reading 2

February 3, 2009

The reading was very interesting. I’ve never read something that clearly explains the reason for page lay-out and the use of typography and other visual elements. Because of its clarity and detailed information in explaining the process of “the multi-media of text,” I was able to understand things that I’ve been curious about. 

At the beginning Wysocki discusses characteristics of academic texts. She states that academic texts do not rely on visual forms or colors, and that “readers are not suppose to be aware of layout of a page or typefaces used.” However, as we read through the article, the content and the subheads are treated differently using sans-serif and serif typeface. If readers are not suppose to be aware of these design elements, why differentiate? visually, sans-serif and serif typefaces are very different, and one can easily distinguish the two. Subheads and the content are treated in this manner for their readability and to convey that they are two different elements (that the writer wants the readers to read them separately). This being said, readers are not suppose to, but they naturally react to it, and they are aware of these design elements even in academic writings. 

The article also mentions visual system of various genres. There are specific rules to designing for different media. But how were these sets of rules developed? We, the users, are pretty much aware of visual arrangements for different genres, and probably would be able to distinguish the styles, but how were these systems developed at first? what are the method or the concept behind these visual systems that are generated for various media of text?

Brief discussion regarding logo design stood out to me. Wysocki uses an example of mountain that represents solid/reliable characteristics of an insurance company. but if an image of mountain was used as part of the logo, wouldn’t it represent different meaning as well? .. like eco-friendliness, nature, science, etc…  when developing an identity using the concept of a “mountain” for this insurance co., how would we only be able to enhance the idea of the company being “solid/reliable?” I’m not sure if I’m communicating well enough for some to understand what I’m thinking, but designing a logo has always been a problem for me, because when I finally decide my concept and illustrate an image that fits the characteristics of the subject, it always represents dual meaning. 

The article stresses the amount of work that goes into publication, which I think is very important to realize. But the reality is that the designers, or numerous hands that contribute to publishing do not get enough respect by the society. Every time I spend great amount of time choosing an appropriate typeface/visual elements or designing layouts, my friends would say that I shouldn’t put any effort into my work, because people (the reader) wouldn’t even notice the difference. However, this article really explains the “reason” for designers’ existence in this society, and I really appreciated that. There are so many components that apply to designing a single page, and I just hope that people would just “notice” the difference that the designers bring into this world.

Typeface section was very interesting, especially the blackletter. When some texts were written in blackletter, I had trouble reading it. It took me forever. Blackletters are difficult to read because our eyes are so used to seeing roman typefaces, but if roman typefaces were never invented, maybe we would actually be comfortable reading blackletters. It’s amazing to see how these transformations have enhanced readability and clarity.

Typeface, layout, or visual elements are important in web design. However, at this point, these components act as basic fundamental tools. I feel like users are looking for something more “innovative.” It seems like flash has been a key method to attract the users. Also, I think “accessibility” is the most important part of web design.


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