocalypse. During the journey we discover the different aspects of evil and the way it has an influence on us. A yellow barrier band – which we normally see when crime scenes happen – serves as a guidance and red thread. The twisted logic behind it: everything that is forbidden, everything where we are not allowed to go, we should definitely go and see.
To write and design the book I used certain evil principles, such as the principle of duality. One aspect of evil and good is that they need each other. Without the existence of the opposite evil good cannot be defined and vice versa. Meaning that evil also always causes good. And that although some things seem pretty obvious in reality they are not. Deception is also one leitmotif which the book is playing by using it in different content layers and story streams. From a design systems point of view, evil symbolism played a big role and influenced the design of the book. I used numbers with bad reputation such as 13 and 666 as base metrics, which are reflected in the chapters, book format, grid and typography.
Retrospectively the book proofed that evil can indeed spark creativity. "Vom rechten Pfad" was awarded multiple design awards, such as a Judges Choice from the Type Directors Club, a Red Dot Design Best of the best Award, a Distinctive Merit by the Art Directors Club. On top of this I was awarded the Talent of the Year Award by the Art Directors Club of Germany.
Writing & Design: Duc Nguyen
University: FH Wiesbaden
Supervisor: Prof. Holger Schmidhuber