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What is aesthetics? and why is it important in design?

A textbook I have on design “Exploring the elements of design” simply doesn’t have an explanation for what the word aesthetic means, which I found really weird? So here’s my best hypothesis.

I believe aesthetics refers to the beauty of visual, pleasing, simplicity, in design or artwork.

In the book “The nature and aesthetics of design” Pye says “There are two questions that concern every designer. First: if some things are of ‘good’ appearance while others are not, why are ‘good’ ones good and the ‘bad’ ones bad? What causes the difference?

Second supposing they are good, who is the better for it? Does it really matter? If so why? These are questions of aesthetics.” Pye (1982).

Yes it seems that aesthetics really do matter, and that if you do have the right aesthetics, it can help in ways you probably hadn’t considered.

when we feel good, we overlook design faults. Use a pleasing design, one

that looks good and feels — well — sexy, and the behavior seems to go along

more  smoothly, more easily and better. Attractive things work better.”

(Norman, 2002, p. 41).

In the book “Design basics” it describes aesthetics with a little more difficulty. It says that aesthetics doesn’t contribute to the content, form or function. The next comment is describing an American bank-note with artwork and large white space. “Take, for example adornment subject matter can be absent and the only, ”problem” is one of creating visual pleasure.  Lauer & Pentak (2012).

So less is more and simplicity is important.
 In the book “Contemporary Advertising” they say “Any elements which can be eliminated without damaging the overall effect should be cut. Too many type styles; type that is too small; too many reverses, illustrations, or boxed items; and unnecessary copy make for an overly complex layout and an ad that is hard to read.” Arens, Schafer & Weigold (2012).

This weeks reading discusses the idea that aesthetically pleasing designs are believed to be simpler and easier to use despite the fact that this may not be true.

This premise of “pleasing designs” relates to human attractiveness and that’s why first impressions count. Your appearance forms the basis of the way people form their attitudes, perceive you and how you may be treated.

Lucky I am always immaculately presented!

In the journal “Good looking people are not what we think” it explains, You maybe treated this way as studies have been conducted which made “trait attributions to attractive and unattractive students from photographs. Socially desirable characteristics were more often ascribed to attractive students than to unattractive students, implying a “beautiful-is-good” halo effect of attractiveness. The existence of this stereotype equating beauty with personal worth suggests that physically attractive people may develop desirable qualities in response to others’ expectations.” Dion, Berscheid, & Walster (1972).


So positively pleasing aesthetic designs are believed to create positive attitudes and minimize perceptions of problems.  Great aesthetics can create feelings like affection, loyalty, and patience.

In the journal article “Judging books by their covers” Kwan claims that “Conversely, there is also ample evidence that individuals who do not conform to conventional beauty ideals experience stigma, negative treatment, and discrimination. not shave their legs and underarms are deemed unattractive as well as less intelligent, happy, and sociable than women who do remove body hair”. Kwan, S., & Trautner, M. N. (2011).

I believe there is much to take from this week’s reading.

If your plan is to produce content that involves any level of design.

  1. Take the time to consider what your first impression is.
  2. Keep it simple. It may be more likely to be used if it is or give the impression that it is easier.
  3. Respect the design principles and create aesthetically pleasing beautiful work.
  4. Hope to produce something which creates affection, loyalty and patience by its beauty, simplicity and ease of use. 



Evans, P., & Thomas, M. (2008). Exploring the elements of design (2nd ed.). Cincinnati: Thomson Delmar Learning.

Pye, D. (2000). The nature & aesthetics of design. Chelsea, MI, USA: Cambium Press.

Lauer, D. A. (2008). Design basics. Boston MA Thompson Wadsworth.

Arens, W., Weigold, M., & Arens, C. (2012). Contemporary advertising (11 ed.): McGraw Hill.


Kwan, S., & Tratner, M. N. (2012). Teaching about physical attractiveness biases. Teaching Sociology, 39. doi: 10.1177/0092055X10390655

Fiengold, A. (1992). Good-looking people are not what we think. Psychological Bulletin, 111(2), 304-341. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.111.2.304

Norman,D. (2002). Emotion & Design: Attractive things work better. Interactions, 9(4), 36-42.


Allergan picture. (2012). Retreived May 10th, 2012, from http://www.allergan.com.au/281.mtid

Beautiful spa picture. . (2012). Retreived May 10th, 2012, from http://www.vanityfair.com/online/beauty/spas

Mirror picture. (2012). Retreived May 10th, 2012, from http://www.decofeelings.com/pacha-design/

Molly ranks as most watched…

I feel I should thank the people at Channel 7 who produced Molly, documenting Molly Meldrums life. It inspired me after watching it to write about it and the media I watch generally.  I had at the time just Graduated and didn’t really know what to do next.

This is what I said on my social media…

“I just watched the Molly series on Ch 7 and loved it. What a great cast and wonderful way to portray Molly’s life. It reminds me exactly how blessed we were in Australia to have had such a show like Countdown growing up on Free to Air TV.”

images.jpegI guess I wasn’t the only one who felt this way as the viewer ratings were pretty impressive as well. Part 1 saw 1.79 million viewers tune in and Part two dipped a bit to 1.52 million. MKR lost out to Molly last week but with 1.67 million viewers narrowly pegged the Channel 7 mini-series this week.

There is some controversy about the claimed figures as Channel 7 last week used a combined regular viewer and “catchup viewer” statistic to announce it’s end figures.

Mumbrella said “Today is also the first time that Oztam has published its new digital ratings in the form of the Oztam VPM Report which, after multiple delays, is giving the industry the first audited numbers on the size of the network’s online catch up services.”

Samuel Johnson who plays Molly Meldrum, Australian music Producer and TV Personality has an uncanny resemblance. He absolutely nails Molly’s mannerisms and styles of speech.

I enjoyed the Mini-series so much that I purchased the Molly Album on iTunes. It has 60 great songs for $22 which is amazing value. These are cherry picked from some of the best 70’s and 80’s albums…

Do yourself a favour!  This is one Album to own.12733399_10153497377134007_6017242370625877169_n

The mini-series is currently available  at Target for $20. That’s amazing for an Australian mini-series of such high production value.

If you didn’t see it, it is still at the time of post available on catchup here or you can buy it online here.


Stats taken from Nielsen Australia.

Neill Barry is a Graduate in Communications, loves Advertising, statistics and lives almost entirely off caffeine related products.

Deadpool, a Marvel-ous film

Today I saw the movie Deadpool and I absolutely loved it. Give me anything from Marvel and I’ll watch it having had an affinity for The Hulk from a very young age. Deadpool has a very tight script and amazing CGI effects. From the opening credits you could tell this was going to be a dark but fun ride thanks to the people at Marvel and 20th Century Fox studios. Deadpool features Ryan Reynolds who is perfectly practiced in his delivery of often disturbing and memorable one line gags.

deadpool_2016-wallpaper-640x960In comparison to the straight laced Captain America, Deadpool aka Wade Wilson is a short time military reject and instantly loveable renegade. He is as different a character as can be from your usual Xmen or Avenger stable. Deadpool is an anti-hero although given his back story and wicked sense of humour it’s easy to be won over to his loose moral outlook and narciisstic side.

Currently Deadpool in Australia has taken over $27 Million Aussie dollars at the Box Office, $8 million of that in the last week. The Revenant in comparison has taken over $18 million in total at the Box Office. In the US Deadpool has amassed a staggering $236 million in US Box Office takings which is not bad for a film with an estimated $58 million dollar budget. In comparison to the latest Star Wars behemoth The Force Awakens, it is in it’s 10th week and has taken in $920 Million US Dollars. $240 million of this was in a single weekend, however it cost $200 Million to make. If you look at these from a cost to produce and return ratio Star Wars is slightly ahead.

Deadpool had a really effective online viral campaign which no doubt boosted it’s takings. Worldwide Deadpool used a combination of holiday marketing, social media and regional marketing which was extremely effective here in down under.


If you can’t drag yourself off the couch to see this movie at the Cinema, it schedules to be released on the 6th of July this year. JBHI-FI are already taking Pre-Orders…here

The Deadpool soundtrack is available on iTunes for $16.99 and features tracks like DMX X Gon Give It to Ya and Careless Whisper from George Michael.

One last thing, Deadpool is not for kids, it’s strictly an Adults only movie which is out of the ordinary from the Marvel stable. It’s a fun ride of love, sweet but violent revenge and certainly not a movie to be taken too seriously.

If your as big a Marvel fan as me, you’ll love it.

The stats I’ve used have been taken from boxofficemojo.com & Val Morgan Australia

Neill Barry is a Communications Graduate from Western Australia who loves Advertising, statistics, media and lives almost entirely off coffee. 


Journal entry SUPERDAD

Ok Journal it’s just you and me, time to hang and convey what’s been happening in my world. I hope you’re ready?….of course you are.

After work Friday night I raced home, frantically undressing and redressing out of my uniform into normal clothes.

I dashed out the house, jumped in the car, raced down to grab some dinner, got to the park where my wife and child were waiting to watch an outdoor cinema. It occurs to me if I get this right I could be elevated to a status above mortal parents and become SUPERDAD.

The movie was RIO 2, previous to me getting there, women in scantily clad brazilian dress had been samba-ing up a storm and my wife took great pleasure in telling me that I missed the nudie show.

My wife and child had a ball while waiting for me, there was a lot of singing and dancing.

The movie was just about to start, they were happy to see me, everyone had smiles, I had arrived only moments before the opening credits with a bag full of hot food and drinks, I was SUPERDAD. YES! Check it out people, I am SUPERDAD!

For me this was all after a long work week and an exciting first week of Uni so If I am being honest I was pretty tired. But that’s nothing for SUPERDAD.

I am tall, so when I sat down with my family, the child on the next tier above me said “I can’t see.”

I quickly lay down, making myself comfortable not wishing to obstruct a child’s view of the movie, it’s not about me…. See SUPERDAD contort and lay flat.

We all open the still hot bag of dinner, distributing the fast food salty goodness between us…….. See SUPERDAD provide a bagfull of food.

The burger, still being hot and the ability to sit with my family for some much needed relaxation time, was truely wonderful. See SUPERDAD……. relax, AH!

The movie starts before my wife and I get to ask each other about our day. I’m not sure if I got to mention that I had a headache pretty much all day? It was a minor detail for a superdad.

About ten minutes into the movie my child stands up and in front of a packed amphitheatre, where everyone has a great view, she projectile vomits almost everywhere….. then starts to scream.  I am no longer superdad. I was shocked, it was my evil nemisis VOMITO.

As projectile vomits go I would rate this projectile vomit as better than the exorcist, and given this was in a tiered public setting of an outdoor cinema it attracted many “ooohs” and “eer’s.”

Well that was the movie night, it lasted around 12 minutes. I was superdad for 6 minutes.

Ordinary dad wrapped up the many rugs and jumpers and vomit covered necessaries into a collapsible box and trudged to my car along with my child and wife then drove home.

I felt defeated, but there will be another day VOMITO!

It was a long night of more sickness and vomito made many reprisal appearances.

Damn you vomito, you always strike when I least expect you.

It’s always nice you’re here to share with journal.

Advertising it’s the rock and roll of the business world

Photo on 2012-03-26 at 19.12

Finally, I get to talk about Advertising. Quite simply Advertising… It’s the rock and roll of the business world. Going out a limb… it’s the business  that affects every man, woman and child on this planet. Its job is to make impressions, achieve reach and get you to please consider what is being shown to you.

Advertising is all about persuasion, there’s a lot to it, but it can be boiled down to getting consumers to be persuaded to purchase one product or brand over another. What makes great advertising?

Firstly, you need an idea.k0292825

These days your idea has to cut through the clutter of other Advertising out there so it has to be a good one. Good ideas are clever, funny, timely, and relevant. Secondly, you need great copy and imagery. This covers things like font and legibility. What good is an Ad if you can’t read it. It also needs to stick in people’s memory.

The copy needs to descriptive, convey the message and be simple enough for anyone to read and get the intended message.  The copy also needs to be written in a style which reflects the visual so it ties together.

The copywriter a special breed of person, they need to have a cultural literacy of the culture within which he or she is writing. They must have an ongoing knowledge of their environment so they comprehend the social foxpaus, and pitfalls that may potentially befall them.

Advertising is more than simply stringing together ideas and images. A good analogy is it works together like a rock and roll band.


My opinion is that these parts of the Advertising work together in this way. The idea is the drumbeat it sets the shape of what the bigger finished product can become.  The copy is like the rock guitar it sets the mood and conveys the feeling. The visuals are like the theatrics, lighting and pyrotechnics which combine to dazzle astound and amaze.


Combined, these elements create a new life of their own and if they do this well we reward it generally by saying it went viral or the old school say it went gangbusters. I love Advertising, it’s a challenging and creative field in which ideas, culture and art collide. The very best Advertising is an art form of its own.

Is the power of language more important than imagery?

Photo on 2012-03-26 at 19.12

When I was a baby, my first words would have been indeed powerful to my mother, and any other onlooker who could wait that long for an utterance, however the more goo goo gaa gaa that has come out of this mouth, the less quality has come with it.ev018-004

This is because it is not possible to maintain the power and quality of language in everything we say, as we say an awful lot in the course of a normal day. The more we say the less it has quality generally and this is the weakening effect of spoken language.

Luckily, there are some unlike me and my normal daily discourse who think deeply and who have generally taken the time to commit them into the form of written language which can deliver the correct words at the correct time. This is an empowering saving grace for language and one in which language can bask in magnificence for all time. The precipice I am working to is that language is powerful or weak depending on the form it is delivered in whether it is written or oral spontaneous or thought through, however it is always in combination with the brain and timing delivering it.

But can the same be said for imagery? k12967365

What if at the same time as I was going goo goo gaa gaa an enthusiastic relative decided to take a happy snap and profoundly encapsulate my soul for all time within the bounds of photographic paper? This image is a time point, a reference and a historic long lasting physical representation of my charming and aesthetically pleasing form. I digress. It is a powerful ability to encapsulate time, action and things like physics at play.

But what if my relative is a stooge with a camera and takes the image out of focus or represents me with double negatived with three eyes? It would not be a true representation of me rather would convey disinformation or distortion.k14130554

Being an Advertising student and eventually maybe a copywriter, you would expect me to say language hands down is the winner, yet I don’t with some reservation at this point. In global advertising an image can convey meaning globally yet locally have to be translated a hundred times to attempt to achieve the same meaning. Sometimes the copy can translate a better meaning for which there is no equivalent in other languages.

So in summation my answer to the question is language more powerful than images is  whichever is effectively used through the timing, nature and significance of concepts being conveyed to convey a meaning.


Good Writing



Photo on 2012-03-26 at 19.12

When I am asked for my opinions at Uni I am no longer fooled into believing that any lecturer really wants my opinion. Instead, they want to know about what I know of the subject through research, acquired knowledge and understanding the principles that relate to the topic. They want this as a display of my abilities to create a patchwork of thought on paper, for all to see.k4702542

What I have done here is create interest in that my answer is not the same as everyone else’s. See what I did there? I got you into reading my answer and now I am organizing my logic to formulate an answer. I may even use an appropriate individual voice to make my writing feel a certain way so you can relate and get a sense of my personality.

What I seek in good writing is stimulation, the ability to convey idea’s cleverly, quickly and in sparklingly accurate detail. Why would we read if all writing was the same? Good writing requires an understanding of who the audience is and the context in which you are delivering your writing. It requires a good understanding of grammar so no one can change your intention and that the meaning doesn’t change. Having a depth of words to draw upon to create your patchwork is important as it tells your audience what you know of the world and makes them remember your writing.

Truly great writing is an artwork!
It can make you read between the lines to convey thought and invoke much more thought. It can provoke emotion, and convey conceptual information or you can use it as a tool to engage the minds of children and get them to sleep with thoughts of the ‘it-kutch, preeps and proo’s.”
“The more things you will read,
The more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
The more places you’ll go!”
Dr Seuss.bn266048