Inside The Visual Mind


Seeing things visually requires that you frame it.

Sounds obvious but without that frame the ‘thing’ has no value. It is out of any context. In reality it will not be observable, meaningful or properly consumed. If the eye is allowed to wander outside the intended field then the audience is lost. That of course could be intentional. Well fine.

In art the frame is an easy idea to recognize but in decision making and problem solving the idea is every bit the boundary. The frame in this context demands that the content has to qualify in vital ways or it just doesn’t make it.

Creating the frame informs the visual mind what to collect and how to stimulate and cajole the audience. The idea of shock and provocation is the idea. Positive of course.

The frame is a beguilingly simple idea but choosing it can be the difference between success and failure. In fact the frame itself can then either disappear or be the whole idea.

Selecting the content based on a frame makes complete sense but that essence of the skill is just the beginning. Considering the amount of available choices in the material available is the core contribution of the creative – the visual mind. Making impossible choices is the domain of the creative. The wrong choice immediately shows. It looks wrong and for some viewers they will not know why but they will not be persuaded it looks OK either – it will be wrong.

Making it right is an impossibly complex calculation. It somehow fits.

The ‘somehow’ will be down to a deep knowledge of design, an innate recognition of what adds up. There is no immediate, obvious or detailed rationale – it’s all macro and meta. It’s about the frame and the place of the content.

Does the the choice conform to what we know the frame asks? Does the choice improve the end result? Is there a better way to place it within the frame? Could we argue that with the critics? Is everything we know about the frame present in the microcosm of the chosen element?

The choice of material will confound the casual observer. It will not be immediately apparent as to why that works – only when you stand back and look at the whole will the material and the frame make complete sense.

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