[Scribus] Example of what...[OT]

scribus at bloomingpouf.com scribus
Fri Oct 12 13:12:03 CEST 2007

Greg's comments on Psychology and Design - what a wonderful thing to 
have happen!

Having spent years working in different areas of the visual media from 
Theatre - Film - TV - Event Management - and design it is too true that 
the Psychology of what the viewer sees and apprehends is all too often 
forgotten,  ignored and sidelined due to the fixed attitudes of the 
person who is the designer. It's like the difference between the spoken 
word and the written word. Writing copy which gives the reader the 
perception that they are being addressed directly is a play on the 
readers psychology and their perception. The same is true of Visual 
Perception and an area that is sorely ignored in the design field.

Again having to prepare designs where there is multiple input by 
committee is a headache - and as we say on this (GB) side of the pond - 
"A Committee Takes Minutes and Wastes Hours!" - and "..Is An Animal With 
A Minimum Of Six Legs And NO Brain!".

It is quite interesting how folks at the design stage fail to look at 
the image in front of them and only view content. I have been working 
with a voluntary organisation in laying out promotional materials and 
having a degree in Psychology and extensive design experience across 
many fields, I have been using ever perceptual trick in the book to deal 
with a number of Intransigent Officials and those with an egocentric 
view of design and their views of personal importance in the design 
process. One simple example is one person insisting that an black and 
white image be shrunk on a page when text was set to block against the 
image. They could see no problem with the text suddenly jutting out 
under the image and terminating half way under the image - leaving text 
hanging in mid air.

I just replaced the image with a grey colour block replaced all text 
with Lorem Ipsum and then bang it out as an image file. Shrink the page 
image from say A4 to just 200 px wide and then ask folks to express a 
preference as to which one they prefer - and low and behold they all go 
for the one that has no hanging text. That settled that one in just 
three minutes. The images presented were so small they could see no text 
- but they could see a black line in the wrong place.

Distorting a face to have more baby like features - folks prefer the 
image that has the features of a child! There are deep rooted biological 
imperatives within us that deeply affect how we receive information 
visually... and failing to heed these causes designs to fail or give at 
best a poor message and at worst the wrong message.

In the same way, I was asked to prepare a poster design for a voluntary 
group raising money for a charity at a music concert. Historically these 
posters had prepared these using Ms Word and produced finished designs 
that were of such poor quality that the Charity were refusing to allow 
their name to be used in future. The design was damaging the charities 
image and reputation.

Replacing the past efforts with full colour - strong bold images and 
highly visible text created quite a wow factor.... then the politics 
began with the conductor demanding that their name had to be a certain 
size and that the names of soloists and orchestra leader had to be 
included in specific positions ... all these demands destroyed the image 
and with it the message. Again simply preparing two versions replacing 
all text with Lorem Ipsum and showing both as small images settled the 
arguments quickly. The design that worked on the viewer was adopted and 
the one that dealt with Ego and Personal perception and egocentric 
demands was rejected as it blocked the message. Creating Consensus is a 
trick that is easy if you know how!

Giving the folks the chance to cut their own throats psychological is 
tool that really should be built into Scribus... but I'm sure the 
programmers would want to patent such a a facility as it would be far 
too valuable for just open source P^))

It is important that designers don't get carried away with design, 
believing it is the be all and end all - it's the person apprehending 
the image/design - the reader/viewer who is in reality the most 
important person!

However, I have seen one design recently where inverse psychology was 
used to dissuade clients from ordering one product and focus their 
attention on another - the company had a better deal on the second 
product and higher margins - so the design was altered to deal with 
marketing needs. Some purists would argue that this was a perversion of 
the design process and the work of the designer - but in reality it 
addressed the viewer and focused them where the company required!

Also, it is important that all clients are respected and creating a 
design in any form that addresses the needs of the visually impaired is 
a priority. If in doubt about a design it's a good trick to convert to 
an image and use the Colour Display Facility In GIMP to check the 
perception of folks with different forms of visual perception deficits - 
Protanopia - Deuteranopia - Tritanopia - and you can also use the Gimp 
implementation of ICC colour profiling to good effect as well! Doing 
this at the earliest stage checking colours used and text on colour can 
reveal one hell of a lot and allow for decisions to be made on colour 
combinations that  whilst not exactly what the designer has in mind will 
ensure that all viewers of the finished product can extract information 
that is useful!

The Scribus colour settings are useful to achieve this, but fail to 
allow for the designer to really see any problems in real world ways and 
look at a whole design of the fly.

If it were possible to have print preview with suitable filtering to 
check for visual deficits activated as required, this would be a bonus 
in Scribus. It would also protect the amateur designer who is cutting 
their teeth on Scribus from falling into this trap!

Again. Greg's input on Design / Psychology and Neurology are most on 
point and most welcome.



Gregory Pittman wrote:
> dbeach at klikmaker.com wrote:
>> This is my first submission to this mailing list. If it's not  
>> appropriate for this list, I apologize in advance.
>> http://www.klikmaker.com/pdf/211TestPage.pdf
> Let me apologize if what I am about to say offends anyone, but let me 
> preface it to say that as I look at the page, it's a bit disheartening 
> to see sophisticated tools being used to end up with a design with 
> problems. I am not a publishing or design person; oddly enough, I'm a 
> neurologist, who just happens to have an interest in design and how it 
> works, in my case mostly in relationship to information transmission and 
> education. There are a collection of books by Edward Tufte, the first 
> entitled "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" which are in 
> themselves excellent examples of design and printing, but show much more 
> than what I am going to refer to here.
> The problems go back to the page's purpose, in this case to attract a 
> customer to the page, and then allow him/her to extract the needed 
> information and use it. In the end, the necessary information is the 
> names and descriptions of the items, and the catalog numbers. Everything 
> else is arbitrary, including the white spaces in various areas, and 
> should be used to help the eye home in on the necessary information and 
> allow easy reading.
> Generally I see all the headers and descriptions, most of the pictures 
> as reasonably appropriate for this. On the other hand, the horizontal 
> red lines, and the various black lines, while perhaps (but maybe not) 
> necessary, draw attention needlessly to them -- the brain is 
> perceptually drawn to red, and there are parts of the brain that get 
> quite excited with horizontal or vertical lines, especially in rows. 
> Thus, it's harder to see the "real" information around or between. My 
> advice would be to try out switching red lines to gray and thinner, 
> trying to do away with the black lines altogether -- information 
> arranged in rows and columns and tabulated forms its own structure even 
> without the lines -- or if they're felt needed, thinner (fraction of a 
> point) and gray.
> Perhaps something of a personal choice, maybe legibility, is the white 
> typeface on red background for the catalog numbers. Especially when 
> there is excess red, it's quite distracting visually, and one wonders if 
> it's really necessary. What's wrong with dark red on white? Maybe bold 
> black on white? What is the most legible in various kinds and 
> intensities of illumination?
> The nice thing about DTP is that once you have a design layout, you can 
> play with elements, colors, positioning and decide for yourself what 
> works, what is more or less attractive, and get some consensus. Some of 
> these changes I'm suggesting would lead to a simpler design that ends up 
> being less work for you.
> Greg
> _______________________________________________
> Scribus mailing list
> Scribus at nashi.altmuehlnet.de
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