This page has links for core resources that complement the following lecture topics:

14. Visual communication design

15. Spatiality in communications

16. Designing communicative spaces

17. User-orientation and interface design

14. Visual communication design

Fonts have a strongly emotive impact on readers. Here is a short, rather old but informative media report on fonts.

Some simple tips for effective photographic composition, and, here too.

In still photography and graphic design the need for good composition is obvious to most, even if not realised well in practice sometimes. Moving images (film, video) also require good composition but the possibility of splicing together multiple shots in the editing process often leads to a diminished regard for composition. Filmmakers benefit from initial training and professional experience in still photography as it trains them in the art of good composition. Furthermore, experience working in black and white teaches people to appreciate contrast, and the powerful ways that light can evoke moods, reveal the textures of surfaces it falls upon, and aid composition. The richness of colour often distracts from this potentiality.

For an excellent lesson in composition see the following instance from legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, whose work is contrasted with some rather ordinary more recent work.

The narrator/producer of that video Tony Zhou has produced a number of insightful short documentaries that provide us with further understanding of good compositional practice. Following here is another one on Kurosawa, this time on the use of movement.

15.  Spatiality in Communications

As the two lessons from Kurosawa above reveal, spatiality is fundamental to communication design. This obviously manifests two dimensionally, three dimensionally – evoked through clever two dimensional representational techniques – and actually through both package design and the spaces we inhabit. Moving images have the critical 4th dimension of temporality: showing movement, transitions and continuities through time.  In moving images spatial depth is suggested both through perspective, as in still images, and  through the passage of time as an :object or person moves through a scene. There is much creative scope for manipulating the visual representation of space and time, as this examination of the work of Japanese animator Satoshi Kon by Tony Zhou reveals.

A ‘spatial turn’ in art has been in evidence for some decades but has been amplified by the technologies of visual projection and digital media. One renowned artist is Olafur Eliasson, Berlin-based and of Danish-Icelandic upbringing.

Another is Ragnar Kjartansson, also of Iceland.

Mapping your own movements through space and time through the metadata that intelligence agencies require your mobile phone network provider to keep on you! This has been powerful demonstrated by a German newspaper through effective visual representation of the data retained on a phone user – a politician with the Greens – and gained through legal processes in Germany.

The genius of Eiko Ishioka, who started her career in advertising with Shiseido, then became creative director for Parco, making a wide range of edgy print and moving media that shifted the boundaries of advertising in Japan. Indeed conservatism has set in again in recent decades and we see little as confronting and innovative as was done by Ishioka for Parco in the past. Her later career was devoted mostly to costume design, from her New York base, though she was an elusive figure who resisted many overtures for both creative collaboration and media exposure. Consequently there are not many documentaries etc at hand to profile her and her work. The New York Times ran a good profile of her at the time of her death in January 2012.

16. Designing communicative spaces

Renowned Berlin-based Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson..

The beauty and potential of 3D projection mapping is nicely on display here:

An imagined hyper-reality of a fully branded personal space; made by a Japanese graduate student in architecture.

On making the most of cheapness in the fit-out of Narita’s Terminal 3. While we certainly can question whether some decisions (such as the absence of moving walkways in particular) were appropriate given the needs of young children, older and less mobile passengers, those involved in the design, within the fixed budget constraints, have shown some communicative flair.


17. User-orientation and interface design

IDEO and Stanford’s design school again offer us a deep insight into making design, of objects and all interfaces, user-centric.

In our lecture we give much attention to the work and insights of Don Norman, whose career as engineer, psychologist, design theorist, critics and professional, has made him uniquely qualified to shape recent thinking of the design of interfaces between people and systems, objects, spaces and services. Here are two videos featuring him. Both are very engaging.

And on beauty and design and so much more…