About Equal and Opposite

Sometime in 2009, sick in bed, hovering eight floors above Mexico City in a rusting building, I laid awake thinking about Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion—the one that states: actioni contrariam semper et æqualem esse reactionem, or, you feed me a bad taco, I will spend the night in the bathroom.

It’s not out of the ordinary for me to be thinking about Newton’s 3rd in the wee small hours of the night. Actions and reactions are a pretty frequent topic for my late night ruminations. For every action there lies an equal and opposite reaction. What comes around goes around. You reap what you sow… these are ideas which share a common seed, and I find myself thinking about that seed often, both as scientific law and as philosophical concept; however, on this occasion, being a professional graphic designer, I was busy thinking of ways I could best represent these tenets of wisdom visually.

The next morning, I crawled out of bed and cut a stencil of a fig newton with a big number 3 on it.

The Equal and Opposite design project maybe wasn’t conceived that morning, but the first physical actions of making it happen started then and there. Its original purpose was of exploring Newton’s Third from a design standpoint—common actions and reactions, as well as hidden actions and reactions, on a macrocosmic and microcosmic level. It involved lots of stencils, spray paint, and paste made from wheat and water and boiled on a stove in an old factory in Colonia Doctores. Later it became a good excuse for me to design a whole bunch of things in yellow and black. Now I use Equal and Opposite as the umbrella for pretty much all of my design work, both personal to professional.


About Grey Jay

Grey Jay is a level 30 Graphic Designer-errant with +5 saving throw versus rain and -2 against grass pollen. He has an ongoing love affair with vintage design aesthetics, minimalism, typography, utilitarian ephemera, spraypaint, stencils, wheat-paste, and semi-antiquated methodologies.

What the hell is a Designer-errant?

As mentioned elsewhere, Grey is a “Designer-errant.” What’s a designer-errant, you may ask? It’s kind of like Heracles, but in a graphic design context. He travels around, from place to place, picking up freelance design jobs, overcoming trials and tribulations, his laptop at his side, working from wherever he can find an internet connection... maybe that's less like Heracles and more like a hobo. Grey Jay: Graphic Design-hobo? Sure, why not.

Does that mean Grey sometimes works from a taqueria in Mexico City?


Does that mean Grey could be working from a coffee shop in Berlin this very second?


Does that mean Grey works from the beach in Thailand?!

No. Sand is bad for laptops.

Does that mean Grey may work from your house?

That depends, do you have a mostly-non-dirty couch?

With all his global exploring, does Grey ever have face-to-face meetings with his clients?

All the time. But if not available for meetings in person, Skype does the trick.

How's his skill with a hobo-knife?

Probably the best in the world.

TL;DR: Designer-errant is just a fancier (and more succinct) way of saying Freelance Designer-Who-Works-While-They-Travel-Picking-Up-Jobs-Wherever-The-Wind-Has-Blown-Them.

Track his life by following him on Twitter.

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