sally's blog

Typefaces Make a Difference (06-11-14)

The typefaces selected for use in signage and other applications have emotional associations for viewers.  As Amare and Manning detail, “Various studies have correlated specific visual characteristics of typefaces with specific overall emotional effects: curvilinear forms and open letter shapes generally feel “friendly” but also “formal” or “informal,” depending on other factors; large contrasts in stroke widths, cap height, and aspect ratio generally feel “interesting,” but also “attractive” or “aggressive,” depending on other factors; low-variety and low-contrast forms generally feel

Feeling Impulsive? Find Nature (06-10-14)

Need another reason to incorporate nature into designed environments?  Now you have one.  Berry and her team report that “The benefits of visual exposure to natural environments for human well-being in areas of stress reduction, mood improvement, and attention restoration are well documented.”  They found that participants in a study they conducted were less impulsive when looking at images of nature than when they looked at pictures of built environments: “Participants were less impulsive in the condition providing visual exposure to natural scenes compared to built and geom

Message Symmetry a Plus (06-09-14)

Signage for wayfinding and other purposes should be visually symmetrical.  For example, if there’s a roughly square-ish graphic to the left of any text, for example, an arrow indicating direction of travel, there should be a roughly square-ish graphic to the right of that text, although the image to the right does not have to be the same arrow that appears to the left.  Roughly matching overall shape is fine.  As Middlewood and Gasper report, “We hypothesized that text displayed in a symmetrical, rather than asymmetrical, layout would be more appealing to people, and that app

Virtual Can Be OK (06-06-14)

Grabher and Ibert have learned that virtual groups can perform at high levels, although there are valid reasons to co-locate teams (read this article for related details).

Maximize Morning Sun (06-05-14)

Siting structures so that people in them are exposed to morning sunlight can help combat the obesity epidemic.  Phyllis Zee of Northwestern University’s medical school lead a team that has learned that “people who are exposed to even moderately bright morning light have a significantly lower body mass index—a ratio calculated from a person’s weight and height—than those who had their first exposure later in the day.”  The earlier the light exposure, the more effect it had on body mass index; best is sunlight between 8 a.m.

Build Bike Lanes! (06-04-14)

Researchers at Clemson have learned that people who are bicycling are generally in a better mood than people traveling in cars or by public transportation.  Multiple studies reported in Research Design Connections have linked more positive moods with more creative thinking, faster wound healing, and improved ability to get along with others, for example.  Data from the Bureau of Labor statistics were analyzed by a team headed by Clemson researcher Eric Morris.  Analyses indicated that “’people are in the best mood while they are bicycling compared to any other mode o

An Argument for Movable Seats (06-03-14)

Research findings from Pitts, Wilson, and Hugenberg confirm that when chairs can be moved easily, more people are likely to be at what they consider comfortable distances from others.  Pitts and his team report that the feeling that ensues after being social rejected by someone else “biases perceptions of one’s distance from a social target, making others seem closer than they are.”

Mood and Creativity (06-02-14)

A new study links mood and creativity; it is relevant to designers’ work because design can influence emotional state.  The Monitor on Psychology reports that by randomly contacted adults over a week period (by sending messages to their cellphones to which they were asked to reply) researchers at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro found that “People reported doing something creative around 20 percent of the time, and those who generally reported feeling happy and active were much more likely to be doing something creative in a given moment, such as making up their