Picture is Worth 1000 Words

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A picture is worth a thousand words. A saying we have all heard numerous times throughout our lives. I’m going to deconstruct this picture but the phrase applies to everything we have learned in this course. The principles you apply to any visual creation will speak volumes about the context, credibility and mission of the organization.

This is a representation of the statue of liberty in the United States.

What does the statue stand for? The United States as a whole. Great, now what’s next? Well, currently the United States is going through a rough time economically. There’s some context. How does that tie into the photo though? We can now use our natural understanding of emotions to draw conclusions. Her hands to her face bring two specific emotions to mind.

Sorrow and shame.

It could could either way. Could this represent that people are ashamed of what the United States is currently involved in? Or could it represent how sorry people feel for its situation?

This is the beauty of a photo. It’s open for interpretation. It stirs up emotions in people. The artist could have simply written: “I’m ashamed/sorrowful for America. But who would have cared?

A picture is worth a thousand words. Impressions can last forever.

– Chris


Just an Apple?

How can something so simple be so effective? Apple is a massive company who has a white apple as its logo. No words. Just an apple.

So, why has it worked? This apple represents something. It represents a brand. That brand has a reputation, and a great one at that.

This simple logo has semiotics behind it. It represents everything apple stands for: innovation, quality, and any other feelings people could conjugate about the company.

The power of a brand can be intense. Simple by hearing the word “Apple,” seeing the logo, or even seeing the white of its product consumers are overcome with interpretations. Those interpretations could be positive or negative and are learned through hundreds of different mediums/situations.

This all occurs through semiotics. The signified ideas that a signifier created.

An apple means more than an apple now.

An apple means every possible concept the human race has about the company. Wow. Amazing when you really consider it.

So, how can something so simple be so effective? The answer is simple: it is not an apple anymore. It is an idea disguised in a visual setting.


–          Chris

Rule of Kunis

I have a mild-severe crush on Mila Kunis. Therefore, I will write a blog post based on a movie she was in!

Here is a link to the trailer for Friends with Benefits. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJS-wWqVAyk

Last semester with Greg Pretty I remember breaking down the Twilight movie trailer for the rule of thirds. I did the same thing for this trailer.

All most every frame is based on the principles of the rule. Faces are consistently on the upper horizontal “line” and either the right or left “vertical” line facing inward. It’s so apparent when you break down the production specifically looking for the usage of the rule of thirds.

It is everywhere.

It even goes as far as nearly always having a person’s eye occupying the intersection of the imaginary lines. Nearly EVERY time.

It’s not even simply used for people though. Even landscaping photos incorporate it.

The lighthouse is located on both horizontal lines and the left vertical one. The skyline does not cut the image in half, but instead it cuts into a third of the picture. Well captured.

I just thought it was funny how much the rule of thirds is used. You don’t think of it unless you purposefully consider it but it makes images so much more appealing to the eye.

–          Chris

Photoshop “Uh oh” Moments

Photoshop has the ability to do some incredible things, but when something goes wrong… well, it goes really wrong.

This is a link to an article displaying numerous Photoshop mishaps. It is hilarious to say the least. http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/52-worst-photoshop-mistakes-in-magazines/

Let’s analyze a few of them:

1)      Where’s her leg? Obviously there was a mistake when Photoshopping this one… Awkward.

2)      Where’s the other part of his hand go? Obviously there was a slight smudging mishap here. I didn’t think their skin complexions were THAT similar.

3)      Where did her head go? Extremely poor use of the eraser tool. Quite amusing.

4)      The best one yet. I didn’t know there were humans on Earth who had three hands! Truly remarkable that there are clothes that fit them. Must be on the expensive side?

As I said before, Photoshop does do incredible things but ‘incredible’ can go both ways. Positive and negative. It has the potential to fix and change photos to improve but when people gain hands, lose legs and have chunks missing from their scalp then I think there’s a problem.

My real question to all of this though, is where was the “proof-reading” of these photos? They are all quite embarrassing.

–          Chris

Great Layout

Below I’ve posted an example of an effective layout of a website. It emphasizes most of the principles taught in class.

For my final project I helped reccomend some changes I thought would be effective for my client and his website. This layout gave me great ideas for mine.

It utilizes the CRAP principles well:

1) Contrast – It seems quite subdued until you see the blue box. “MORE.” I think it is encouraging your eyes to see more. Additionally the white text in conjunction with the dark background is excellent.

2) Repetition – It repeats patterns of boxes and placement of text.

3) Alignment – Edges are well aligned with each other. The picture stretches to the end of each text box. All the tabs are in line with each other and all the texts lines up with other text.

4) Proximity – The tabs are located next to each other but separated by a visual from the content of the site. Text boxes contain information relevant to their respective boxes.

Overall, it is a well made site. It is aesthetically appealing and exemplifies many of the core principles of good design.

– Chris

“Just Do It” Again and Again

Nike markets possibility opposed to products. It relies on symbolic signs of individuals to ignite desire in potential customers. How? Nike sponsors “big time” athletes to endorse their brand. These athletes are chosen for their journey to success.

For example, Nike has never been in the business of making bikes but it sponsored Lance Armstrong (until he admitted to doping). They sponsored him because he fought cancer, survived, and then went on to win the most grueling race on the planet. He is an inspiration to all young athletes across the world (or he was). He symbolizes certain characteristics that Nike wants to associate with their brand.

Another example is Tiger Woods. When the company signed Tiger back in 96′ Nike didn’t make golf clubs. It signed  him because he was on pace to shatter a huge racial boundary in the world of golf – a “white man’s” sport at the time. Again he is a symbolic sign of success and change. Nike wants that associate with them.

Nike’s strategy is built upon with symbols that its endorsers are. Recently, with Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius having issues this system doesn’t seem to safe but over their 50 year existence it has being instrumental in developing the company into the most successful sporting store worldwide.

– Chris G

“The Semiotics of the Tie” – Big Bang Theory

In the episode Sheldon seeks Penny’s assistance in deciphering the semiotics of the classic “tie on the door.” Penny comes over to his apartment after a quick lesson in semiotics and helps Sheldon understand that Leonard is “busy.” Sheldon puts it together and realizes that Leonard is having sex. Unhappy with the realization, Sheldon inquires what the procedure should be when Leonard comes out of the room. Penny simply laughs and goes home.

What are the semiotics here? The tie is an example of a symbolic sign. There is no obvious relationship between the signifier and signified but there is a learnt relationship. The signifier, the tie, symbolizes the signified, which is that two people are having sex in the room. Sheldon didn’t understand the symbolic sign because he never learned the relationship in college where most people do. We find this out when he mentions that he attended college at the age of 11.

Signs are extremely powerful things that show up constantly in our every day lives. They are even joked about in our favorite television shows.

Here is the clip:

– Chris G

Ray Lewis has a ridiculously large and disproportional hand? YUP


In the spirit of the incredible game this past weekend, in which the greatest defensive player and most inspirational person in world, Ray Lewis – and the Ravens – won the Super Bowl I thought this advertisement was fitting.

There are three main principles that hit me when I saw the ad:

  1. Repetition
  2. Contrast
  3. Use of a photo altering program (for the sake of simplicity let’s assume they used Photoshop)

Repetition: Old Spice is well known producer of “smell good” products like deodorant and body wash. They are known for their weird commercials and use of large men. For this ad however, I find the repetition in the company name. The words Old Spice appear three times… in this small ad. It is written on the product, in the mocking writing of Ray Lewis and on the bottom banner. I think we all know what the ad is selling after a few seconds

Contrast: The Old Spice bottles are red, is there anything else red? Of course not. The contrast causes the eye to notice what’s different which just so happens to be the red bottles of Old Spice body wash.

Photoshop: Notice the hand holding the body wash. Unless his hands are extremely disproportioned to his body and he is somehow mutated, I’m quite positive they Photoshopped his fingers to hold more products.

– Chris

H&M Issues with Models (well… part of the models)



A couple of years ago H&M founds themselves in trouble after people realized that they were simply putting model’s heads on computer generated bodies. To make it worse for H&M, they actually used the same bodies repetitively. Now, ethically this is wrong… and weird but to look at it from a “Photoshopping” perspective it is gold. 

In class we’ve went over numerous techniques in Photoshop and for many of us (at least me) understanding what to do is hard enough, actually making things look good can be tedious and difficult. In these photos the creators of the bodies did some impressive work. They matched the skin tones of each model’s face, provided enough lights on certain sections to make it look “real,” changed the clothing for every different picture and very effectively made the heads look fairly natural on each body.

There’s no question that it’s strange that they would go to such lengths to provide their clothes with a “perfect figure” (I won’t even get into that discussion) but to look at it from a creation stand point; the art is incredible.

If anyone is interested in this whole debacle, this link has a great story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2070393/H-M-putting-models-heads-generated-bodies-sell-swimwear.html#axzz2JxYtCgbu

– Chris