Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Aesthetics Theory… Facilitate the Transmission

DAKE, D. (2005a) Aesthetics Theory. In: K. SMITH, S. MORIARTY, G. BARBATSIS and K. KENNEY (Eds) Handbook of Visual Communication: Theory, Methods, and Media. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pp3-22.

“A verbal analysis of aesthetics only deals with one part at a time and is therefore always incomplete in description and understanding. In the creative design of visual messages, as well as in creative viewing and interpretation, flexibility of structural construction is vital. Flexibility provides for the purely perceptual apprehension of novelty, originality, and message integrity. Ritualized, stereotyped, and repetitive messages are not as likely to attract or sustain viewer attention. Therefore, the message’s flexibility is crucial for discovering and imparting significant aesthetic aspects of meaning.” (p8)

The flexibility referred to here is referring to an aesthetic that is the apotheosis to the ‘visual design’ attitude. The richness that visual communication can bring rests in the ability to ensure that the design all works towards its intended outcome. The semiotic structure will provide a lexicon of visual language to facilitate the transmission of the intended collective message with the minimal disruption by noise. How this is achieved should not be prescriptive and not just utilitarian, nor should the design be homogenised into the lowest creative denominator for the intended audience. A successful aesthetic attracts and retains attention and focus. A poor aesthetic reduces the attention and length of time needed to perceive and interpret what actions need to be taken. There is a difference between a simplistic (and therefore a weak design), and a design that aids interaction because it makes interaction simple by easily facilitating its complexity through clarity of design.

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