Saturday, September 18, 2010

MODULE ONE - Visual Design Apporach

Angkor Wat, 12th century temple imprints
Photo by Andrea Ramirez, June 2010

My experiences in the Internet industry and my recent travel to Angkor Wat, an early 12th century Cambodian temple, are among my points of reference in interpreting Meggs' History of Graphic Design text book images.

Cambodian temple wall imprints
Photo by Andrea Ramirez, June 2010

Visual Design Approach Attributes: 
  • Tools  
  • Medium 
  • Time Period

Me in Cambodia, June 2010


Pondering stark contrasts between ancient temple wall designs  and modern digital Internet designs provokes questions related to how design approach attributes affect the level of influence and aesthetic of a visual design.

 "How does access to digital tools impact the influence that a modern digital visual design has compared to an early 12th century stone design?

The notion that "Graphic design is about communication and meaning."1 resonates with me in pondering this question. In my opinion, the number of persons viewing a visual design may be less important than the profile of the individuals who view the images, in terms of a visual designer's ability to influence through his  works. Digital media has enabled designers to vastly increase the size of their immediate audience. In digital media, audience size can be in the millions in any given month. Data collected by marketing research company, comScore,  reveals that the  top gaming sites reach over a million unique users per month.  Conversely, imprints of ancient 12th century temple, Angkor Wat, shown above, had a relatively small immediate audience. These imprints are an example of  how "Since prehistoric times, people have searched for ways to give visual form to ideas and concepts,  to store knowledge in graphic form, and to bring order and clarity to information." 2    The wall graphics at Angkor Wat were viewed by extremely influential leaders. As a result, the messages that these images portrayed my have had a larger impact on society than if the images had been viewed by the masses.
How does the medium impact the total aesthetic?

In digital media, we have the ability to work with a large number of  colors and hues and the medium is extremely forgiving.  We can even test to see the how engaging a display is though measuring click through rate and then quickly adjust the look to get the response we desire. However, one begins to wonder how invested an artist is in the design knowing that  that it could easily change.  The early designs at Angkor Wat were likely to be committed to a design direction before it was shown to a lot of folks.  It seems that this level of design commitment has a significant impact on the total aesthetic.

1Manske, Kent. Lecture. Foothill College, Los Altos, CA. September 2010. 
2Meggs' History of Graphic design,  Meggs, Philip B. , and Alston W. Purvis. Meggs' History of Graphic Design. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006. Print.