Hussain Mufhim Anees
Visual elements used in eye care campaigns
1.0 Introduction to visual elements in design
In this day and age, we are surrounded by myriads of information. In this age of information our synapses are overexposed with an awesome amount of data, most of which is visual. It is hard to discern between the essential needs and the perpetual wants.
In order to differentiate products, brands, or campaigns corporations and institutions have been flexing their marketing muscle in every possible way. Visual elements are one of the most effective forms that advertisers use in their campaigns in order to promote their products or messages.
Visual elements are the elements that people recognize and interact to when they see a particular artwork or an image. (Bartel, 2014)
Visual elements in an advertisement determine the public reaction to the particular brand, product or service.
Visual elements are comprised of many components.
Lines: lines are basic visual elements of reality. They instill in their viewers passivity or activity depending upon the usage. Horizontal lines imply a yielding effect, while vertical lines depict power and assertiveness.
Shapes: Shapes are remarkably effective in gender differentiation as well as portraying emotions. Femininity is represented by curves while stern angles and straight lines represent masculinity.
Closed spherical shapes such as circles denote virtue and perpetuity. The meaning represented by shapes is different for every culture.
Texture: Textures represent distinction between different objects and can reinforce the message being delivered.
Colour: Similar to shapes, colours can be a strong component in gender distinction. Colours can determine the consumer’s feelings towards an advertisement or product. Personality, environment, gender and age, among other aspects, determine a person’s feelings toward particular colours.
Space: Space refers to the proximity of objects within an advertisement. They can be used to indicate depth and nature of the product.
Imagery: A picture is worth a thousand words. Images can create lasting impressions on consumers and advertisers use this utility to create various moods in their advertisements. They can also be used to generate hidden messages and secondary meanings.
2.0 Analysis of samples
For the analysis of samples, I have decided to take a trifold approach. First, I will discuss the colours used in the advertisements and their impact. Second, the visual elements such as lines, shapes, form in the advertisement. Third, the placement of elements and their cumulative impact on the viewer.
The most striking thing about this advert is the hue of yellow. Sarah Tornetta, Tess Fox, Jordan Blackbird writes in the paper Color sells: How the psychology of color influences consumers that yellow hue is a warm colour usually associated with happiness and activity. Fastfood restaurants such as McDonalds and retail stores usher the use of this colour to create a sense of urgency among their customers. (Tornetta, Fox and Blackbird, 2013).
The whole advertisement is based on a yellow analogous colour scheme. Using shades and tints to simulate depth and focus. The use of white on black and vice versa to give emphasis to the text is observed immensely. The colour at the center is lighter than the rest of the picture, attracting attention towards it. Moreover the word eye at the center is of a different hue than the entire colour scheme directing attention towards it.
The imagery used in this advertisement is minimal. There is only a pair of glasses and no lines can be seen through the advertisement. A logo is placed at the bottom third of the advertisement, resembling an eye. However, a noticeable visual cue is the blur in the background while the focus only on the part seen through the glasses.
The lens of the glasses is placed on the power points of the rule of thirds grid so it is the first thing that catches the viewer’s focus. Coupled with the tint of yellow and dynamic focus, it grabs the attention of the viewer. There is content placed at the eyes of the golden rectangle (the magenta dots) (Mize, 2009). These are the areas of focus for viewers. At the top left rectangle where the viewer start there is relevant placed and leads to the center where the campaign name is located. The frame of the glasses is placed near to the viewer; as if how you would actually put on a pair of glasses, creating a personal first person engagement with the viewer.
This advertisement is a campaign that encourages people to check their eyes often. There’s not a universal colour harmony or coordination in the image. The main text is red on white to give emphasis. Red is an active colour that portrays urgency and call to action. (Tornetta, Fox and Blackbird, 2013). So it is fitting to be used here. Otherwise the blue accented logo placed the bottom gives a contrast and this cool colour gives a sense of calmness albeit subtle.
The imagery in this photo is interesting. The photo portrays a mother crossing the street pushing a stroller with another child walking beside her. The top photo is blurred to represent someone without perfect vision. While the bottom image portrays a person who is able to see the mother with her kids crossing the street. The image also has some interesting visual cues observed in the second image. There is a white arrow pointing forward leading to the main message. The people in the picture are looking away from the image and cars parked on the street are also facing away from the viewer. This leads the viewer’s visual path (demonstrated by the cyan arrows) back to the main message. (Mize, 2008)
Moreover it leads to the word “save” which could trigger an emotional response in the viewer. (Gunelius, 2010)
The text at the bottom is on a white background in order to give a sense of neutrality and balance.
The placement of the objects follows a horizontal thirds approach. The first horizontal third accommodates the blurry picture, while the main message is right between the power points on the grid. The non-blurry picture is situated in the second and third of the horizontal thirds. This poster has a good overall balance to it (Mize, 2009).
This example is a campaign promoting parents to get their children’s eyes examined.
The colour used in this is using an analogous triad colour scheme. These analogous schemes are found in nature. They are harmonious and pleasing to the eyes (Ciotti, 2013).
The bottom part of the advertisement has a lighter colour making the design more balanced.
The imagery used depicts a seemingly innocent and problem free child. A child may trigger an emotional response such as guilt among parents, especially with a child of similar age. It may invoke the parents to think about the status of their child’s eyes. These visual elements give more weight to the message of the campaign.
There are circles situated below the image. Circles are easier for the brain to perceive than hard stern edged shapes. It is easier for the brain to interpret circles and the content placed within. This is because people encounter spherical objects everyday, the sun, the moon, eggs, etc. and thus they recognize these items to be friendly and non-threatening (Harbour, 2012).
An odd visual cue in this picture is the direction of the child’s eyes. The eyes are pointed away from the message and lead the viewer’s visual paths right out of the page.
An interesting visual hint is the creating of visual paths in the advertisement. Human beings generally observe a page in a letter “F” format. They scan the top then move down from the left side. This advertisement quite literally creates a “F” by placing circles of blue tints along the left side of the advertisement. The blue tint creates a stark contrast against the off-white directing emphasis towards it (Ciotti, 2013).
Objects have been placed in order to catch the viewer’s sight. The main message starts off from the eye of the golden rectangle (Mize, 2009). It is placed strategically on the spot that is viewed at first glance. The distribution is very even throughout the page.
This advertisement is for an eye practice and not necessarily for a campaign.
There are quite a lot of colours involved in this advertisement. The basic colour scheme can be narrowed down to a complementary colour scheme (Ciotti, 2013). The background consists entirely of warm colours. They make the whole background feel very vibrant and alive but the viewer cannot interact with the background because it is blurry. This is the general message behind the advertisement.
The foreground or the focus of the poster is comprised of a blue hue, which is a cool colour. The colour blue is associated with a sense of calmness and peace (Tornetta, Fox and Blackbird, 2013)
. Our brain primarily invokes this as we see water as blue and the sky as blue. This contrasting presentation of colour itself presents a secondary meaning to the viewer, that this particular eye practice can make things better even if the whole world (the background) is swirling out of control.
The focus of this poster is entirely at the center of the image. The hand holding up the advertisement creates a first person perspective making the viewer feel more engaged. Another nuance is the coffee mug. This could also make the viewer feel like they can relate to the scenario better. The people in the picture are wearing suits. They look professional and trustworthy. They are wearing black suits. Black is associated with power. It can give the impression to the viewer that the people have the power to fix their eyes. Indications of authority or skill can increase the recognized trust (Johnson, 2008).
In addition they are also wearing blue ties. Blue as noted above is associated with tranquility, making the viewer feel peaceful. The people in the picture are also looking right at the viewer making them feel personally engaged.
The background image is that of a typical kitchen, with which can be highly related to by the viewer. The perspective of the background feels woozy, almost uncomfortably. The blurriness adds to this effect. The arrangement of elements, along with the radial viewpoint creates a “U” shaped visual path around the foreground (denoted by the cyan curve) (Mize, 2008). This lets the viewer to examine the space around it and keep coming back to the foreground of the picture.
The arrangement of elements in this picture is very tactical. The radial effect creates a circular movement around the eyes of the golden rectangle that leads the viewer’s visual path to the main content, as noted above. The focused page of the book is constrained to the middle vertical thirds (Mize, 2009).
There is a good asymmetrical or informal balance created by the placement of objects in this advertisement providing a more pleasing aesthetic.
Most of the examples (3 out of 4) used some sort of blur in order reinforce their message. This is sensible as the most common vision problem is a person’s vision blurring. This gets the message across and helps the users to relate. It can even bring out emotional responses relating to fear and guilt if they have been deliberately ignoring their vision problems.
As the examples were taken from diverse eye campaigns, there are not many similarities. Some of the examples are for awareness while others are for general ophthalmologic practices. This could be the reason for the diversity and broad spectrum of colours across the advertisements. However, the use of colours has been based on psychological impact and they have been used sometimes to demonstrate secondary meaning.
There is one aspect, however, that is the same across all the advertisements. The placement of content is virtually the same throughout. They all follow a general rule of thirds, albeit some follow horizontal thirds, while others follow vertical thirds. There is also heavy consideration given to the golden rectangle or golden ratio. They intersect with the eyes of the rectangle, which is where the viewer’s vision falls initially.
Another interesting aspect is the directing of the viewer’s visual paths in order to reinforce or keep the message within the viewer’s line of sight. This is achieved by both the use of colours as well as placement of objects in the advertisement.
From the many psychological principles to mathematical ratios I studied for this project, I have gathered that the most delicate detail can have the biggest impact on the viewer. It could be that one detail that brings a form of balance to the image, making it more pleasant on the viewer or the exact opposite.
I have observed some examples and have analysed how they incorporate the design principles as well as psychology into the designs.
I plan make psychological factors a priority in the design process.
I found the psychology of colour to be very fascinating. I will help to develop an adequate colour scheme relating to our genre, may be a triadic colour scheme with good amount of colour coordination and harmony. This way we can use the colours to create contrast while adding emphasis where needed. A potential colour option is blue, as the psychology of the colour blue is associated with cleanliness, purity and generally peace.
In addition, psychological principles such as pattern matching, Dual-Code Theory and social influence are all practical methodologies to design around. (Johnson, 2008)
These will be essential guidelines for us to decide on the most impactful imagery to include in our designs. The analysis that I have concluded shall allow me to select engaging and relatable pictures for our target audience.
The most intriguing visual cue that I observed is regarding the placement of objects as well as their size. As noted in my cumulative summary, almost all of the advertisements place a good amount of importance on arrangement, despite their diversity in nature. As part of my contribution to the group, I will design around the rule of thirds as well as the golden rectangle. This will help us to lay out our logo, taglines, content and imagery in a strategic approach in order to capture the initial and full attention of the viewer.
Finally, I hope to share my knowledge regarding visual paths and help my group base the designs around it. The visual paths are very significant in design as they keep the viewer continually engaged with the image. I can use this concept to catch the viewer’s attention or to divert the viewer’s eyes from one place to another within the poster.
Even though the amount I have studied about these principles are miniscule in quantity, collectively the knowledge I have gained is substantial. I am confident that I shall be able to assist my group in developing engaging, meaningful designs.
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