My Personal Aesthetic Statement

My inspiration is often drawn from mythology.  I am very interested in what I don’t know everything about, what is mysterious, what is futuristic, and what I can be creative with.  My designs often consist of me turning people into animals or into mythological creatures.  I also like to edit clips together using Final Cut Pro that have to do with vampires, angels, the future even.  Anything that I can be creative with.  In the past, I really liked working with history and other cultures, and my goal is to one day combine my ideas into one piece; perhaps a film piece.

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Gestalt

Three different meanings:

1)A physical, biological, psychological, or symbolic configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that its properties cannot be derived from a simple summation of its parts.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/gestalt

2) a structure, configuration, or pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gestalt

3) A configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that it cannot be described merely as a sum of its parts.

http://www.audioenglish.net/dictionary/gestalt.htm

Gestalt definition related to design:

“Gestalt is a general description for the concepts that make unity and variety possible in design. It is a German word that roughly translates as “whole” or “form.” Gestalt theory is involved with visual perception and the psychology of art among other things. It is concerned with the relationship between the parts and the whole of a composition.”

http://daphne.palomar.edu/design/gestalt.html

Gestalt definition in psychology:

“Gestalt Psychology, founded by Max Wertheimer, was to some extent a rebellion against the molecularism of Wundt’s program for psychology, in sympathy with many others at the time, including William James.  In fact, the word Gestalt means a unified or meaningful whole, which was to be the focus of psychological study instead.”

http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/gestalt.html

Lady or saxophone player?


Cultural Differences

As someone who hopes to one day work in both graphic design and film, and maybe even web, it is my job to make sure that whatever products I create in any of these industries don’t send the wrong message to people from say a different culture than mine.  Being from the US, we have many different meanings for various different things than other countries.  Also, our signs and symbols might look like different signs and symbols elsewhere.  In this blog, I am going to review the differences in color as well as hand gestures and signs that symbolize different things in different cultures.

Color: In the US, red symbolizes love and passion.  In India however, it means purity.  The red dots often worn by women are to symbolize purity, engagement or recent marriage, depending in the caste.  In the US, yellow symbolizes hope and happiness, while in Japan it means courage.  In Thailand, purple is the color of mourning, while in many western cultures, it has always meant royalty.

Hand gesture meanings: In Iran, a thumbs up is a very vulgar and rude sign.  In Lebanon, raising a closed fist in the air is seen as rude, while in most American countries, including South America, that is seen as a victory gesture.  In Egypt, to ask “will you sleep with me” of someone, you should take your two pointer fingers and put them together side by side.  In America, someone might POSSIBLY think you were asking them on a date if you made such a gesture.  MIGHT…

The most famous hand gesture of all though, is the “V” symbol.  Many different cultures give it to say “f-off”, particularly in the UK and Australia.  During a soccer (known to them as football) game, Victoria Beckham knew that she was getting a picture taken of her and her husband from behind.  To flip off reporters, she gave them the V-Symbol right behind her husbands head.

Sources:

http://webdesign.about.com/od/color/a/bl_colorculture.htm

http://soc302.tripod.com/soc_302rocks/id6.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2009/11/09/up-yours-louis-walsh-and-the-top-ten-celeb-v-sign-flashes-115875-21808843/

Icons, Index and Symbols.

Monica and I worked together on this project.  We divided it up by her taking the first five and I took the next four. 

Icons:  Are directly related to what they display. 

Index: Most road signs are index because they directly illustrate what you should or should not do/watch out for. 

Symbols: Are often abstract and have to be learned by the viewer seeing what the symbol represents a few times. 

Icons:

1. The Statue of Liberty

http://www.visitingdc.com/new-york/statue-of-liberty-address.asp

The Statue of Liberty is a direct visual reference to the state of New York.  Also, many people associate it with the United States and freedom.  It has many different meanings and is truly an icon. 

2. The McDonald’s Logo

http://vector4u.com/2009/05/mcdonalds-logo-eps/

The McDonald’s logo makes one think of fast food right away, probably because it was the first ever real well known fast food franchise. 

3. Handicap Sign

http://www.signmonster.com/catalog/images/d9-6_LG.jpg

The handicap sign has a direct visual reference to the concept displayed. 

Index:

1. Wet Floor Sign

http://hygo.co.uk/store/images/wet-floor-sign-floor.jpg

The wet floor sign points directly at the meaning through the image of a person slipping. 

2. Slippery when wet sign

http://www.thesignlady.net/signs/images/warningsigns/W8-524X24SlipperyWhenWetSymbol.jpg

The “slippery when wet” sign is a visual message that illustrates a car swerving when the road is wet.

3. No smoking sign

http://www.businesscar.co.uk/Pictures/Title/v/i/y/No_smoking_sign.jpg

The no smoking sign shows exactly what someone is NOT supposed to do.  The message is conveyed very clearly. 

Symbol:

1. The GLBT Triangle

http://www.scottsdalecc.edu/GLBTSA/images/rainbow_triangle_1_.jpg

Represents the GLBT community and when seen by someone is associated with it. 

2. Canadian Maple Leaf

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/38/Canada_Maple_Leaf.svg/562px-Canada_Maple_Leaf.svg.png

The Canadian Maple Leaf when seen is associated with Canada. 

3. The Islamic Sun and Moon

http://islam.about.com/library/graphics/starmoon_yellow.gif

When people see the Islamic sun and moon together, they know right away that it is associated with Islam because it has been talked about so much in recent years.  The cross can also be seen as a symbol for Christianity. 

http://www.readytorunministries.org/images/320px-christian_cross_icon_svg.png

Design Research Project

As a class project, we looked up various design terms.  Here is the final product.

Accessibility In Design

Designing for Accessibility:
My multimedia degree was very broad and so I learned a bit of everything.  In the way of print, one would use braille or large font to help those with a vision disability.  In the way of film, they have come up with lots of wonderful ways that the deaf might enjoy a movie.  Subtitles or headsets are often offered at cinemas if someone hearing impaired would like to enjoy a film without there being a problem.  Also, if someone is blind, they can always listen to the movie or listen to a book being read to them if they don’t know how to read braille or simply don’t wish to read in braille.  In the way of web, there are devices and programs that will read websites for you if you are vision impaired and if you are hearing impaired, there are special headsets that you can plug into computers that go loud enough that if you are only partially deaf, you can hear what is being said.  Some websites will have videos of people using sign language if the site is designed for the hearing impaired, but its not very common.
As a designer, I feel like these techniques are all very beneficial to the designated audiences.  If I were given a project to design a brochure for a disability support service, I would make sure the font were large enough that any visually impaired person could read it and not have trouble.  I know from personal experience with wearing glasses how difficult seeing small letters can be.  If I were asked to design a website for disability support service, I would make sure it had a read-out-loud feature so that a visually impaired person would be able to access the information, and not just a robotic voice reading to them, an actual person.  I would make sure that there were an option to enhance the font on the web page so that a visually impaired person could make the font larger if they were only partially blind.  Currently you can do that with either control + on a PC or command + on a MAC, but many people don’t know about that feature.  For the hearing impaired, I would make sure that any videos also came in sign-language, that way they would understand what was being said if they didn’t pick it up in the reading.
Here are a few features that I found on websites pertaining to accessibility that I thought I should mention:
Should offer a few different language options for people from other countries who want access to the information/content of the site/in the printed format.
Font size should always be 16+pt font (12pt minimum and only for certain documents) and a nice serif, but some sites do use sans-serif fonts.  As long as the font is easily legible, there should be no problem in using it.
Clear and labeled signs.
Alignment to either the left or the right depending on the site or information.  (More often than not, the left…)
Appropriate color schemes used.

Gestalt Experiment

My three subjects were: My mom who is a reader for her learning style, my eighteen year old sister who is a listening learner, and my seventeen year old brother who is the visual learner. 

Brother (Visual): Test 1: Right away he said he saw hats and shoes flying everywhere and that remained his answer until he saw click 20, when he decided it looked like a gingerbread man that had a “messed up face”. 

Test 2: He insisted he saw a horse after all the animals and even showed me where, and this was on click 1.  Steps seven through ten he said he saw a unicorn.  Fifteen through twenty he insisted he saw the messed up gingerbread man again. 

Sister: Test 1: She insisted she saw nothing and became frustrated and then said she might have seen a face around click fifteen or sixteen. 

Test 2: She saw “the cowboy riding the horse”. 

Mom: Test 1: Saw a lot of happy faces throughout the clicks. 

Test 2: She noticed the horse on the 18-20th clicks and also saw the man/rider after I gave her a chance to look closely.

To conclude, every one of my subjects saw a horse at some point, they just saw it at different points in the clicks.  The two logical thinkers, my mother and sister, saw the man/cowboy/rider, however my brother did not.  I wonder why he didn’t and I also wonder where he got the gingerbread man idea from.  He might still have Christmas on the brain. 
http://www.thepsychfiles.com/gestalt/

Chapters 1 & 2 Answers…

Dolphins, apes and elephants are all animals that are self aware.  Recent MRI scans show that dolphins come in just behind humans in brain size as well as understanding.  Also, during what are known as “dolphin drives”, where dolphins are herded together by nets, many dolphins die of heart-attacks or become panicked or distressed by the situation.  http://news.discovery.com/animals/dolphins-smarter-brain-function.html

Balzac, (Honore de Balzac) was a French playwright and author who helped found realism in the early years after the fall of Napoleon.  He was very well known for the great detail he put into his writing pieces.  He was also very well known for giving character to innate objects, something that had never really been done in writing before Balzac. 

In the book it says “Mystification is the process of explaining away what might otherwise be evident” (Pages 15 to 16).  Film does that, but at the same time, everyone, even twins, have different opinions of films.  The best example I can give is when I went and saw “The Phantom of The Opera” when I was in 10th grade.  I went with my twin friends Nicole and Kristine, and Nicole slept through the entire film while Kristine ended up loving it so much that she sang all the way home.  I personally was very neutral about it.  And unless you are going to see an independent film, what is evident is almost always hidden in film.  I guess no matter how you look at it, film is both mystifying and remote.

Seeing Black And White

In the book “Seeing Black and White” by Alan Gilchrist, the author sets out to explain what determines the color of an object.  Basically, its how the light is reflected off of that object as well as what the object is made up of that determines how we see it and what colors we see.  Gilchrist goes over the scientific process for visual perception from the 19th century until modern day. 

The author begins by explaining that in visual perception there are three main domains: distal stimulus, proximal stimulus and percept.

Distal stimulus: The object just as it is.  No one has interpreted it. 

Proximal stimulus: Refers to light reflecting off of the object and how the human eye views it. 

Percept: How the person sees/perceives the object. 

The author explains that he sees light/lightness as what is reflected off of an objects surface.  Brightness is an objects perceived luminance. 

Gilchrist talked about how tone can be perceived even if it’s not actually there.  He went on to explain that he uses the term “Contrast” sparingly because it he feels it has been abused.  He has three different meanings for it:

  • Defining the stimulusContrast as a luminance ratio. 
  • Illusory phenomenon – Contrast more as the backgrounds; what is behind the object helping it to stand out?  The objects must be a color or gray and the background can be any color as long as it is NOT the color of the object.  The way the human eye will see it, contrast will be created when in actuality, there isn’t really contrast.  (Did I explain that well?)
  • Theory – The conclusion which anyone can come to on their own about “Contrast” or “Tone”.

After reading this, I feel my knowledge has increased greatly about even my own visual experiences in day to day life.  Why is it that a stop sign is red and white and not black and red?  Because white stands out on red and from a distance, it is much easier to see that.  I feel like I have learned a lot about a topic which before I knew very little.  I enjoyed reading about the history of the subject as well.  Gilchrist does a great job explaining it in terms so that everyone can understand it.  Now I view the world somewhat differently than I did before, and it is always nice when I read something that does that for me.

Elements in Other Principles

Fashion design is the art of designing clothing and accessories.  There are clothing season categories, which are spring/summer and autumn/winter.  Fashion shows are often put on by big name designers to advertise their new styles for each season.

From the image above, we can see that each of these lovely celebrities is wearing a dress that represents texture.  The pink one to the far left shows texture by having the slightly ruffled left corner.  The one in the middle shows texture by have the sequences that it does and the one to the far right shows texture by looking silky.

Every body has a different shape and form to it…especially in women!  In fashion, design has to apply to many different body types.  Here is a very unique style, but it could apply to a few different body types.  Most styles that apply to all body types however are casual clothing, like jeans and a t-shirt.

Value has to do with the hues and shades of black and white.  In this image, the dress shows both black and white in the dress.  For the time it was taken and even now, that dress is very fashionable.

Contact of a Local Designer:

Kiko House of Coture:

2416 First Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98121

206.728.5080

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