Visual Dynamics

“Becoming aware of how you look at things is useful in understanding how best to construct
the visual dynamic of your own design work. Go back to your visual diary, 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?”

I can’t say I fully grasp visual dynamics yet so umm…I think the pictures I’ve collected are quite varied, and not necessarily primarily about layout or typography. I’ll try and comment on some themes.

What many of these pictures seem to have in common is contrast, which could be about texture, colour, or tone. Sometimes movement.

Rachel’s picture.There are very dark areas, in contrast to the white light of the window, the texture of the stone wall, the wood and ironwork. The thing that grabs me most is the atmosphere.


Moving to the packaging, I can see there is high contrast in tone, with plain white background.The bunting is angled in towards the lettering.The stripey buckets and circles keep my eye moving.The logo is again, high contrast.


The main collection of images some contain objects that have lovely fluid shapes, for example the chinese horse, he is also moving towards us, and forming a triangular shape and takes up two thirds of the picture (I can’t work out phi, but I’ve read about it in terms of composition!) The lines of the display area are also moving towards us.

photo 1

There are two posters, the large dark butterfly dominates, sets off the colours, and has subtle movement with the ragged wings, birds, the deep V between the wings, and the teardrops below. (I’d really love to be able to do this sort of thing!)


The simple typography poster is great, its just absolutely pared down, the leading is very tight, and it has lots of movement in the letterforms.


The ceramics,and fabrics are mostly eye catching because of their colour, though the blue tile would still look lovely in black and white. The large area of white space enhances the patterned area.The lace butterfly looks great on black, and has pretty flowing curves.

photo 31b

Sometimes the space between objects has tension, because we mentally follow an invisible dotted line. I can see this is in the Saladore Dali foot.

photo 3

The graffiti is high contrast and energetic. The composition of the photo with strong diagonal lines taking up three quarters a the picture makes the image stand out even more.(Is that vertical a good contrast, or a bit distracting? I don’t know enough about this to say!)

photo 5

And finally, the vintage style pics are more about mood and atmosphere than composition, though the mother and child is a strong image

photo 4photo 3

At the risk of going on and on… I do feel a bit frustrated that I can sometimes see why something “works”, but I struggle to actually do it myself. Hopefully this will develop.

I have a new addition to my swipe file. Along with posters, colours, web designs etc, I er…I have lots of pictures of dvd covers. They are action films (screen shots from Netflix) Its been interesting to try and pick apart what works, and group them into themes. Even though some of them are cheesy, they have high impact. I might try another genre next…

Here’s some late additions to my visual diary


I don’t totally understand why these work, but the left hand one is quite simliar to some of the dvd designs i looked at. –

A circle/ target point, with lines leading towards it. This also forms a strong triangular shape, which adds to the impact.

I thought about where my eye was leading me around these adverts, then I asked my partner what he saw. He could name the order he viewed instantly. I wonder if your first response is more accurate, as I get confused trying to analyse it.

Advert 1

My partner’s response = top (pink speckles), middle (circle with text), bike

Me =  I was not sure if I noticed the words first or even the bike…

Advert 2

Both of us = Left text, bike, right text (we saw the same order with this one)

This makes me wonder though, do we all view things the same way? Maybe there are some variations in the way that we look?  For example,perhaps I was drawn to the circular shape, and my partner, to the colour. It also makes me wary of over thinking these things, and that I should leave my “head” out of it, and go with my instincts.





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