Distinction and Differentiation Perception Through Communication the Definition of Design

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Distinction and Differentiation

Perception through Communication

The Definition of Design

Design in any context can be looked upon in a number of different ways. It is seen as a form of communication through visuals. It is dependant on the here and now and the knowledge behind the viewer at any given point. There can be a multitude of meanings to any design coherent with the elements and principles explored and executed within the work. Within the readings from Stroud, Bourdieu, and Johnson, an insight is provided into the art of design and aspects are brought together to convey the concept; Stroud for the wavering of opinion and experience from a subjective sense, Bourdieu further cements this theory of difference through taste and Johnson reiterates the variance between opinions of the same notion. To further demonstrate the variance which occurs when exploring the definition of design, two artists’ works, Charles Nuttell and Tom Roberts depiction of The Opening of the Commonwealth Parliament are looked upon for insight.

If the particular definition of dialogue; an exchange of ideas or opinions, is looked at and applied to the notion of design, the communication factor within design can be realised. Design is a communication between the maker or artist and the viewer. One is entitled to ones own opinions based on the way the design is portrayed to a particular viewer. This is why in many instances within the design world there are a multitude of answers and expressiveness applied to any one design.

To differentiate connotation of what may be deciphered from a design; the elements and principles are brought into play to convey a sense of understanding. Firstly the elements and principles need to be laid out. The elements consist of; line, the graphic unifier; shape, the perceivable area; space, the illusion of depth; value, the relative light and darkness; colour, the colour theory; and texture, the surface quality - actual or simulated. The principles of design are inclusive of; balance, equalising the visual weight of elements; rhythm, variety and repetition; unity, the feeling of harmony between elements; proportion, the relative size within the work; movement, the path of the viewers eye; and emphasis, the focal point. When bringing both the elements and principles together designs can be realised in a physical sense, and meaning may be derived from the works due to the presence of these aspects.

Within the readings looked upon the concept of design is explored. Stroud makes a very clear point of difference within his reading by identifying concise ways in which an identical situation may be relayed in two completely different means. He gives an example of two commuters travelling the same journey, and deciphers the radically different thoughts behind the way in which each commuter views their journey. This theory can be interpreted and applied to design practice.

Solidifying the many different aspects the concept of design has. We look to the reading by Pierre Bourdieu; within ‘The aesthetic Sense as the Sense of Distinction’, we come to the realisation that with each different person there may be a different meaning. As Bourdieu relays it, “tastes are the practical affirmation of an inevitable difference.”

To put these two views of difference in opinion into context, the most tangible means is to look upon design within an artwork. It is necessary to decipher how an occurrence of an event can be relayed in more than one context due to the artists’ wavering view of the concept of design. In this instance the chosen source is the event of The Opening of the Australian Commonwealth Parliament. The event took place in 1901, and two artists were commissioned to interpret the event in their own way. The result; Charles Nuttall’s ‘The Opening Commonwealth Parliament’ (Appendix One), and Tom Roberts’ ‘The Big Picture’ (Appendix Two).

Charles Nuttall’s depiction of the first parliament sought to...
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