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Images are as vital in graphic design as type, yet graphic design theory barely touches on image. This project is a book for which the researcher has a research fellowship. It seeks to establish means by which pictures can be evaluated. The book will be published in 2012.
The aim of the research is to explain the paradox that we are able to communicate more accurately through less accurately rendered images. The book will investigate how the human visual system, evolved over time by looking only upon the natural world in all its detailed reality, can look upon a stick-figure and make an emotional and intellectual connection. The design implications of this peculiar faculty of the visual system are explained. Recent developments in the fields of perceptual psychology and the physics of vision are brought to bear to explain the appeal of simplified drawings over accurate photographic images, and to explain which specific communication tasks drawing and photography are good for.