Triggers and Tactics: Resonance in Visual Design

By Veronika Kelly.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The concept of resonance can be used to contribute understanding to how visual design can trigger a connection with readers and prolong their experience of a visual text. While resonance in visual design is credited with amplifying intended meaning and urging an interpretive effort on a visual reader’s part, there is little that explores how resonance might direct or prolong one’s attention in the observation and interpretation of a visual text. Experiments by Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) in the perception of tone and phenomena of sympathetic vibration in acoustics contribute further to an interpretation of resonance for visual design. Resonance can be considered as a selective filter that directs a person’s attention, bringing focus to something that due to overall complexity within a given context, may otherwise not be noticed. This paper uses diagrams to explain concepts of resonance for visual design and draws on Michel de Certeau’s ideas of strategies, tactics and trajectories. Resonance is interpreted as dynamic and cooperational; readers reappropriate imposed systems and structures that they move in amongst, actively yet silently participating in a multiplicity of relations in the act of observing, interpreting and understanding their surroundings.

Keywords: Resonance, Visual Communication Design, Visual Text, Strategies and Tactics, Visual Emphasis, Diagrams

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 5, pp.9-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 867.276KB).

Veronika Kelly

Program Director, Visual Communication Design, Art, Architecture and Design, Division of Education Arts and Social Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Veronika Kelly has a professional background in information and motion graphics for television, digital media and print, as designer with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and in her own consultancy. Veronika’s doctoral research focuses on resonance in visual communication design and its contribution to contemporary design practice and education. In her role as Program Director at the University of South Australia, Veronika is committed to visual communication design as both ecological and ethical practice.


There are currently no reviews of this product.

Write a Review