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Showing papers in "Visible Language in 2013"


Journal Article
TL;DR: A study of the role individual symbols play on the construction of meaning from icons finds that the interaction of the right number of symbol for the referent, and a more apt combination of individual symbols for therefnt, can significantly improve theConstruction of an icon that communicates what was intended.
Abstract: Despite the fact that icons are widely relied upon for communication, designers have few principles to guide icon design. This paper reports a study of the role individual symbols play on the construction of meaning from icons. An experiment compared two sets of four icons, each made of a different set of discrete symbols. It finds that the interaction of the right number of symbols for the referent, and a more apt combination of individual symbols for the referent, can significantly improve the construction of an icon that communicates what was intended. The rules of thumb proposed here are applicable to construction of any visual communication that uses symbols.cons today are ubiquitous and utilitarian. They shimmy on iPhones, bounce on computer screens, spin on cable TV's, and hang out on restroom doors. Icons are useful because they facilitate succinct communication. While their form is simple, their comprehension can be extensive. Indeed, nearly all communication happens through the interaction of symbols. Icons, ancestors of the earliest known forms of writing, have been a functional part of daily life since the pyramids were built so why study them now?A sufficient reason would be that many icons are not understood as intended. The ISO (2007) and ANSI (2007) recommend 85% correct comprehension for all warning symbols. A 2010 USA Today article titled "One third of drivers can't recognize this idiot light" (Woodyard, 2010) reported that a tire inflation pressure warning icon mandated by law, was not understood by 60% of drivers: 46% couldn't even identify the symbol as a tire! Our own icon comprehension studies show depressingly similar results. Only eight of a set of 54 medical icons that were carefully designed to cross language and cultural barriers achieve 85% comprehension by subjects in the USA, and just 3 of those icons were comprehended at the 85% level by subjects in Tanzania. Indeed, fewer than 1 in 10 Tanzanians, many of whom had advanced medical training, could correctly identify 19 of the 54 medical icons. That's a failure rate of 90%.Despite the common failure of icons, little is written about how they work from either a theoretical or a practical 'how-to' perspective. Beginning with Dreyfuss' Symbol Sourcebook (Dreyfuss, 1972) there has been steady parade of books that exhibit the latest symbols and icons, but few if any of these tomes explain how visual symbols work or how they might be made to work better. That is the gap our icon research seeks to fill. This paper describes a research study that measured the impact different combinations of symbols have on the comprehension of four icons. Based on this we identify some patterns, sketch some initial hypotheses for how people construct meaning from symbols, and propose some how-to rules of thumb to guide the design of more effective icons.symbols and iConsBesides being ubiquitous and utilitarian, icons are significant objects of study. Icons have simplicity of form compared with many other communication materials whose visual forms are much more complex. Icon's lean visual form reduces interpretive complexity. Icons also tend to have a very definite intended meaning: the referent...This gives icons an established measure of comprehension success. Icons are typically created in a consistent graphic style. Since standardization efforts in the 1970's, notably the US Department of Transportation's commission of the AIGA to produce a standard symbol set, icons for a wide range of referents have followed the highly abstract round head and mitten hands familiar on restroom doors. Thus a wide variety of subject matter is available in a consistent visual style, facilitating study. While we are aware of one study that explores the effectiveness of this common style (Marom-Tock & Goldschmidt, 2011), similarity of style -however effective - has the benefit of reducing the number of variables in comprehension testing. …

15 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: Development of a questionnaire to elicit pain symptoms and experience, for use by people with dementia or their carers, at hospital admission is described, which provided contextual information to support professionals' use of the Abbey Pain Scale, a validated tool used by nursing staff internationally.
Abstract: We describe development of a questionnaire to elicit pain symptoms and experience, for use by people with dementia or their carers, at hospital admission. The questionnaire provided contextual information to support professionals’ use of the Abbey Pain Scale, a validated tool used by nursing staff internationally. Appropriate information and physical design were required in order, not only to create an approachable questionnaire for patients and carers, but also to ensure fit with hospital processes. Fit with hospital process had significant influence on the final form of the questionnaire, compromising some aspects of design for patients and carers, but this compromise was considered essential to ensure pain management procedures were supplemented by wider, contextual information.

5 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this article, the challenges of combining dual distinct scripts of Latin and Arabic, and overviews several approaches for designing and pairing bilingual scripts in a harmonious manner, are discussed.
Abstract: This paper identifies and analyzes the challenges of bilingual design layout systems in Beirut. With the rapid spread of globalization, English and Arabic often enter the public realm together. As the design industry also rapidly develops and the Western influences are manifested, the duality of languages and scripts are constantly negotiated. This paper investigates various bilingual design layouts and proposes six new variations of bilingual design layout systems for designers, educators and students to employ and develop further. By employing an illustrative methodology in which different layout systems are both examined and compared, the author proposes visual structures for bilingual readers, adding an extra layer to the understanding of visual communication while offering the viewer the choice of reading both scripts.Wi ith the rapid spread of globalization and the overwhelming development of the design industry in the Middle East, Arabic script has become secondary in publication designs. Beirut, as the capital, is used in this paper as an intense laboratory where Western influences are clearly manifested and negotiated in language and graphic design. In Beirut, bilingual design for a range of media- from street signs and graffiti to various forms of printed materials including posters, pamphlets, and books have become an increasingly obvious "challenge" as designers treat the two scripts; Latin and Arabic equally, despite their differences in direction, texture, and weight. As the design industry develops and as more designers are taught at Western educational institutions, the issue of bilingual design is more and more frequently resolved by having the Arabic script as a secondary form, foregrounding the Latin script.This paper investigates the challenges of bilingual design layout systems in the Middle East and more specifically in Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon. It proposes bilingual design layout structures to equip designers with a better understanding of bilingual compositions and integrated methods of application. Many attempts have been made to bring together Latin and Arabic scripts in a harmonious way, yet, they have not yielded thorough explorations that will assist designers in the development of bilingual layout systems.Building on Kimberly Elam's typographic systems and based on my research and observation of Beirut's visual bilingual topography1, I developed bilingual layout systems and will demonstrate their applications by showcasing selected projects of my students' work at the Lebanese American University (LAU) in Beirut, along with personal work and vernacular bilingual city signs. The choice of these examples is representative of a larger scope illustrating the diverse applications of bilingual layouts in our daily life in Beirut.This paper exposes the difficulties of combining dual distinct scripts of Latin and Arabic, and overviews several approaches for designing and pairing bilingual scripts in a harmonious manner.2 It culminates in the proposal of six new variations of bilingual design layout systems for designers, educators and students to apprehend, employ and develop a variety of bilingual compositions.Many design publications in this region are produced solely in English since Middle Eastern designers are more comfortable using Westernized layouts given that their design background lacks adequate training in combining Arabic and Latin scripts. The lack of training stems from a well-founded desire to study in the West, but the application of this Westernized knowledge to further the dialogue between the two cultures is still amiss. The ultimate goal should be to enhance the local language by looking at and learning from the Western design systems, whereas the trend in design seems to merely adapt Latin script compositions to the Arabic script that do not necessarily accept such aesthetics. Paul Cleveland, professor at Griffith University explains, "Aesthetic preference involves complex factors which optimize the degree of arousal potential. …

4 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this article, the authors explore the possibilities of exposing students' thinking styles through the medium of reflective journals and examine where student attention is located, how they communicate and how they are thinking, and provide a guideline that can aid teachers to analyze the journals as feedback for the ease or difficulty associated with their teaching strategy.
Abstract: Thinking, considered as part of the core skill set of a designer, is equally significant in learning and design processes. An awareness and understanding of a personal thinking style is therefore important for both teaching and learning. Using well-established theories of thinking and using an in depth multiple case method, the author explores the possibilities of exposing students' thinking styles through the medium of reflective journals. Eight journals are carefully examined in terms of where student attention is located, how they communicate and how they are thinking. A further aim is to provide a guideline that can aid teachers to analyze the journals as feedback for the ease or difficulty associated with their teaching strategy. While the study is framed within a university design program, its findings may be of more general application."Design is not one way of thinking, but several. In particular it is a mix of rational, analytical thinking and creativity" (Lawson and Dorst 2009, 28). In a psychological sense, the complex mental processes of design relates to cognition, intelligences and thinking styles thereby having a direct bearing on the process of learning and acquiring knowledge in the realm of education. While the aim of design education has always been the attainment of higher order thinking skills, evidence of such attainment might not be easily apparent. Reflective journals, sometimes promoted by educators as a learning tool, might be a source that could reveal the student's thinking. This research seeks to not only reveal students' thinking styles, but to study the reflective process in depth and the importance of reflective thinking in fostering creativity.BACKGROUND : REFLECTIVE THINKING - DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVESDewey, one of the earliest proponents and most influential psycholo- gists in the area of reflective thinking defines reflective thought as "Active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends" (Dewey, 1960, 9).Researchers like Boud, Keogh and Walker (1985) and Kolb (1984) have emphasized the role of reflective thinking in experience-based learning. Schon (1983) in his work on reflective thinking in professional practice mentions that the construction of practitioners' knowledge is by means of "reflection-in-action" which occurs during a learning activity and "reflection-on-action" which occurs after the activity is completed. Further, reflective thinking is often used in conjunction with metacognition. Self-reflection, according to Zimmerman (2000) forms an integral part of self-regulation that is the evaluation and monitoring of one's cognition in the learning process.THE IMPORTANCE OF REFLECTIVE THINKINGThe importance of reflective thinking in design education and design practice has increased as the pace and demands of study and workplace often compromise the value of design (Meredith Davis, 2007). Its importance in education has been long realized by Dewey (1960) who feels that...reflection provides opportunities for students to discern their personal values and beliefs, find meaning in education and learn their strengths and weaknesses,Schon (1983) argues that the limitations of "Technical Rationality" in dealing with "divergent" situations in practice can be dealt with by the artistry of reflective thinking.King and Kitchener's (1994) Reflective Judgment Model Is especially useful in improving students' cognitive abilities while dealing with ill-structured or uncertain design problems and is useful in studying the learning process of students as well. Similarly, according to Lawson and Dorst (2009), reflective thinking develops students' prob- lem-solving capabilities in a design situation thus developing design thinking capabilities (Cross, 2001 ). Reflective thinking generates new forms of thinking, helps to connect the different forms of thinking and promotes the Idea of a life-long learning process (Kolb, 1984). …

3 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: This paper explored how the kind of typographic differentiation used in a document influenced readers' impressions of documents and found that high differentiation documents were the most attention-grabbing and easy to skim-read, while they considered moderate and low differentiation documents to require deeper reading strategies.
Abstract: Document designers combine a range of stylistic and structural typographic attributes to articulate and differentiate information for readers. This paper explores how the kind of typographic differentiation used in a document influences readers' impressions of documents. A preliminary study indicated that three patterns of typographic differentiation ( high, moderate and low ) might underlie participants' impressions of magazine design. Subsequently, a set of nine magazine layouts with controlled content was purposefully developed to systematically examine the impact of high, moderate and low patterns of typographic differentiation on participants' impressions of documents. These documents were used in a repertory grid procedure to investigate the kinds of impressions readers articulate in relation to typographic presentation and whether readers are likely to formulate similar or differing impressions from high, moderate, and low patterns of typographic differentiation. The results suggest that typographic differentiation influences a range of rhetorical and experiential judgments. For example, participants described high differentiation documents as the most attention-grabbing and easy to skim-read, while they considered moderate and low differentiation documents to require deeper reading strategies. In addition, participants assumed high differentiation documents to be much more sensationalist than moderate or low differentiation documents, which they generally perceived as authoritative and credible.INTRODUCTIONTHEORETICAL AND PROFESSIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON TYPOGRAPHIC DIFFERENTIATIONIn professional practice, document designers use stylistic and spatial variations in typographic presentation to differentiate and structure information. Typographic differentiation is used to articulate particular kinds of information, indicate segmen- tation devices ( headings, subheadings, lists, quotations, etc. ), and suggest appropriate "access strategies" ( Waller, 1980; 2012 ) to readers. Although many documents use similar kinds of seg- mentation devices, the stylistic and structural differentiation of these may vary according to the document genre, intended readership, and established conventions and house styles. For example, tabloid newspapers typically use more exaggerated typographic differentiation than broadsheet newspapers.While we can identify different levels of typographic differentiation across genres we do not have a systematic understanding of how varying combinations of stylistic and structural typographic attributes may influence readers' initial impressions of a document.While designers may talk informally about the overall document personality or the 'look and feel' of a document, more research is needed to demonstrate how typographic attributes work in combination to create meaning and "externalize" ( Macdonald- Ross 1977: 52 ) tacit knowledge.In the context of real documents, typographic presentation can be described as multivariate because many attributes coexist and are interrelated. However, research into participants' impressions of typographic presentation largely tends to ignore the complexity and multivariate nature of document typography and focus on isolated variables ( Macdonald-Ross and Waller, 1975 ). There is, for example, a substantial cross-disciplinary and multi-method body of research into typeface personality. Brumberger ( 2001 ) and Shaikh ( 2007 ) provide the most comprehensive accounts of this body of work.Shaikh's research is also of particular interest because it indicates that readers make judgments about the credibility of a document according to the perceived appropriateness of the typeface used. There are also a few studies that examine other aspects of typographic presen- tation and meaning. For example, McAteer (1989 ) examines how different styles of typographic emphasis convey meaning and Middlestadt and Barnhurst (1999 ) test how differences in horizontal or vertical layout influence readers' impressions of content tone. …

3 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: This article proposed the use of critical and constructive writing to the classroom critique and found that the more proficient design students become with their written responses, the more prepared they are in a presentation or classroom dialogue.
Abstract: A crucial part of a design student's education involves the class critique. In the traditional design studio, work is displayed, reflected upon and discussed. This method, used across many design schools, lacks the contemplation and thoughtful reflection design students often require. We propose the add- ition of critical and constructive writing to the classroom critique. To engage students in a deeper reflection and to provoke them to ask key questions and foster insightful discussions, writing components were added to design studio projects.This paper discusses methods employed in the traditional studio classroom: post-it note critiques, online digital critiques, project documentation and round-robin writing critiques. While many instructors employ writing at the completion of proj- ects, there are many benefits of incorporating a writing component into class critiques. Writing affords students the ability to pause and reflect. Writing allows for a deeper reflection, encouraging questions of the work's purpose: Does it communicate effectively? Does the concept fulfill the needs of the client? Is this an obvious solution?Writing enables students to consider their position, ideas, ethical philosophy and design concept while employing the use of design vocabulary and principles. The more proficient design students become with their written responses, the more prepared they are in a presentation or classroom dialogue.INTRODUCTION: THE TRADITIONAL CLASSROOM CRITIQUEAcrucial part of a design student's education involves the class critique; work is displayed, reflected upon, and discussed by the instructor and students. While this method has many advantages, there are ways this critique style can be inadequate. If not managed well the critiques can be dominated by a minority of con- fident and vocal students, while others shy away from classroom engagement. Long class critiques combined with short attention spans can lead to ineffective critiques, which in many cases, do not go beyond the aesthetics of the work. Based on our previous classroom experience, the typography or color choices are scrutinized while discussions of the core conceptual ideas are neglected.To improve our classroom critiques, we incorporated critical and constructive writing components in and outside of the classroom. The goal was to encourage young designers to make more informed decisions, while offering thoughtful and thorough feedback to their classmates. This paper discusses and analyzes several methods used including post-it note critiques, online digital critiques, project documentation and round-robin writing critiques. Various methods were used as different types of writing tasks produce diff- erent effects on learning ( Applebee 1986 ). The writing methods were tested in two junior-level visual communication design studio classrooms with the goal to improve the quality of class time and increase student participation. We sought to engage students in deeper reflection by provoking them to ask key questions and foster insightful discussions while developing their critical thinking skills in the context of design.CRITIQUING STRATEGIES AND METHODSThe critique is found in many creative disciplines including design, art, architecture, product design, and fashion design. As such, much research has been done in relation to critiquing strategies, styles, and drawbacks, all of which resonated with what we were finding in our classrooms. A study done at The Ohio State University with studio art students indicated common complaints concerning critiques are: "no one talks, the group is apathetic, the audience waits for the faculty to feed them and then parrots back the response" ( Barrett 2000 ). Poor participation, lack of feedback, and poor time management can also be problematic issues of the class critique ( Blair 2007 ). Several studies ( Blair 2006, Anthony 1991 ) indicate the experience of standing in front of a large group presenting work is difficult and intimidating. …

2 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) is in the process of adopting new guidelines for assessing these programs, and separate standards for graduate professional and PhD programs are present, differentiating their teaching/learning goals.
Abstract: As research in design is gaining traction in university programs, understanding approaches to teaching research skills, the value of a research approach in design and even fundamentally reflecting on what research is becomes germane. Like varieties of design practice, there are many varieties of research process and methods to address different research questions, and certainly different programs have different goals for their students at various levels of education. Three faculty teaching in university design programs with years of experience guiding research projects, reflect on their experience, offering different perspectives on this emerging topic.as design is growing into a more knowledge oriented enterprise and designers are collaborating on larger, more socially far-reaching projects, the issue of using existing research and developing original research becomes a significant issue in design programs. Some universities are insisting that design take a place in knowledge development along side other disciplines that have a long research history. This puts pressure on faculty without an appreciation of research, much less the skills, to participate in a new initiative.Unfortunately, research carries for some a stigma of inconsequence relative to design, or is seen as a puffery and intellectual inflation of academic origin. Varieties of research, their creative potential and usefulness in practice are often dismissed within both academic and professional contexts. Further, despite numerous sources offering practical knowledge about how to support creativity (Adams, 1986; Gordon, 1961; Holyoak and Thagard, 1995; Koestler, 1964; among others), some believe that the mystery of creativity must be maintained and think it is undermined by the logic of research. Given the typical humanities background of many design students and teachers, creative science is unheard of and unknown. Added to this is the design focus on making and doing as opposed to deeper questioning and critical thinking. Under pressure from university administrations with regard to research production, there has been a dilution of the meaning of research to include projects of little substance that yield little if any knowledge. The combination of these factors makes for considerable resistance to research. Yet, among the university design programs that integrate research into undergraduate through doctoral programs, research is developing and its knowledge product is increasingly apparent in international conferences and a few design journals.The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the accrediting body in the United States for these programs, is in the process of adopting new guidelines for assessing these programs. Research is prominently mentioned in the new guidelines and separate standards for graduate professional and PhD programs are present, differentiating their teaching/learning goals. The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the largest professional organization for design in the States has already adopted these standards.As this initiative becomes more widespread, the need for reflection on teaching research across the curriculum becomes apparent. It is in the spirit of such reflection that the following conversation on teaching research in the context of design is offered. Participants in the conversation were selected based on their experience and commitment to teaching research and their dissimilar backgrounds. Meredith Davis has a background in design, Mary Dyson has a background in psychology, and Judith Gregory, a background in informatics. All have years of experience doing and teaching research. Like many other design skills, the experience of doing deepens and amplifies the ability to teach this skill. There is no one unified way to approach research or teaching. Like design itself, with multiple forms of practice, the following reflections are based on differences in experience and goals. …

1 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: The 6x6: Collaborative Letterpress Project as mentioned in this paper is a case study that brings together six leading UK higher education institutions with active letterpress workshops, where students and staff are linking their practice with critical and reflective writing in relation to the medium.
Abstract: This paper explores the value of retaining letterpress workshops within art and design schools, not merely as a tool to understand our past, but as a means to critically reflect upon our future. The benefits of teaching letterpress to graphic design students as a way of improving their understanding of typography are well documented. There is an argument for preserving 'craft' subjects including letterpress within the curriculum, as they foster immersive learning. The letterpress process is a significant teaching tool that complements, and can act in conjunction with, computer-based design education. This paper seeks to build upon these debates, examining the intersection between the practice and theory of an otherwise technologically outdated process. The paper focuses upon 6x6: Collaborative Letterpress Project as a case study. The project brings together six leading UK higher education institutions with active letterpress workshops. It encourages the sharing of best practice within a specialist subject area, through the creation of a collaborative publication where students and staff are linking their practice with critical and reflective writing in relation to the medium. Traditionally, workshop areas have been concerned with the acquisition of a skill, often taught through rote learning or technical demonstration. By positioning students at the centre of the process they have been encouraged to form their own perspective on the discipline. Through the examination of evolving letterpress paradigms, it is possible to question why we do something; as opposed to how it is done.

1 citations