DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
http://www.uvm.edu/~jpetrill/
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Information
and Culture
Engaging the
senses
Dependency on the
visual sense
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual expression
Style
Purpose
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
How do we ‘read’ this entranceway?
What do we pay attention to?
•
What is information?
•
How do we communicate?
•
Why is visual information so effective in communication?
•
What are the guidelines for effective design of visual communication?
•
What are cultural influences on communication design?
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
Perception of information by the senses and mind
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
source - encoder - channel - decoder - receiver
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
The same information can be expressed in different ways: a voice, a letter.
Unlike matter, information can be in many places at once.
A handshake is information. A nod. A look. A sigh.
Information is formed by rubbing two bit-streams together.
Information dwells in bit-streams, on paper, on stone, in a gesture.
Information craves a medium, a shard of tumbling time-space to dwell upon.
Exerpt from:
THE NATURE OF INFORMATION
Edward M. Housman
The MITRE Corporation, 1999
http://valinor.ca/thepoem.html
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
http://www.imageandmeaning.org/
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
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DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Communicating effectively in the visual age
Visual communication is everywhere today, from electronic media like Web pages and television
screens to environmental contexts such as road signs and retail displays.
As the National Education Association has pointed out,
”Western civilization has become more
dependent than ever on visual culture, visual
artifacts, and visual communication as a mode
of discourse and a means of developing a
social and cultural identity.” 1
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DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
The connection between seeing and remembering
Why do people remember what they see so much more readily than what they
hear?
One recent article on the subject describes the evidently limitless capacity of longterm memory to store concepts and then points to studies that seem to indicate that :
Pictures have a direct route to long-term memory, each image
storing its own information as a coherent ‘chunk’ or concept.”5
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
Studies show that people remember:
10% of what they hear
20% of what they read
80% of what they see and do
Visual Versus Verbal Communication
Recent research regarding how the brain
operates reveals that visual communication
reaches the brain first and influences how
people interpret verbal communication.
It is visual communication that “sets up our
cognitive thinking, skewing it automatically
toward a particular response,” reports a study
by Ann Marie Barry of Boston University.
The report notes that verbal communication is
slower and reinforces the cognitions
established visually. Furthermore, visual
communication is closely associated with
emotions and has a more powerful effect
on human behavior than verbal
communication and its rational
associations.
The rational is ineffective when “high social or
ego involvement is the prime motivating
factor.” Words are “more experientially remote
and less directly emotionally involving,” than
images, Barry wrote.
Q
Q
A picture is worth a thousand words, or so the
saying goes. Pictures are indeed superior for
conveying intuitive or global information.
By contrast, they do a poor job of
expressing abstract concepts and lack the
accuracy that words are endowed with.
Words, in a sense, are worth a thousand
pictures. The choice between words and
pictures, as any choice in professional
communication, depends on the purpose:
usually, a combination of both is most
appropriate.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Visual information - visual choices determined by purpose
http://discovery.wcgmf.org/category_211.html
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Mayberry Lane
Organic Produce
Come pick your own!
Open 9-6 weekdays
Mayberry Lane Road
Plainfield, VT
802-999-5555
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Mayberry Lane
• Organic Produce •
Come pick your own!
Open 9-6 weekdays
Mayberry Lane Road
Plainfield, VT
802-999-5555
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
How does a change in the
way the letters appear
alter the way you interpret
the information?
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
How does the image add information or influence the message?
Mayberry
Lane
Mayberry Lane
Mayberry Lane
• Organic Produce •
• Organic Produce •
Come pick your own!
Open 9-6 weekdays
Mayberry Lane Road
Plainfield, VT
802-999-5555
Come pick your own!
Open 9-6 weekdays
Mayberry Lane Road
Plainfield, VT
802-999-5555
• Organic Produce •
Come pick your own!
Open 9-6 weekdays
Mayberry Lane Road
Plainfield, VT
802-999-5555
Take five minutes to write down which of these ads you think would be
successful, and why. Put your name on the paper. You will hand this in at the
end of class today. This is how I will take attendance for most classes.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Which ad holds your interest? Which image would you remember?
How does the image influence how you receive and respond to the intended message?
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
A survey showed the one on the left had more lasting impact.
We may pay more attention to imagery that is:
1. easy to read and comprehend
2. is relevant or engaging to us in some way
3. has some emotional impact.
Q
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Advocating against animal
entertainment of this type…
Strong image, bold compositional
arrangement, strong and plain
wording/lettering style.
http://www.api4animals.org/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=18&products_id=59
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
How does the image add information or influence the message?
Mayberry
Lane
Mayberry Lane
Mayberry Lane
• Organic Produce •
• Organic Produce •
Come pick your own!
Open 9-6 weekdays
Mayberry Lane Road
Plainfield, VT
802-999-5555
Come pick your own!
Open 9-6 weekdays
Mayberry Lane Road
Plainfield, VT
802-999-5555
• Organic Produce •
Come pick your own!
Open 9-6 weekdays
Mayberry Lane Road
Plainfield, VT
802-999-5555
Take five minutes to write down which of these ads you think would be
successful, and why. Put your name on the paper. You will hand this in at the
end of class today. This is how I will take attendance for most classes.
Lecture Response - a very brief summary! MANY good points were made…
A large number of students felt the first image on the left was effective, connected well to the idea
of health and fun, and especially appealing to families or parents.
The next largest group thought the photograph of the farm was more effective as it provided a
direct reference to the location.
Mayberry
Lane
Mayberry Lane
Mayberry Lane
• Organic Produce •
• Organic Produce •
Come pick your own!
Open 9-6 weekdays
Mayberry Lane Road
Plainfield, VT
802-999-5555
Come pick your own!
Open 9-6 weekdays
Mayberry Lane Road
Plainfield, VT
802-999-5555
• Organic Produce •
Come pick your own!
Open 9-6 weekdays
Mayberry Lane Road
Plainfield, VT
802-999-5555
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Most of the class felt the emotional impact of the
design/image on the left was compelling. The image in
the piece on the right was seen as positive and direct the person is looking right at the viewer.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication is a process of sending
and receiving messages using images.
Visual literacy can be defined as the “ability to
construct meaning from visual images”.
- a set of skills used to interpret the content,
social impact, purpose and audience.
- judging the accuracy, validity and worth of
images.
- influenced by the experiences of each
individual.
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Think of all the visual
messages you have
experienced – and what is
your repertoire of
memories… what do you
remember and why?
You attached
meaningfulness to them your brain processed the
information and retained it
as being important to you.
Your brain processes
information
1.directly via sensory
experiences,
2.via your own mental activity
(imagination, etc…) and
3. via mediated imagery (print
or screen – tv, computer,
movies).
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Non verbal communication is learned early on and becomes part of the visual language we use everyday.
Some body languages, such as signing, are specialized systems used for particular audiences.
Facial expression and hands are used to signal a range of meanings.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
Aldous Huxley was an author keenly
aware of how one sees and
understands the world.
He wrote Brave New World – a
philosophical novel about the future.
He had a retinal disease from his
early years on. He was interested in
what seeing involved, especially in
relation to thinking and processing
information.
He felt the the visual process was a
cycle of sensing, selecting and
perceiving - in order to better know
the world and increase knowledge.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
SENSE
The first stage is sensing – using the
senses to detect signals from the
immediate environment.
SELECT
Selecting is the next stage – a conscious,
intellectual act where one chooses to pay
attention to something.
PERCEIVE
Perceiving is making sense of what is
selected – that is, make meaning.
This is an active process – not mere
observation, but intentional.
Consider the baseball
enthusiast - who sees,
or experiences, more of
the game than one who
has no idea what the
game involves.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
When we experience visual
information, we make comparisons
with previously stored mental
pictures or information.
Depending on the context, humans
pay close attention to information
that is entertaining, novel or
threatening.
We respond to visual information
because it is part of our survival
strategy as human beings.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
Cognition is the mental faculty or
process of acquiring knowledge by
the use of reasoning, intuition or
perception.
We recognize (re-cognize) images
because they have a form that triggers
an association stored in our brains – a
physical or emotional connection.
The information may be what is
unexpected, or new, within the image
that we will pay attention to.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Many of us depend a lot
on the information we
get from vision.
But sight is dependent
on light.
We refer to light
verbally as that which
provides information
as well as
illumination…
“let me shed some light
on the matter”
“don’t keep us in the
dark - tell us your news!”
In experiencing our world via light, we also assign meaning or significance
to the type of light during that experience.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Light in a design can add information that influences how we read what we see.
This film noir image is intended to
create a dramatic effect, enhanced
by the use of black and white
photography.
Light in a design can add information that influences how we experience the design.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
We can best perceive a design that is
well organized. A design that is
composed well has a structure that is
easily understood and experienced.
Designers call good form “Gestalt”.
This is a term that came from
German psychology in the 1900s.
It is our innate tendencies that see
as "belonging together" elements
that look alike (called "similarity
grouping"), are close together
("proximity grouping") or have
structural economy ("good
continuation").
Because the image is well organized, we can
‘fill in’ the missing information or do what is
called ‘closure’.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Because it has organized parts, we see and re-cognize the bike as a whole versus a series of parts.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
We read the visual cues, or parts of
the design, to understand the
purpose of the design.
If the composition is well organized,
it is easier to understand this.
This entrance may be easier to
understand and use.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
The earliest attempts to record and
send messages depended on making
pictures.
Oral culture also came before written
culture.
Storytellers passed on the lore of the
culture; the wealth of experience.
Speech itself is a kind of code, a way of
expressing perceived experience in
sounds that have conventional
meanings -
All the forerunners of writing were
based on pictures--what is called
"pictographic," or writing that is pictorial
in character.
Eventually, words came to be
expressed in conventional signs.
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
The symbols
used in visual
communication
are not a fixed
vocabulary.
The
conventions of
visual
communication
are a
combination of
universal and
culturally based
conventions.
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Being visually literate means working with a combination of syntax and semantics.
Syntax is the actual form or building blocks of an image - its structure and organization.
Semantics concern how meaning or content is created through:
form and structure, context, icons/symbols
Q
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
This is a two page ad from a popular, general magazine. Look at the visual characteristics and imagery.
DESIGN STRATEGY/analysis
WHAT ASSOCIATIONS ARE MADE?
Color
natural, earthy
blue sky is central—event will be like carefree
summers of the past
creates sense of nostalgia and excitement
warm, neutral tones feel rustic
yellow/orange is soothing, draws you in
“vintage” feel
using guitar color to flow into background color—
color bridges foreground and background
Texture
rugged
gritty
weathered makes you want to relax
old crumpled sheet music
shiny guitar against weather background is flashy,
exciting
Scrap book quality is soothing, idea of memories
to create,
Contrast
Guitar pops out
Lettering is bold, dark and soft
different variations on lighting in images
worn corners of images, soft curves of guitar and
hands
dark on left, lighter on right
large capital letters draw you in, must read.
Images
3 dimensional effect of layering
Images of times gone by
each symbolizes something: hands=friendship, ferris wheel=fun, etc.
all include people
busy-ness of advertisement reflects busy-ness of festivals—fun, loud, entertaining
content of images is important: biker, guitar, old time music
images are preview of event
Feelings:
family fun, relaxation
Excitement, ad feels like an invitation
Let’s consider one visual ‘symbol’:
An apple
Some content/cultural associations:
Healthy
Education - teacher
Evil - the witchs gift
Adam and Eve
Computers
Write a response to the following (to hand in today).
Please make sure your full name is written clearly.
How is the imagery used in this book cover?
Consider:
type of apple
visual qualities
size
color
position/composition
details
lettering styles
What is the theme or message carried by the
combination of imagery (words and image)?
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
There are many types of imagery to use, each with its own potential to carry information.
Lettering/wording Photographs Drawings/illustrations Symbols Charts, maps or graphs Cartoons
http://www.beehivecollective.org/english/front.htm
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Some images become
well known due to the
type of image or
subject matter.
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
The Scream
by Edvard Munch
They are used in a
range of
communication to
enhance the response
to the message.
In recent years, The
Scream has joined
The Mona Lisa
painting as one of art
history’s most
reproduced icons.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
A new ad campaign launched by the owner of the
M&M's brand aims to make eating dark chocolate
a scream.
M&M's offered 2 million dark chocolate M&M's for
the return of "The Scream," a painting by Edvard
Munch that was stolen from the Munch Museum
in Oslo, Norway, in 2004.
The campaign accompanies the permanent
addition of dark chocolate candies to the M&M's
product line, which was announced earlier this
month.
The campaign aims to bring some fun into the
dark chocolate category, which is perceived to
be more serious, Masterfoods said.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Photographs are used a great deal in visual communication due to their potential.
After thousands of years of seeing the world around them depicted only through paintings, drawings, and sculptures,
humans were amazed by the ability of the first photographs to represent objects or people with the most intricate
detail and realism.
The best-known early use of photography in war was
by Mathew Brady and others in the American Civil
War.
Before the invention of photography, war could be
thought of as a romantic adventure.
But photographs of the brutality of war made people
aware of its reality, so much so that photographs and
newsreels were mostly banned from World War I
because the political and military leaders knew that
allowing the war to be seen might lead to loss of
support for their war efforts.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
Different types of media are used to communicate - print, radio, TV, film and more. Each medium can influence how
information is presented and received.
Television has been a huge influence on technological and cultural innovations leading toward a visual culture, as well
as providing a collective experience. The emphasis on two major senses, sight and sound, creates an engaging format.
.
TV can bring the outer world -- news, entertainment, sports, travelogues, movies-- into our immediate space.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
The importance of TV as a source of visual information became evident in the presidential election of 1960, with the
televised debates between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
Most people who heard these debates on the radio (verbal culture) thought Nixon had won.
But Kennedy looked better than Nixon on TV, and looking better meant that, by the standards of visual
communication, he had won the TV interchange with Nixon.
Now TV coverage or exposure began to be the criterion of existence and value.
Visual presence in this media carries great significance, so it is a primary form of communication for politicians.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
But all use of imagery, especially photographs, leads to questions of ethics and responsibility,
as well as copyright issues - particularly on computers.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
Q
Computers were invented as early as
the mid 1940s, but came to full
prominence with the development of
the digital personal computer in the
1970s and '80s.
The computer uses a screen, and in
that it is like television.
However, it is interactive as well, which
provides new opportunities for
engagement with information.
Since imagery can be highly
manipulated and shared globally, there
are ethical issues that must be
addressed.
The Internet is highly visual
environment that requires literacy and
word skill for productive use.
DESIGN STRATEGIES in a visual culture
Visual Communication: Images with Messages
sensing, selecting and perceiving
An effective designer understands what to choose and
assemble with this process in mind, in order to make
messages that an audience reads, comprehends and
responds to successfully.
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