Part 3 – Research Point: Visual Dynamics

How do your eyes travel around the items you have collected? What do you look at first? Where is the contrast in what you are looking at?

Emma Dunbar: A Riotous Bunch on Yellow

My eyes travel first to the colourful flowers, then to the jug and then left to the cup.  I then become aware of the background – the table that the jug is standing on and the slight difference in the shading of the panels of the background. I then go back to the flowers to look at them in more details.

The contrast in this image is in the red, pink and purple colours of the flowers and the yellow of the rest of the image. Layering of the jug on top of the table gives context to the image. The slight panel of yellow behind the flowers help to frame it and make it stand out.

Ed Ruscha – Standard Station 1966 (Colour Screen Print)

In this image, I look first at the word ‘Standard’, then the white building (from left to right), then the petrol pumps, then the orange background, particularly the boundary between the orange and blue,  and finally, the blue background.

My eye is naturally drawn to the text first because I want to read it, it is quite large and prominent and is naturally on the left of the frame, travelling right. The building follows the same line as the text, so my eye travels quite naturally to it. The contrast in this image is between red and white, with the white really standing out. The orange and blue background give a sense of context, looking like the hot desert ground and cloudless sky. The gradient in the orange background also gives a sense of depth.

Ed Ruscha – Made in California

My eye is drawn straight to the text in this image, which I read from top to bottom. I take in the orange background and then go back over the text to examine the ‘water droplet’ details of the letters.

The only contrast here is the writing which is slightly darker than the background (and also is picked out with some highlights).

‘Apricot rose’ by Volontaire (Malin Åkersten Triumf and Yasin Lekorchi) with a photograph by Niklas Alm for Amnesty International, 2007.

My eye is drawn straight to the light coloured rose, in particular the centre where the petals are close together. Then I examine the sutures which I find very disturbing and which look very out of place stitched into the rose. I find the rose and sutures very compelling but eventually notice the darker leaves of the rose. I eventually look at the background. I don’t know what it is and I find I don’t feel I need to know but I am quite distracted by the blob of what looks like plasticine as I don’t know why that is there. The last thing I look at is the text. Because it is small, I have to make an effort to read it and I only read it when I have seen enough of the image to want to know more about the poster.

The contrast in this image is in the light coloured rose and the rest of the image, which is dark. There is also contrast in the soft and natural nature of the rose and the violence and injury of the sutures.

I thought I would try out some visual dynamics analysis on a promotional card on display in a local coffee shop.  Interestingly, my eye was not drawn straight to the most obvious element, which was the red writing, instead it went straight to the drink and then to the lemon. It was a hot day and the long, cold drink and bright, sunny lemon just looked too enticing! My eye then went to the title writing, although I think I noticed the green ‘zesty lemonade’ more than the red ‘summer goodness’. Then I looked up at the bunting and then down to the logos at the bottom. To me the black and brown coffee shop logo looks out of place and is quite distracting.

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