exercise three: group taste (milka, sarah, dallas, braden, k, carson)

January 25, 2010


One thing to remember about working with highlighting would be that less is more. When highlighting is used sparingly, it is in turn effective. It helps communicate a message that the highlighted text or image is important. Using many highlights will send the message that many things are important, and the more important things there are, the less important they seem.
Through means specific to text, highlights can appear in variations such as boldness, italics, underlining, and typeface. All four of these techniques bring out text visually, but italics compromise legibility, underlining will add noise to a composition, and typeface differentiation can make your composition appear separated and juvenile; it will not look unified.
Highlighting techniques with usability on both text and images are colour, inversing, and blinking. Colour is fairly self-explanatory: a colour contrast within a composition will draw attention to itself and cause the viewer to notice it, but in many cases, can look juvenile if it is not done subtly with other highlighting effects included. Inversing can be done by surrounding an image of piece of text with an area of the same colour, then flipping the colour of the text or image to its opposite, creating a large area of colour with details taken out: a much more bold approach. Blinking is also very common, just like one will see on an emergency vehicle, but is only effective when used sparingly as well. Without moderation, blinking just becomes annoying and distracting. Limiting the blinking effect to emergencies would be a wise decision.

Interference Effects:

There are two groups of interference effects, one being ‘interference effects of perception’, the other ‘interference effects of learning’. Under these two groups are four more specific effects: ‘Stroop’ and ‘Garner’ interferences which belong under the perception group, and ‘Proactive’ and ‘Retroactive’ interferences which fall under the learning group.
Stroop interference explains the phenomenon that occurs when reading the names of colors is done with greater difficulty if the text color for, example, the word ‘green’ is actually red. Similarly, Garner interference explains that it is harder to name shapes in two columns that for example have a triangle on one side with a square on the other than a single column of shapes. Interference effects of perception generally occur when there is a conflict between codes. Proactive interference is the effect of already existing knowledge hindering one’s ability to learn something new, such as a language. Certain grammatical rules may not be transferable, say. Retroactive interference is when new information becomes cluttered and unclear when mixed with information you already have stored. This is the case when learning new phone numbers. Interference effects of learning generally occur when the information is all presented in similar formats.

Law of Pragnanz:

When taking a look at the Gestalt principals of perception, the Law of Pragnanz happens to be essential when it comes to design. It is defined as everyday reality transformed into a very simple and basic form. Fewer rather than more elements is better especially if those elements are powerful and are easily read and understood by others. Also, by having a symmetrical composition as appose to an asymmetrical composition will make an image more manageable and less complex.
For example, the image Olympic symbol shows us a sequence of five solid circles rather than having more complicated shapes. Symmetrical, simple and regular is a better solution.
The reason for making all of these shapes much less complex and simple is not just for the image to look appealing, but it is also a way for people to remember the image better. With all of the principals of design taken into consideration, and when the Law of Pragnanz is followed through, the end result will be successful.

Exercise 3 – Sean, Greg, Nic, Ivan, Iva

January 23, 2010

Figure Group Relationship

“Elements are perceived as either figures (objects in space), or ground (the rest of the perceptual field).” This states that an object in space has no reference point for us to locate it in space. Whereas if it has a ground or other feature denoting a geological structure, it is possible to have something to gage it’s placement. Figure is defined by shape and structure. Ground elements are without shape and continue beyond the figures without a clear position in space. An example of a figure might be a set of letters in a logo or a picture of an animal. Whereas ground, might be a perspective of a field or landscape. It is the relation between these two elements that is called the Figure-ground relationship. You can test this yourself; Stand back from a door about 10 feet, cover up the top and bottom of a door with your hand so you can’t see the ground or the ceiling. Without this reference of the top and bottom of the door is, the field of vision it becomes considerably harder to find the door in space. If you can still see the top and bottom of the door on the floor your mind can better judge the distance.

Rubin’s dynamic black and white illustration is great physical representation of Figure Ground Relationship. When we first glance upon with this piece, our eyes are confused on which specific point to focus on. The contour and the shape within the picture lead our eyes to the vase in the center. While as our eyes follow the contour and shape of the vase, we realize it’s not the only subject matter within the picture. Our mind begins to recognize the profile of two faces that are created from the negative space of the vase. Our brain places more emphasis on the subject that contains the most contours and most interesting shape. By placing more dynamic contours, and more creative shape, we can make an object more appealing to the brain. The brain does this in order to distinguish the figure from the background. In most pieces, the figure is easy to spot out from the background and contains most of the emphasis in the picture. The background is suited to compliment the figure and create further emphasis. In this instance, it is much more difficult to distinguish the figure from the background because both elements have more balanced emphasis, and are essentially hidden within the picture.

Good Continuation

Good continuation, a part of gestalt theory that refers to graphic elements and their interaction with one another. This is an important aspect of design for multiple practices. Good communication refers to the arrangement of elements in order to create a unified outcome that is easy to understand. If we were to write this paragraph, but have no order or structure, you would not be able to read it. Good communication is making sure that things are unified and flow. It in a way guides the viewer and fills in the blanks blanks. Another simpler example would be this set of lines is positioned to allude that they form a complete square. When in reality, it’s a set of four lines strategically placed so the viewer makes that connection.


The Golden Arches are probally one of the most recognizizable symbols in the food industry. Once a segment is removed, we are still able to regonzie the symbol and physiologically add in the missing segment.


– http://www.andyrutledge.com/gestalt-principles-3.php

– http://www.bastoky.com/GoodContinue.htm

– Information provided by Jesse

Exercise #3 : Group Sight : Andrew / Angela / Christine / Felix / Rui

January 22, 2010


The Placement of elements such that edges line up along common rows or columns
  • This creates a sense of unity and cohesion, which contributes to the design’s overall aesthetic and perceived stability.
  • Alignment can also be a powerful means of leading a person through a design.
  • You can also align elements along diagonals, but the invisible aligning paths should be 30degrees or greater or else it will be too subtle and difficult to detect.
  • Also in spiral or circular alignments it may be necessary to augment or highlight the paths so that the alignment is perceptible
  • As with all elements there are exceptions, in the rare exception misalignment of elements may be allowed to attract attention or create tension.


Too many different alignments, not balanced



Grids maintain intricate alignments in order



Breaking alignment works when done with a purpose



Common fate

Elements that move in the same direction are perceived to be more related than elements that move in different directions or are stationary

  • If certain elements in the row move in one direction, and other elements move in the opposite direction, elements are grouped by their common motion and direction.
  • Perceived relatedness is strongest when the motion of elements occurs at the same time and velocity, and in the same direction.
  • a Gestalt principle of organization holding that aspects of perceptual field that move or function in a similar manner will be perceived as a unit
  • Common fate relationships usually refer to moving elements, they are also observed with static objects that flicker.
  • When moving elements within bounded regions, move the edges of the region in the same direction as the elements to achieve a figure relationship or in the opposite direction as the elements to achieve a ground relationship.



A tendency to perceive a set of individual elements as a single, recognizable pattern, rather than multiple, individual elements.
  • The tendency to perceive a single pattern is so strong that people will close gaps and fill in missing information to complete the pattern if necessary.
  • Closure is the strongest when simple recognizable patterns are located near one another and the designer uses transitional elements to create a closure effect.
  • The principle of closure allows designers to reduce complexity by using smaller number of elements to organize and communicate information.



Exercise 3 Group Smell, Spencer Bryant Longo

January 21, 2010

here is another example of a high signal to noise ratio

here is another example of a high signal to noise ratio

here is another example of a low signal to noise ratio

here is another example of a low signal to noise ratio

in this case each arrow is grouped into its own category to prevent confusion.

in this case each arrow is grouped into its own category to prevent confusion.

as a result of not grouping the symbols in this road sign a great deal of confusion is found when trying to determine what arrow goes where

as a result of not grouping the symbols in this road sign a great deal of confusion is found when trying to determine what arrow goes where

source: www.images.google.ca

Exercise 3:Group Smell: Signal-to-Noise Ratio, Uniform Connectedness

January 20, 2010

Signal-to-Noise Ratio

 In design, signal to noise ratio is the ratio of relevant to irrelevant information in a display.

-signal is the information being presented in a design.

-noise is the irreverent visual information, which reduces the clarity of signal information.

The higher the signal-to-noise ratio means the less irrelevant visual information is presented in the design.

It is desirable to achieve the highest possible signal-to-noise ratio.

In order to minimize noise, one must eliminate unnecessary elements, or minimize them to the degree possible without compromising function. Noise can be in the form of unnecessary graphics, lines, symbols, etc… .an example of reducing noise is eliminating heavy lines on a chart or graph, and replacing them with thinner lines. This minimizes the lines, but allows them to keep their function. The thin lines are less distracting.

Maximizing signal is caused by the simple and concise presentation of information.


This is a graph with low signal-to-noise ratio


This is the same graph, but with high signal-to-noise ratio.


This is another example of a graph with low signal-to-noise ratio.


Uniform Connectedness

Elements that are separate from each other are connected by uniform visual properties. This is referred to as Gestalt principles of design. It asserts that elements connected to one another by uniform visual properties are perceived as a single group or chunk, and are interpreted as being more related than elements that are not connected.

There are two ways to achieve uniform connectedness, they are:

Common regions: Elements are grouped into boxes. an example is this T.V. remot. specific buttons are grouped together in boxes to show that they are related to one another.



 Connecting lines: Explicit lines used to connect elements. An example are these groups of dots. the dots are separate from each other, but they have been connected with lines.thing-11

Exercise Three: Strategies for Conveying Information

January 18, 2010

Structure_MapsDiagram#FFF5C.pptYour Project One group has been assigned two or three examples of strategies derived from the Gestalt Laws of Pattern Perception that can be employed to convey information. The strategy assignments are as follows:

Group Sight: Alignment, Closure, Common Fate
Group Touch: Figure Group Relationship, Good Continuation
Group Taste: Highlighting, Interference Effects, Law of Pragnanz
Group Hearing: Layering, Orientation Sensitivity, Proximity
Group Smell: Signal-to-Noise Ratio, Uniform Connectedness

In your Project One groups, create a blog post that summarizes your assigned strategies for the class. Click here to download the relevant pages from Universal Principles of Design. For each strategy, include at least one illustration that is not found in Universal Principles of Design. Be prepared to briefly present your post next week.

Exercise Three is due at 08:30 on Monday, January 25.