LRGalleryembed

Click on the image to bring up the interactive animation file and then click on the text.
Based on my notes from: Davis, M., (2012) Graphic Design Theory, London: Thames and Hudson.

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smugmug

Click on the image to bring up the interactive animation file and then click on the text.
Based on my notes from: Davis, M., (2012) Graphic Design Theory, London: Thames and Hudson.

Adobe Animate WordPress Embed

There are a range of different options for embedding Adobe Animate files into WordPress, each of which is appropriate for different purposes.

Video embed

The simplest is embedding a video file exported from Animate as mp4 and
uploaded directly to WordPress through the media library and embedded into a Gutenberg video block. This has the best image and animation quality and the native video WordPress video player has its own play controls, screen enlarge and sound controls. Additional styling can be done through custom CSS (I need to work out how to do this). But there is no interactivity.

iFrame embed

To get interactivity it is necessary to publish the .fla file as html canvas into a folder. Then upload the folder via the server webspace into the wp-content folder and get a URL. For the version below the code entered into the code editor was:

This has the advantage of giving interactivity directly on screen, but has no enlarge function. The styling may shift somewhat and the animation is a bit choppy.

See also this tutorial I had to adapt to the new WordPress.

How to integrate Animate Files into WordPress

Interactive image link embed

A better option – having uploaded the folder and obtained a URL – is to upload a poster image as gif or jpg and embed this an an image block, then in the image link dialogue in wordpress copy the URL address. This then brings up the interactive animation in full screen, with better image quality and playback.

Participatory theory

!!to be further developed and updated with links to recent resources and to link specifically to discussions on VisCom as I develop these. I need to decide whether I cover other methodologies – probably (as I have already written extensively elsewhere) I only focus on the PALS processes I developed, using the questions below as a framework for the Participatory VisCom Protocol.

Source: Mayoux, L 2005 Between Tyranny and Utopia: Participatory Evaluation for Development and references therein (also many other reviews and published articles by me on these issues that I need to relocate/upload on gamechangenetwork and then link.)

[When Participatory Learning and Action is done well] “local people, and especially the poorer, enjoy the creative learning that comes from presenting their knowledge and their reality. They say they see things differently. It is not just that they share knowledge with outsiders. They themselves learn more than anyone knew alone. The process is then empowering, enabling them to analyse their world, and can lead into their planning and action. It is not the reality of the outsider which is transferred and imposed but theirs which is expressed, shared and strengthened. In this final reversal, it is more the reality of local people than that of outsider professionals that counts.

(Chambers 1994c and quoted in a number of donor agency Evaluation Manuals)

Participatory development methodologies have their roots in organizational, research and planning methodologies developed in the 1970s.  They include particularly:

  • ‘Activist Participatory Research’ (APR) and Participatory Action Research (PAR): techniques for community conscientisation and mobilisation developed under the various names of
  • Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA), Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) diagrams and oral research techniques which originated in farming systems research and anthropology
  • Appreciative Inquiry and ‘DIPs’ (Deliberative and Inclusionary
    processes) focusing on community-based participatory planning, including evaluation of existing policies
  • NGO experimentation with systems of internal participatory
    monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment.
  • World Bank participatory consultations in the form of Beneficiary
    Assessment and use of participatory methods generally in a series of Participatory Poverty Assessments by the World Bank at the end of the 1990s.
  • Empowerment Evaluation looked at ways of facilitating people to conduct their own evaluations as individuals as well as groups.

These participatory processes vary widely in:

  • the actual purpose of the participation and who initiates it
  • who is participating and how participants are selected
  • stages in a project where participation occurs
  • tools and processes involved – whether these are pictorial or verbal
  • ways in which participation is linked to decision-making.

Participation as transformation?

Participatory development methodologies have been promoted on the basis of a number of arguments:

  • Rights argument: Participation, and particularly and explicitly participation of the poorest and most vulnerable participants is a human right and an inherent and indivisible component of pro-poor development strategies and empowerment.
  • Effectiveness argument: Participation of the main stakeholders increases the accuracy of information and relevance to the realities of peoples’ lives and policy decision and implementation processes.
  • Cost-efficiency argument: Involvement of the main stakeholders increases ownership of the development process, better use of resources and is likely to enable mobilisation local resources to augment or even substitute those from outside
  • Process argument: the participatory process, through building skills, capacities and networks is a contribution in itself to pro-poor development, civil society and empowerment.

Participation as Tyranny?

Since the mid-1990s, parallel to the rapid expansion of participatory methods, have been a series of critiques of both practice and the underlying theoretical underpinnings of these methods. ‘Participation’ in the sense of ‘taking part’ in collective forms of action and decision-making at some level and between some individuals is an inherent part of all social life. Even slaves ‘participated’ in the building of ancient and recent empires. Many people ‘participated’ in the Nazi rebuilding of Germany and in ethnic cleansing of minority groups. There is nothing inherently desirable about ‘participation’ per se.

Many of the theoretical critiques of participatory development have their roots in very much earlier debates about the nature of democracy and political systems for representation.

  • Participatory development cannot be seen as a substitute for strategic policies to address poverty, inequality and empowerment.
  • Participatory processes, even those initiated from the ‘bottom-up’ are not necessarily either inclusive or egalitarian. People’s Movements frequently exclude or marginalise the very poor, women and other disadvantaged groups.
  • Outsiders may further reinforce existing inequalities because of their ignorance of local inequalities and/or their dependence on these power structures to gain access to ‘communities’. Reference to ‘cultural sensitivity’ and the need for ‘community participation’ are often cited as reasons for not addressing gender issues without even consulting women or men about gender concerns they may have.

A key concern in critiques of participatory methods from the empowerment/rights perspective has been the ways in which development agencies (from multilateral agencies to NGOs) and politicians have used the rhetoric of participation and participatory development to mask processes in which participation is extremely superficial and/or unequal and/or manipulated to support their own ends.

Participatory Development: Some key questions

Participatory development which aims to make a significant contribution to poverty eradication and empowerment must be constantly reflecting on the following questions:

  • Why is participation being advocated
  • Who is participating
  • When they are participating
  • How they are participating
  • Who benefits from the participatory process
  • Who benefits from the outcomes.

The understanding of the participatory pictorial methodologies being explored here is that goal of participatory development needs to be clearly this last issue ie ensuring that the poorest and most vulnerable people benefit most from the outcomes of the participatory process. It is this concern which should determine decisions about who participates, how and when and not any inherent commitment to ‘as much participation by as many and at any cost’. It is also crucial that these people should benefit directly and as far as possible from the time and energy they give to the participatory process and not treated as unpaid labourers for agendas determined by outsiders.

The examples looked at here are from the work by Linda Mayoux on Participatory Action Learning System (PALS) and its various derivatives: Gender Action Learning for Sustainability at Scale (GALSatScale), Financial Action Learning System etc.

See: https://gamechangenetwork.org/empowerment-methodology-pals/ 

This focuses on facilitating women and men in communities in many different parts of the world to use drawings and diagram tools to collect their own information for their own needs as individuals and groups
which will then feed into programme and policy evaluation and community advocacy.

Creative diagramming

Systems thinking and practice Open University 2019 Free course What is systems thinking and practice? The essence of systems thinking and practice is in ‘seeing’ the world in a particular way, because how you ‘see’ things affects the way you approach situations or undertake specific tasks. This free course will help you to learn about the problems of defining a system and meet some of the key concepts used in systems theory: boundary, environment, positive and negative feedback, etc.

Disruptive Design course

Bono, E. D., (1982) de Bono’s Thinking Course, London: BBC Books.
Buzan, T., (2002) How to Mind Map, London: Thorsons.
Stroh, D. P., (2015) Systems Thinking for Social Change, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Search to Go definition:

Systems thinking is a holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that a system’s constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems. The systems thinking approach contrasts with traditional analysis, which studies systems by breaking them down into their separate elements. Systems thinking can be used in any area of research and has been applied to the study of medical, environmental, political, economic, human resources, and educational systems, among many others.

According to systems thinking, system behavior results from the effects of reinforcing and balancing processes. A reinforcing process leads to the increase of some system component. If reinforcement is unchecked by a balancing process, it eventually leads to collapse. A balancing process is one that tends to maintain equilibrium in a particular system.

Attention to feedback is an essential component of system thinking. For example, in project management, prevailing wisdom may prescribe the addition of workers to a project that is lagging. However, in practice, that tactic might have actually slowed development in the past. Attention to that relevant feedback can allow management to look for other solutions rather than wasting resources on an approach that has been demonstrated to be counterproductive.

Systems thinking uses computer simulation and a variety of diagrams and graphs to model, illustrate, and predict system behavior. Among the systems thinking tools are: the behavior over time (BOT) graph, which indicates the actions of one or more variables over a period of time; the causal loop diagram (CLD), which illustrates the relationships between system elements; the management flight simulator, which uses an interactive program to simulate the effects of management decisions; and the simulation model, which simulates the interaction of system elements over time.

Systems thinking originated in 1956, when Professor Jay Forrester founded the Systems Dynamic Group at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems. A system is a cohesive conglomeration of interrelated and interdependent parts that is either natural or man-made. Every system is delineated by its spatial and temporal boundaries, surrounded and influenced by its environment, described by its structure and purpose or nature and expressed in its functioning. In terms of its effects, a system can be more than the sum of its parts if it expresses synergy or emergent behavior. Changing one part of the system usually affects other parts and the whole system, with predictable patterns of behavior. For systems that are self-learning and self-adapting, the positive growth and adaptation depend upon how well the system is adjusted with its environment. Some systems function mainly to support other systems by aiding in the maintenance of the other system to prevent failure. The goal of systems theory is systematically discovering a system’s dynamics, constraints, conditions and elucidating principles (purpose, measure, methods, tools, etc.) that can be discerned and applied to systems at every level of nesting, and in every field for achieving optimized equifinality.[1]

General systems theory is about broadly applicable concepts and principles, as opposed to concepts and principles applicable to one domain of knowledge. It distinguishes dynamic or active systems from static or passive systems. Active systems are activity structures or components that interact in behaviours and processes. Passive systems are structures and components that are being processed. E.g. a program is passive when it is a disc file and active when it runs in memory.[2] The field is related to systems thinkingmachine logic and systems engineering.

Key concepts[edit]

  • System: An organized entity made up of interrelated and interdependent parts.
  • Boundaries: Barriers that define a system and distinguish it from other systems in the environment.
  • Homeostasis: The tendency of a system to be resilient towards external factors and maintain its key characteristics.
  • Adaptation: The tendency of a self-adapting system to make the internal changes needed to protect itself and keep fulfilling its purpose.
  • Reciprocal Transactions: Circular or cyclical interactions that systems engage in such that they influence one another.
  • Feedback Loop: The process by which systems self-correct based on reactions from other systems in the environment.
  • Throughput: Rate of energy transfer between the system and its environment during the time it is functioning.
  • Microsystem: The system closest to the client.
  • Mesosystem: Relationships among the systems in an environment.
  • Exosystem: A relationship between two systems that has an indirect effect on a third system.
  • Macrosystem: A larger system that influences clients, such as policies, administration of entitlement programs, and culture.
  • Chronosystem: A system composed of significant life events that can affect adaptation.

Visual hierarchy

Design elements may be explored in their own right, but are generally considered in terms of relationships between one or more element. The following are just some things to think about, taken from a range of sources and experience/thoughts on previous courses in art and photography.
Key Sources:

  • Michael Freeman:The Photographer’s Eye
  • Alan Pipes: Foundations of Art and Design
  • de Sausmarez
  • Ian Roberts ‘Mastering Composition’
  • Theories of Paul Klee, Arthur Wesley Dow and Henry Rankin Poore

Principles of relationship

Unity/harmony:When all elements are in agreement, a design is considered unified. No individual part is viewed as more important than the whole design.

  • Symmetry
  • Asymmetrical produces an informal balance that is attention attracting and dynamic.
  • Balance: It is a state of equalized tension and equilibrium, which may not always be calm.
  • Radial balance is arranged around a central element. The elements placed in a radial balance seem to ‘radiate’ out from a central point in a circular fashion.
  • Mosaic form of balance which normally arises from many elements being put on a page. Due to the lack of hierarchy and contrast, this form of balance can look noisy but sometimes quiet.

Hierarchy: A good design contains elements that lead the reader through each element in order of its significance. The type and images should be expressed starting from most important to the least important.
Scale/proportion: Using the relative size of elements against each other can attract attention to a focal point. When elements are designed larger than life, scale is being used to show drama.A subject can be rendered more dramatic when it fills the frame. There exists a tendency to perceive things as larger than they actually are, and filling the frame full fills this psychological mechanism. This can be used to eliminate distractions from the background.

  • Cropping
  • distant cropping, close cropping
  • boundary  relationships

Dominance/emphasis: Dominance is created by contrasting size, positioning, colour, style, or shape. The focal point should dominate the design with scale and contrast without sacrificing the unity of the whole.
Similarity and contrast: Planning a consistent and similar design is an important aspect of a designer’s work to make their focal point visible. Too much similarity is boring but without similarity important elements will not exist and an image without contrast is uneventful so the key is to find the balance between similarity and contrast.
Similar environment: There are several ways to develop a similar environment:

  • Build a unique internal organization structure.
  • Manipulate shapes of images and text to correlate together.

Perspective: sense of distance between elements.
Similarity: ability to seem repeatable with other elements.
Continuation: the sense of having a line or pattern extend.
Repetition: elements being copied or mimicked numerous times.
Rhythm: is achieved when recurring position, size, color, and use of a graphic element has a focal point interruption.
Negative space: Give the eye somewhere to rest
Color: Contrast: the value, or degree of lightness and darkness, used within the picture.

Repetition

Repetition has a peculiar but generally very strong appeal, particularly when it is unfamiliar to the viewer:

  • rhythm or dynamic repetition: the movement across a picture (or more properly, the movement of the eye through a picture). Rhythm can be made more dynamic by encouraging a figure or point to break the rhythm. As the eye in Western culture naturally follows a rhythmical structure from right to left to right, it is often best to place a point on the right so that the eye has time to establish the rhythm before noticing it.
  • pattern or spatial repetition: essentially static and concerned with area. Ordered rows of large numbers of things produce regular patterns, but the slight variations in detail maintain interest. If the placing is irregular, the framing needs to be tight on the objects if they are to form a pattern.
    Perspective

Viewpoint (leading the eye): The position of the viewer can strongly influence the aesthetics of an image, even if the subject is entirely imaginary and viewed “within the mind’s eye”. Not only does it influence the elements within the picture, but it also influences the viewer’s interpretation of the subject.

Division of space

informal subdivision
high low horizons
Rule of thirds, golden mean, rebatement of the rectangle: The objective is to stop the subject(s) and areas of interest (such as the horizon) from bisecting the image, by placing them near one of the lines that would divide the image into three equal columns and rows, ideally near the intersection of those lines. The rule of thirds is thought to be a simplification of the golden mean. The golden mean is a ratio that has been used by visual artists for centuries as an aid to composition. When two things are in the proportion of 1:1.618 (approximately 3 to 5), they are said to be in the golden mean. Dividing the parts of an image according to this proportion helps to create a pleasing, balanced composition. The intersection points on a golden mean grid appear at 3/8 in and 3/8 down/up, rather than at 1/3 in and 1/3 down/up on the grid of thirds.
Rule of odds: The “rule of odds” states that by framing the object of interest with an even number of surrounding objects, it becomes more comforting to the eye, thus creates a feeling of ease and pleasure. The “rule of odds” suggests that an odd number of subjects in an image is more interesting than an even number. An even number of subjects produces symmetries in the image, which can appear less natural for a naturalistic, informal composition. Related to the rule of odds is the observation that triangles are an aesthetically pleasing implied shape within an image.
Baselines and ground contour: foreground, middle ground and background division.ensure that you indicate the contours of the land, even if it appears flat. Use variations such as differences in soil colour, texture, vegetation, wind in grass etc. Light and shadow on land.
Overlapping forms: overlapping forms give a feeling of depth to space. If forms do not overlap there is no depth.
Tie together: If you have a distinct division of space that extends from one side of the painting to the other, tie the two divisions together by crossing the division with something in the foreground.

Simplification

Images with clutter can distract from the main elements within the picture and make it difficult to identify the subject. By decreasing the extraneous content, the viewer is more likely to focus on the primary objects. Clutter can also be reduced through the use of lighting, as the brighter areas of the image tend to draw the eye, as do lines, squares and colour. In painting, the artist may use less detailed and defined brushwork towards the edges of the picture. Removing the elements to the focus of the object, taking only the needed components.Merge shapes that have similar values into larger shapes of one value.

Creating movement

Movement is the path the viewer’s eye takes through the artwork, often to focal areas. Such movement can be directed along lines edges, shape and colour within the artwork.
Shape

  • turbulent shape arrangements.
  • variety in division of space.
  • repetition with variety: pattern, rhythm
  • active, passive mix. Need place for the eye to rest. But depends on overall aim of picture.
  • odd number groups – maybe we like to see things in pairs, so we look for completion? Variety in threes.

Rule of space: The rule of space aims to give the illusion of movement, or which is supposed to create a contextual bubble in the viewer’s mind. This can be achieved, for instance, by leaving white space in the direction the eyes of a portrayed person are looking, or, when picturing a runner, adding white space in front of them rather than behind them to indicate movement.
Other techniques that can act together:

  • There should be a centre of interest or focus in the work, to prevent it becoming a pattern in itself;
  • The direction followed by the viewer’s eye should lead the viewer’s gaze around all elements in the work before leading out of the picture;
  • The subject should not be facing out of the image;
  • Exact bisections of the picture space should be avoided;
  • Small, high contrast, elements have as much impact as larger, duller elements;
  • The prominent subject should be off-centre, unless a symmetrical or formal composition is desired, and can be balanced by smaller satellite elements
    the horizon line should not divide the art work in two equal parts but be positioned to emphasize either the sky or ground; showing more sky if painting is of clouds, sun rise/set, and more ground if a landscape
  • Variety: no spaces between the objects should be the same. They should vary in shape and size. That creates a much more interesting image.

Focal point:

  • staccato focal point: a small point or line that the viewer’s eye gravitates to
  • focal area: a specific area of colour or value

focus may be achieved by:

  • directing lines,/intersection of lines or implied lines,
  • contrast in colour, saturation, temperature,
  • texture, moves to areas of high density and detail.
  • shape or relation of shape to boundary, value. Isolation. rule of thirds.

A composition may have primary and secondary focus of interest. Not all images have to have a focal point or focal area. Or focal area may be large. Or there can be more than one and the interest is in the relationship between the two.
Eye movement
the aim is to keep the interest of the viewer and keep their attention in the frame.

  • types of path: C forms, S forms, I forms.
  • entry point, often in bottom left . Avoid splitting painting in two.
  • avoid leading eye into a corner, take it back in and around.
  • avoid trapping the eye in one part of the frame.
  • repeat colour spots. Linking lights, guiding darks and lights
  • let the brain fill the gaps.