Musing 005

Forming a Picture
When trying to understand an environment we form our own mental image of the surrounding area, but how is this picture formed? How do we take the snippets of information we see and process them? Is it as simple as piecing a jigsaw puzzle? If there are gaps do we still read the information? In some instances we can form a good picture without having 100% of the information, but this can also lead to a misinterpretation. For numberous reasons I have always found Austin Kleon’s blackout poems intriguing, but in this context it helps to demonstrate that by manipulating information and keeping some elements hidden, you can change the original intention, meaning and context.

Many aspects of wayfinding include the manipulation of information, a manipulation that encourages and area or an environment to be used and navigated in a specific way. We hide information for the benefit of the user, but is this also a form of deception? For example, living in London for 3 years now I know that in some instances if I ignored the information presented to me on the underground network and used different passageways at interchanges, I might actually be able to cut down the distance I travel. In some wayfinding scenarios, manipulating information and forming a false image can help to process and manage people and their movement. How wayfinding designers choose to form a picture is key and can vary greatly in different scenarios.

How do we see and interpret the information given to us?

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