The Visualisation Process:
Order and representation:
Symbols - a case study:
'Symbols' conceived in the
context of environmental directional signage, and one that is specifically
intended as a public service facility, is being seen here as having the
potentials for constructing an effective graphical interface between the
user and the intended facility; the objective is to facilitate the activities
of locating, identifying, informing and directing the user through the
various gamut of activities of a given service facility.
This paper has been written from
the perspective of the designer, who is the producer of these representations,
and who seeks to appropriately construct these representation through
an amalgamation of approaches viz., the generative approach, which consists
of a search for effective images; and the constructive approach, which
comprises one's ability to visualize images that are required to be converted
into graphical symbols.
It is being contended here that these
graphical symbols have to be conceived from the point of these being easily
recognizable, and hence represent themselves as a derivative of contextually
familiar images. It follows, therefore, that when there is sufficient
iconicity or resemblance between the visual representation and the content
it refers to, these are relatively easy to visualize. But when this is
not the case, the representation of the message areas could need methods
that would have to attempt to understand/ visualize how these are perceived
by the user, and only subsequent to which can emerge as a result of such
Assuming that the designer uses one
of the above methods, or uses his own interactions within the environment
as a substantive basis, or draws upon reserve of existing solutions; and
then evaluates and identifies the semantic requirements of the said image;
he will now be required to convert these into an appropriate symbol.
This aforesaid process is being considered
as a method for constructing a level of visual order, where the paper
tries to identify and isolate these very formal features that go to define
the characteristics of the graphic 'symbol'. Such identification of the
necessary syntax eventually helps to articulate the visual language that
seems to govern the process of symbol design.
As an interesting extension of the
above mentioned methodology, one could formulate a set of formal modifications
of structural constructs for these representations, that might lead to
having a diversity of visual styles in a manner similar to variations
offered by typefaces (this portion has been excluded in this summary).
For this paper, this processual section
has been followed up by a case study of symbols design which are meant
to serve as part of environmental signage for public hospitals located
in urban India.