Although there are many functions that can be applicable to various forms, this paper will be geared towards messages conveyed by still graphic designs in signs and advertisements. Why The Interest on Form and Function in Graphic Design and Visual Communication? The reason behind choosing advertising was based on the fact that the advertising sector can be viewed as the most competitive area where an object of design has to capture audience’s attention and inform effectively in the shortest possible time through correct application of elements of visual communication. I believe that role of visual communication is vital in modern advertising culture where people are bombarded with visual information through various media channels. It is possible that at this stage the balance between ‘form follows function’ becomes shifted more towards emphasis on ‘form’ as a factor that will secure audience’s attention and response. This may lead to exaggerated and imaginative design efforts aimed at describing an item with simple straightforward function. This overemphasis can be observed in many modern TV commercials where the entire story line and acting and special effects can be deployed to promote something as trivial as new variety of a morning cereal. However, the question now is if such efforts towards the production of form serve the function of selling the product. Review of Literature Graphic design is defined as “the ‘art’ of communication – to inform, educate, influence, persuade, and provide a visual experience”(Resnick, 2003, p. 15). Lawrie (2008) claims that the visual communication of ideas or concepts is the primary function of graphic design while evoking feelings, either emotional or kinaesthetic ones, are considered its secondary function. Graphic designers intend their designs to effectively carry out its meaning and that its target audience clearly understand it. For this to be effective, the designer should know how his target audience ascribes meaning to the design, so he is required to adopt to their perceptual views and share their experiences (Lawrie, 2008). A simple example would be the separate icons for toilets for men and women. The most basic icon of a woman with a flared skirt posted at the door of a toilet can be easily identified by anyone so women know it is the toilet for them and men will not enter that door because it is clearly not for them. This basic example shows the effectiveness of the relationship between form (simple icon for gender) and function (to identify which toilet is for women and which one is for men). However, going a step beyond the basic design such as putting in more feminine details for the female icon and masculine details for the male icon may trigger a stronger emotional or kinaesthetic response. An example would be giving the effect of feeling like royalty when they enter the toilet with the icon of either a king or a queen at the door. These two kinds of icons have different forms, and the function of identifying which toilet to use is the same, however, the second example may evoke a more personal meaning and experience. The previous examples illustrate Hollein’
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