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Computer Graphics: The Need for Graphics Design Part One Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131472D
Original Publication Date: 1981-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Document File: 9 page(s) / 35K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Ware Myers: AUTHOR [+2]


We tend to see a near right angle as a right angle, a line near vertical as vertical, or a line near horizontal as horizontal. Vertical, horizontal, and right angles are so common in our environment that we have neuron groups specifically devoted to sensing such orientations. Within a spectrum of states of an object, condition, or grouping, we tend to sense certain states as stronger, more objective, or basic.

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This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1981 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Computer Graphics: The Need for Graphics Design Part One

Ware Myers

Computer staff

Graphics design and computer graphics should be inseparable partners, not virtual strangers. This is the first of two articles examining the relationship between the two.fields.

We had to convey our very sophisticated threedimensional concept to upper-level management, which wasn't familiar with the technology," a research director said.

"We wanted to show potential customers how our complex system worked-only thus could we give them the courage to buy this entirely new idea," noted a marketing executive.

"The computer gives us stacks of data, but it's not usable information." Everybody says this.

"To get the necessary ideas across, we needed nine sep- arate colors, each clearly distinct from the others. " This is a graphics designer's way of looking at things.

Since computer graphics took off a few years ago, it has been common knowledge that its techniques and hardware can help meet needs such as these. Yet engineers, scientists, and businessmen have paid but little attention to effective communication techniques. There is a field of knowledge- graphics design-that specializes in "communicating significant information in an effective way," as Aaron Marcus said in the keynote session of Siggraph '80 in Seattle last July.

This article, along with a companion to appear in next month's Computer, is intended to help close the gap between graphics designers and the rest of us. What is graphics design? Why do computer people need to know more about it? How much should we learn about it? What tasks and responsibilities should we leave to the graphics designer?

What is graphics design?

Graphics design is the art of conveying visual concepts from a source through a medium to a human recipient. The source is a human brain. The medium is any form of representation the eye can apprehend-publications, exhibits, billboards, slides or transparencies, films, television, teletext or viewdata, as well as the computer graphics display.

The human recipient has two aspects-nature and needs. The nature of the human visual system sets boundaries on the use of the media; for example, the eye is especially good at detecting edges or contours.' Furthermore, the needs of the recipient set psychological constraints on the manner of communications

Graphics design has long been employed in the older media. In typography, thousands of fonts have been designed, both to improve the communication capability of the typeset material and to transmit subtle, perhaps s...