My creative decision making during this assignment has developed through my final three outcomes; the academic paper, the journalistic article and the graphic visualisation cards. Although the written work was more centred on my approach to research as opposed to the cards where I had to make a lot of visual decisions. Therefore I will use this text to discuss the cards as they represent the opportunity where my creative decision making was most prominent. This decision will allow me to explicate the thinking behind my working processes.
After looking at existing examples of probes and playful playing cards I decided that the colour scheme of all of these cards should remain black and red. After looking at David Carson’s Book of Probes I am not very fond of colour as I think it can cause unnecessary noise and distraction. I also decided to invert the usual colour association of playing cards. So, diamonds and hearts will be black and clubs and spades red. This was a very bold decision to make however these cards are my opportunity to be playful with design and step out of the box and experiment with conventions and ambiguity. At the same time I feel it is a design choice which will not confuse the user. It is something that is quite minor but at the same time it has a big impact.
The reason behind this is to represent the colossal transition we are experiencing from two different modes of thinking. Essentially this is the core idea of my project and by reversing the conventions of colour, this somewhat represents this dramatic overhaul of existing ideas that have been set in place for such a long time.
Another factor to consider in the creative decision making was what type face to use. I decided against a sans serif font as although it is more contemporary (which my subject matter is) it is likely to reduce comprehension and reading rates (http://www.awaionline.com/2011/10/the-best-fonts-to-use-in-print-online-and-email/). I found that some sans fonts though were quite difficult to read because of the design in letters where it drew attention to itself and required a short moment of attention. This is what I wanted to avoid as the content of the cards was meant to be subtle and something for the user to browse over and digest naturally. Therefore if an aspect of the design causes a break in this natural experience then I have a problem. This therefore was a very important decision.
A very big aspect I had to consider was the way I would portray the messages and the language I would use to help achieve my intentions. However I had already decided that the written pieces were my opportunity to be very precise in my examination and critic of this subject and the cards were a way to provide a very open and ambiguous representation of my idea. Therefore I decided that the design could be very open to interpretation. This was to allow the users to create their own understanding of the ideas that I have put forward and I really liked this aspect. So, on some cards there is very little given meaning. However I have examples where the meaning of the card is very clear and this was to establish a basic level of understanding throughout. I felt this was something that was very important to ensure there was a good balance in the language and execution of the design. I also ensured that the design was clear and avoided any noise by thorough planning of the cards. In one sense, the cards are actually quite minimalistic but I believe the design is very meaningful and strong in what it suggests. Avoiding noise was also important to ensure higher rates of comprehension and absorption.
I also made these cards with the intention that they could serve a secondary purpose by being distributed in digital format on a mobile device and so my creative decisions somewhat reflected this aspect.
Obviously my target audience and the products dissemination were at the heart of all these decisions and I think that I made sound design decisions based on research, justification and knowledge of my product as opposed to just ‘what I thought would be good’. I also placed emphasis on high comprehension and readability and looked to address aspects of visual design to help achieve this. Items such as the use of typeface and font size, consistency of the card design and colour were important to avoid noise and unwanted distraction to again improve the comprehension rate.
Also, I decided to print off physical copies of my paper and article to hand in as well as digital copies. Usually I would just hand in digitally but I did this for 2 reasons. The first is that as I am handing in the playing cards which are physical, it would be aesthetically pleasing to hand in all 3 outcomes in physical format so they could be seen beside each other and appreciated more. More importantly, during my research I found that there are studies which indicated that paper based reading results in better comprehension and absorption rates (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/) and so I felt that is a wise choice to put this notion into practice and further demonstrate my understanding of both my subject matter and project.
Wood, J. (2011) The Best Fonts to Use in Print, Online and Emsil. [online] Available at: http://www.awaionline.com/2011/10/the-best-fonts-to-use-in-print-online-and-email/ [Accessed on 11/08/15]
Jabr, F. (2013) ‘The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens’. Scientific American. April [online] Available at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/ [Accessed on 09/07/15]