What Designers Should Know About Visual Perception and Memory”, March 7th 2011, is an amazing article by Steven Bradley. Informative and very well presented.
Understanding the science of design is very important part of the whole process, so we as designers can recognize what is working and why.
Visual perception as it is written in the article is the result of complex interactions between external visual stimulus and prior knowledge and expectations. Understanding how we all perceive things visually will help designers communicate better and make more informed design choices. Perception is the process of obtaining awareness and understanding of sensory data. We take in something visually and then need to process what we see in order to derive some meaning from it. Our brains need to find meaningful patterns in our visual environment in order to make decisions about what to do and how to respond.
“As you design an instructional or informational graphic, a crucial concept to keep in mind is that pictures are information
. How individuals perceive and understand this information is related to the complex interactions of their visual perception, existing knowledge, and expectations.” Connie Malamed, August 8, 2009., Gestalt Your Graphics: Improving Instructional Graphics
Because of the complexities of how visual perception occurs and is processed in multiple ways, it involves more than just decoding visual stimuli which may account for the emotional responses in some viewers.
The famous “Dog Picture,” shown below, illustrates a Dalmatian dog sniffing under a stand of trees. This is an illustration of the concept of totality — you grasp the “totality” of something before worrying about the details.
Why does a piece of graphic design look and work so effectively? The truth is that individual elements and the design in its entirety work well because theoretical design principles are applied to good effect. These are the Gestalt Principles of Perception. All theses design principles are based on relationships: Common Fate, Good Continuation, Uniform Connectedness, Proximity, Colour
At its simplest, gestalt theory describes how the mind organizes visual data. The stronger the clarity of form, the more effective the design.
Most of these principles seem to be variations of each other and are otherwise closely related and it’s because they all refer to relationships; how things are similar or dissimilar, how they contrast or blend with one another, and how arrangements of things suggest hierarchies and are affected by context. By understanding how this principles work we can make choices to direct the eye and have our visitors attach meaning to our visual elements enabling them to better remember and understand our message.
Gestaltism: A matter of perception
3. Fundamental Design principles: “The Gestalt Principles of Perceptio