Blogless: Blog of Design Less Better.

Posts tagged Psychology.

Louis Wain’s Cats

Cabinet Magazine's most recent issue featured a series of paintings by the English artist Louis Wain, who painted thousands of pictures of cats. Wain was committed to a mental hospital in 1924 after showing signs of schizophrenia. Many psychologists believe the increasing severity of Wain's mental illness can be seen in his paintings, though others claim the paintings are just reflecting patterns from his mother's textiles. See for yourself:

Louis Wain

Louis Wain

Louis Wain

All images copyright the Archives and Museum of Bethlem Royal Hospital.

H.G. Wells once said of Wain:

He has made the cat his own. He invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world. English cats that do not look and live like Louis Wain cats are ashamed of themselves.

More on Wain can be found here, here, and here.

This post is in memory of my beloved family cat Mister Ham, who passed away yesterday.

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AndreaSep 1, 2010

About Face

I was doing a bit of reading about recognition and faces, one thing led to another in the way that internet research does, so here are a few morsels from research (scholarly and otherwise) on human perception of faces. Er, Four Links On Faces?

1. The Thatcher Effect

This image looks pretty normal when viewed upside down, even though the mouth and eyes are inverted in both versions of the image. Really. Turn your laptop upside down, right now. Behold, the Thatcher Effect.

'The Thatcher Effect

Researchers from Emory University attribute the phenomenon to our sensitivity to the relationship between facial features in upright faces, a sensitivity that also allows us to differentiate between faces and recognize familiar faces. Read more.

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AndreaAug 18, 2010

Four Design Links:
May 13, 2010

Four Design Links is a review of the design- and ethics-related stories we've been reading online this week.

1. Ethical behavior is good for the economy

This paper by David Rea of Victoria University examines the large-scale implications of an idea that we've been kicking around for quite a while.

2. Imagine A Pie Chart Stomping On An Infographic Forever

Why Does a Salad Cost More than a Big Mac?
Source: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Good Medicine Magazine

Careless designers all too readily sacrifice truth for the sake of aesthetics.

Smashing Magazine calls out designers' statistical illiteracy with a Showcase Of Bad Infographics.

3. 7 Ways to Use Psychological Influence With Social Media Content

Edgar Dale’s Cone of Learning

This article from Social Media Examiner describes 7 psychological principles that can help your content get people's attention.

4. “Daddy, What’s a Brand?”

Last, this Fast Company article has a number of interesting perspectives on the postmodern practice of branding.

Next to the economics of peer-to-peer recommendation, the old paid-media model looks like a scam. You have to ask yourself how an industry employing so many creative thinkers at such high salaries has, on the whole, gotten away with so much crap for so long. Imagine if all that creative problem-solving power was re-channeled?

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NickMay 13, 2010

Four Design Links: March 4, 2010

Four Design Links is a review of the design- and ethics-related stories we've been reading online this week.

1. Designing a New Hot Dog

Redesigned hot dog
Image from Fast Company.

A few weeks ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared hot dogs a potential choking hazard for young children. In this Fast Company piece, Ravi Sawhney of RKS set out to redesign hot dogs to be safe (and fun!), settling on the spring shape above.

I like the idea in the comments: just slice the dog down the middle before feeding it to your kids. That sounds like the DLB way.

2. "Mad Libs" Forms Increase Conversion 25-40%

Mad Libs Form Design
Image by Luke Wroblewski.

The headline pretty much says it all.

At first look, it does seem to be a more appealing form design. Though I wonder if it works better because of novelty, or because it really is better than a standard form?

3. To Do Better, Feel Worse

According to studies referenced in Scientific American, people in a bad mood may perform tasks better than those in a good mood.

Grumpy people paid closer attention to details, showed less gullibility, were less prone to errors of judgment and formed higher-quality, persuasive arguments than their happy counterparts. One study even supports the notion that those who show signs of either fear, anger, disgust or sadness—the four basic negative emotions—achieve stronger eyewitness recall while virtually eliminating the effect of misinformation.

That last part sounds like it could apply to commercials or videos to make them more effective. Other than that, while I'm glad bad moods are good for something, I'm not about to induce one just so I can be more productive...

4. Most Attractive Sounds

I must admit, I don't pay much attention to sound in designs, but after this story I might.

According to the article, 83% of advertising is exclusively sight-based. To me, that spells opportunity.

After reviewing the lists of memorable sounds (I'm not going to say "addictive", as the writer suggests, that's just silly), I was surprised at how closely I associated them with their branding or with a particular product category. It may be time to flex those sound design muscles.

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NickMar 4, 2010

Four Design Links: July 16, 2009

Time to drop the Trends label, I think. Not everything in my Thursday posts is up-to-the-minute, nor is it "trendy". Let's go with Four Links from here on out!

1. Less, But Better

BBH labs has an long article featuring the work of influential industrial designer Dieter Rams that concludes with an interview. It's worth checking out. Rams is certainly a favorite around here!

2. A Solution to Print Relevancy? Solving Wired's Puzzle Issue

A while back I posted a link about the possible demise of the print version of Wired Magazine. May's special puzzle issue, guest edited by J.J Abrams, makes a case for the potential still left in the medium.

Text from Wired Magazine's Puzzle Issue

Lone Shark Games hid 15 puzzles in the magazine whose solutions unlock a final metapuzzle. Fittingly, the final solution (SPOILER) bridges old and new media, as it involves both cutting the magazine and visiting a website. Read about it here.

3. You Should Follow Me on Twitter

An informal study by Dustin Curtis (the infamous blogger) suggests that to gain more Twitter followers, you may wish to choose your language carefully.

Dustin Curtis -- You Should Follow Me on Twitter

4. Collection of Baseball Infographics

Finally, for a little bit of summer, check out Craig Robinson's Flip Flop Fly Ball for some beautifully presented baseball data.

Distance covered by runners in a season, plotted on a US map.
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NickJul 16, 2009