DES2104 Vector Illustrations

Cue 2nd Year; Semester 1, and this time round my blog entries are going to be of a more visual nature for the DES2104 unit on Vector Illustrations. These entries are set to focus on the content of the lectures (handy things to remember), relevant readings and/or practise, and any inspiration/ideas/work on assignments.

Week 1

The first lecture started with the basics, providing a distinction between images and pictures, and explaining how images can be considered to sit on a realism continuum.

‘The Treachery of Images’, this time with a Super Mario flair.

“Pictures are to Image what Types is to Words”

It was explained that ‘pictures’ can be considered as that which we view naturally, be it what we see in the visible world or what we see in our imagination and dreams. By comparison, an ‘image’ is an attempt to capture a picture; an representation of what we see in the world or in our minds eye.

The Realism Continuum is a way to evaluate images in relation to how closely they may be considered to represent original pictures. The degree of similarity to pictures can be considered on a continuum from:

  • Concrete to Abstract
  • Complex to Simple
  • Objective to Subjective
  • Specific to Universal
Images by Medley (n.d.), Dwyer (1972), Wileman(1993), McCloud (1993) Medley (2008), Skopec (2010).

Meet Bouba and Kiki, or is it Kiki and Bouba?

One last area we covered was the Bouba-Kiki Effect, which is used as an example of synesthesia. The test involves asking participants to look at two shapes (one rounded and one pointy) and assigned the names ‘bouba’ and ‘kiki’ to them respectively. It has been found that despite differences in culture, language and even reading ability, the name ‘bouba’ is usually assigned to the rounded shape, and ‘kiki’ to the pointed shape. It illustrates that there are particular associations we have with otherwise abstract aspects, such as when we we connect a ‘sharp’ sound with a ‘sharp’ image.

The Bouba-Kiki Effect is just one example of the ways we can classify things based on aspects such as shapes and sounds. There are whole areas of study that relate to these kinds of associations, and it’s really interesting to consider how we can shape the impression given by the images we create by taking this into account. A recent article on Gamesutra entitled “The Aesthetics of Game Art and Game Design” actually delves into this area really well. I’ve yet to make it the whole way through yet (it is really long), but it provides some really good information on this area in relation to games design (my area of study).

Examples of different aesthetics based on primary shapes (as shown in the Gamasutra article)

The tutorial class for week 1 involved learning the basic controls and some shortcuts; very handy, but not much to report on. I’ll have more to write/show for the next week, so that’s all I have to say for now. Adieu~


[Image 1] This is not a Pipe [Digital Image]. (2010).

[Image 2] Medley, S. (2013, February 22). Realism Continuum [Digital Image]. (2013, February 22). Pictorial accuracy vs Schema. Lecture presented in Vector Illustration. Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.

[Image 3] Bouba and Kiki Characters [Digital Image]. (2010).

[Image 4] Primary Shape Aesthetics [Digital Image]. (2013).

One thought on “DES2104 Vector Illustrations

  1. Pingback: DES2104 – Wk 5 Lecture | NOT A BLOG

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