Virtual Idea Notebook #3

Perception is everything when it comes to design. How will the viewer react? Will he or she get the meaning that you were trying to get across? Could you have simplified the piece and still have kept its integrity? These questions are important ones to consider, but even more basic than that is the idea of denotation. Denotation is simply what is pictured in the piece. The subject matter is a visual cue for the viewer to associate the object as a general object. For instance, the photograph below is one I took of an installation of leaves that were mechanically activated and fluttered. The image is portraying an image of some sort of plant.

Austin Reed, 2008

Once the image has been viewed, it is out of the artist’s hands as to what the reaction will be. The connotation, how the image is perceived, is in the hands, or heads, of the viewer. Continuing with the same subject matter, the position, scale, focus, etc. of the subject matter will conjure different reactions. Some may not find the image interesting at all, however some may be affected by the image in a particular way whether it be life changing or trivial. The artist must understand how to simplify the image, so that the viewer can understand the meaning, while taking the image and “running with it” so to speak with their own observations and ideas.

Austin Reed, 2008


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