Visualizing Visuality / Interactive Tools for Visual Literacy

Completion Date: 
2006
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To become literate and articulate in the domain of images, to be competent in understanding the nature and structure of visual messages, is to be keenly aware of one’s vision. It also means mastering a common set of terms attached to what one sees and creates. Attaining this comprehensive understanding of visual form is the task of a design student.

Drawing on analog pedagogical precedents, this thesis sets out to examine the ways in which dynamic media can be used as a unique aid to vision, a means to impart greater insight into the designer’s vocabulary. Through two interactive tools, RandStudio and LetterForm, my thesis investigates how using motion and the principles of interactivity to visualize information can complement traditional approaches to teaching visual literacy.

RandStudio is a system designed to help students analyze the work of master designer Paul Rand. By letting users manipulate practically all of the visual elements in a classic Rand poster, the project guides them to discover the formal mechanics behind Rand’s refined simplicity.

LetterForm is an interactive tool that illustrates typographic terminology and allows students to explore the elemental formal properties of the letterform. Both case studies help students to become more aware of the communicative potential of formal decisions—of the dynamic correlation between form and communication—by providing the opportunity to drive dynamic
transformation of form on screen.

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