(4-6) Directing the Eyes
The chapter in VIsual Language for Designers on "Directing the Eye" offered some great brain-research-based ways to help graphic designers lead the viewer's eye in controlled ways through an image - from the most important information to the least. Some of those are summarized as follows:
- Viewers eyes tend to begin at the top-left edge and travel right and down. One way to bring a viewer's attention to the most important information or focal point is to place it where viewers are going to look first - at the top.
- Viewers eyes tend to follow lines, direction, or movement. These things can lead the eye to a particular point in an image.
- Contrast immediately demands a viewer's attention.
- Explicit directions, such as numbering, or arrows, will guide the eye through a design.
- Our eyes are wired to look at faces - if an image of a person is on a graphic, we will follow the direction of their gaze.
- Color cues can also direct our eyes through an image. For example, color could be used to identify the most important points in a graphic.
As you take a look at these two pizza ads, the one that is better designed is easily recognized. Altun's Kebap & Pizza-Haus ad is a chaotic mess. It's hard for your eyes to know what to look at first - so you start at the top. Message priority is hard to determine because of the many different font sizes used.
In the ad at right, we are immediately presented with the most important message at the top of the page - Best PIZZA. Secondary to that because it's placed right below in smaller print - For just $5.
The eye then comes to an appetizing image of a pizza as we continue down the page. We run into the diagonal lines of the fork and knife which directs our eyes to the business information at the bottom of the graphic.
Now that you understand ways a designer can lead a viewer's eyes, look at other ads online or in magazines. Can you find ads that use any of these methods well?
Page last updated December 12, 2017