Visual Order Book

A visual vocabulary to rationalise visual design decisions. 

Visual order is a method to build a common visual vocabulary in the context of arranging elements in a two-dimensional space. It introduces visual order through participative tasks and then emphasises the difference between hierarchy and order. The idea is to gain a deeper understanding of creating conscious and purposeful arrangements.
Communication design instructors / students / professionals  

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About the book:

The book attempts to explain principles that govern the creation of Visual Order (hierarchy). Visual Order is addressed in the context of relationships between elements which coexist in a two-dimensional space. The objective is to internalize an experience by creating Visual Order; a planned arrangement which allows perception of the desired meaning.

When one meditates, one experiences meditation for the self. This experience of meditation can only be told to someone with the help of an analogy. If someone has to experience the experience, it can only be internalized by doing (i.e. Meditating).

If ‘doing’ is bound by the limitation of time, then the act is imitated with the help of analogies. Analogies help us understand the experience.

To begin the process of learning, an experiment was formulated to understand visual design principles through analogies. These analogies were further mapped to real-world design tasks through comparisons and initiated discussions by the instructor. The experiment was conducted over a span of four to five years across various design institutes and has manifested itself into a teaching method documented in this book titled Visual Order.  
Visual Order Workshop Task: Create visual order: 1,2
Student work from Vishwaniketan Institute of Design // Credits: VINAY / SURBHI / MEDINI

Why this book?

Tool versus the Task - Analog versus Digital.
Assignments in the foundation years of design institutes are commonly criticized for lacking a methodical scientific approach and leaning towards subjective exercises in art. This issue continues to be debated and leads to the dominance of one kind of approach over the other. Most of the time, the discourse is predominantly about which approach is more effective for modern Graphic Design education, rather than suggesting empirical methods to create newer paradigms of design education.

In the pursuit to balance both modes of thinking, (vertical + lateral*), this book proposes a method towards criteria based education in Graphic Design. It means the design of a teaching method which is goal-oriented (to foster vertical thinking), as well as, open-ended; free for exploration (encourage lateral thinking). 
This book also exhibits that visual decisions rendered by a graphic designer while arranging elements (in this case, type/ letterforms) within a two-dimensional space are not purely guided by intuition and imagination. In fact, these decisions are objective, rational and dictated by the need of the message to be communicated. It attempts to create the necessary awareness that if these design decisions are misunderstood then they are interpreted as being whimsical and irrational, most often by novice designers attempting to discern the principles of visual design.

Aim of the book:

The aim of the book is not to reiterate the fact that elements and principles of design are the basis of all arrangements in a visual space. There are many excellent books that demonstrate and define these principles quite elaborately. The attempt is to create a new method that encourages and engages an exploration of visual design principles through performance; to explore arrangements in collaboration with other students rather than in isolation. Isolation here refers to the act of working on a computer, spending more time and effort struggling with the tool instead of focusing on the task.

This book encourages students to make conscious design decisions while creating an arrangement with the aim of instilling objectivity and sharpening anticipation during creation. And finally, to validate the anticipated by testing it with the audience or viewers.  

Objective of the book:

The objective of the book is to introduce a method to encourage collaborative environments for learning, where physical participation, dialogue and involvement with a purpose (the task) are of prime concern. This experiment is an attempt to balance the future of design education, namely traditional and modern ideas, through recognizing and associating rational thinking with exploration and creativity.

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Mandar Rane
Prof. Mandar Rane
Communication Design
Faculty IDC, IIT Bombay
book details

Mumbai, Maharashtra, India


Prof. Mandar Rane
B/55, Anil CHS, Gavand Path,
Naupada, Thane (W) 400602
Maharashtra, India


TRIKKON 231/ A, 1/1, Rangari Building,
N.M. Joshi Marg, Lower Parel
Mumbai 400 013

Printed in India

ISBN: 978-93-5196-615-9

PAGES: 228