Exercise 1 : Identifying visual communications with examples of each type of communication
In the 1950’s Lucky Strike advertising tapped into women’s fears of gaining weight. Using an attractive image infers that if you smoke Lucky Strike, you too will be pretty and slim.
With more knowledge and information about the dangers of smoking the persuasive adverts are now to frighten smokers into giving up by using images such as coffins and statistics. ( More people die by smoking than by suicide)
Both images play into the fears and concerns people have.
The short film made by Great Ormond Street Hospital features a child explaining what happens when one is admitted to the Puffin Ward. This is a useful way for children to be informed about their hospital stay, The use of a child narrator and film of the actual venue would prepare the child and parent for what to expect in an otherwise stressful situation.
The green sign shows a fire exit. No words are needed with such a clear image. the use of green as the internationally understood colour for “Go”, adds to the message.
3. Identity design
The McDonald’s adverts mostly do not use the name as the “M” is now so readily recognised. I particularly like this American sculpture advert with the coffee pot and cup. As much as I may not approve or like the fast food they serve, I can enjoy this advert.
The British Heart Foundation logo is another strongly identifiable image. The suggestion of a readout from a heart monitor incorporated into a warm symbol of the heart shape is one which tells the viewer that the organisation cares.
4. Authorial content
Nick Bantock creates these beautiful books intelligently written for adults. His illustrations include envelopes which open and letters which can be removed and read.
5. Interactive Design
This interactive touchscreen advert allows the viewer to make the dog run, catch a ball, eat a bowl of Pedigree dog food. It is an appealing idea and I imagine it would attract attention but perhaps more from younger people and children.
The water wall is a fascinating interactive design which teaches about the value of water. The intriguing design and variety of experience seems really attractive. It is unfortunate that it is referred to as a water board, given the connotations of water boarding and torture.
6. Alternative Messages
Two alternative signs, one could be described as a piece of site-specific art. It is of its time and I can imagine this photograph in a historical exhibition in years to come.
I especially like the way the hand-written sign which utilises rhyme, has a face above it. Again, a piece of art in itself.
In what ways do these images make reference to broader ideas of visual culture?
Although I have attempted to interpret these images, I am aware that other viewers may have different responses to them. There are learned signs, such as traffic lights which are internationally recognised. We learn that the green light means go and the red light means stop. In the example of the information sign of the fire exit, the colour green is used as a shared understanding.
In the example of the fracking sign, the biblical reference to the ten commandments might not be understood by someone outside of the Abrahamic traditions. However, given the placing of the sign in a country with a heritage of Judeo-Christianity, the impact would probably be as intended.