Compare the design (in terms of pace and contrast) of an online magazine, blog or website to that of a printed magazine, book or journal.
What differences can you see between the kinds of design strategies used in the two formats?
Write down your findings and upload it to WordPress.
In this particular case, I am lucky enough to have an edition of a magazine that has it’s own online magazine as well – Digital Foto. I subscribe to the magazine, and I like it, it’s amazing for beginners and I’m always impressed with it….that being said, when I looked at the online edition, I was kind of aghast. It sucks. If I could ever hope for a better demonstration in the varying degrees of Pace, contrast, layout and composition and have two examples farthest away from each other on the spectrum, it would be these, and apparently they are ‘one and the same’. They are not.
On the first page we see a panoramic of air balloons creating a beautiful vista with a composition that forces the eye across the pages, hitting the brightest balloon, then to the header, which leads us down, to turn the page.
There are certain features and techniques that take on visual weight more than others, red has more weight than blue, a bigger object gets more attention than a small one – controlling these contrasts allows you to attract the viewers attention by manipulating visiual weight. Coupled with
- Value (Dark has more weight than light)
- Position (Things higher in the composition have more weight than lower, the further from the center something is, the more weight it orchestrates, foreground elements have more weight than back ground ect)
- Texture (textured things take precedence over smooth or nondescript things, a texture makes things seem more alive, more three dimensional, something which has more mass than a featureless shape)
- Shape (something that has a normal or expected shape has more mass than an irregularly shaped thing; for some reason, when we see something irregularly shaped, it may get our attention, but it will appear to have less mass, like something was taken away from it.)
- Orientation (Apparently vertical objects appear to have more visual weight than horizontal -in my personal view the opposite is true but I suppose we can’t all conform to visual norms (Different eyes are attracted to different things. .) Diagonal objects carry the most weight.)
All of this is elegantly coved by Rudolf Arnheim in his book Art and Visual Perception: A psychology of the Creative eye.
Attractive weight forces at work.
Now the physical copy of Digital Foto has these things in droves, it’s almost textbook Gestalt….But – to be kind…the online version, is less educated perhaps?
All my eye is attracted to is the ADS! Clearly that was the point…But to what end? It visually cheapens the whole affair! It actually made me want to sever my subscription to the aforesaid, beautiful magazine!
This alone shows the impact of composition, or rather, the lack of it. Is this really the same company? They are making the same mistake a lot of american retailers make (observed this while being a manager for an american retail chain in Norway):
What did you see there?
What did you RETAIN?
Probably the sneaking feeling that Gamestop is having a sale, but what else?
Any specifics? Probably not – it’s all MUSH.
It’s designed (and everything within it is designed) to attract your attention all the time.
All of it.
So none of it does.