March 6, 2012

AHA! Journal- March, 2012



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Week 1, March 5, 2012


The above video is an 10 minutes introduction to China.  The introduction is amazingly comprehensive and concise. It shows culture, tradition,government, economy, education, people's habits and customs of this one of the biggest nation in the world. However, it was not made by Chinese people but a foreigner. Many Chinese people were surprised by the details that are revealed in the video- how a foreigner knows so much and deeply about China. Therefore, this video is widely circulated among major sites and personal blogs in China. I feel the reason why this video is so popular may attribute to its strong visual appeal. The graphic design in the video is vivid and meaningful, some characters are designed being stereotyped in order to add satiric or comic effects to the film. Through decoding the visual message in the film, people can easily gain the information which might be hard to understand only interpreted by verbal language. Making the abstract information straightforward and funny is the beauty of visuals.

The following are two similar videos which strongly rely on visuals to explain serious topics in a funny way.


                                     (Difference between Italian and European)



(U.S. Debt Crisis)

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Week 2, March 12, 2012 

A to Z from Ting Li on Vimeo.
Visual-spatial learning ( also known as right-brain learner )is the common phenomenon of thinking through visual processing using the part of the brain that is emotional and creative to organize information in an intuitive and simultaneous way. (Wikipedia)

The visual-spatial learner thinks primarily in pictures and images. They tend to perceive the big picture of environment, storing information in a non-sequential fashion. Their rich internal imagery makes them very imaginative and creative.  They learn best by seeing relationships among subjects and develop their own methods of problem solving, interestingly, their solutions to problems are often unusual.  In addition, visual-spatial learners have an excellent awareness of space. They enjoy geometry and physics. The spatial awareness also gives them skills in manipulating complex tasks.

Visual- spatial intelligence can be broken down further into two categories – these are innate and learned. Innate visual spatial intelligence is gifted when people were born and Learned visual-spatial intelligence involves improvement in the capactiy to recognize and organize patterns that comes with practice.

Learning styles 


  Right Brain VS. Left Brain Test


Use your strength to learn - for visual-spatial (right-brain) learners
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Week 3, March 19, 2012



This is a short animation named Humanity. It remains me the movie I just watched – Crash.  Crash reveals human nature by presenting stories happened among people with different races and cultures. It seems like human destiny is interrelated with each other and confliction is inevitable in social interpersonal relation. It’s hard to define whether a person is good or bad in the movie, people make decisions, doing things wrong and right. It’s the real world.
 When use animation to convey information, we are able to create something divorced from reality to convey ideas to audience.  This animation is a typical example. It shows humanity in a totally different perspective. There is not dialogue and background music in this short animation. It’s not even telling a story.  Generally, anthropomorphic approach is often used to shape cartoon characters in most animation movies. However, this animation goes to an opposite way, bringing us a strong impact on vision and imagine. People serve others and are served by others.  Do you ever think about your position in the society?


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Week 4, March 26, 2012

By Tang Yin's  (1470—1523)

 By Wang Xizhi (AD 303-361)

Chinese ink painting is a branch of traditional Chinese painting. Different from Western painting, calligraphy plays an essential role in Chinese ink painting. This kind of painting usually creates a strong cultural and historical visual impact to audience.   Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see that Chinese ink painting is integrated into visual design to form a unique visual appeal and establish a new visual image of traditional Chinese culture.


 (The above pictures are advertising post of a high-class real-estate)

Traditional Chinese ink painting is rooted in traditional Chinese culture, having long historical and cultural heritage.  It pays attention to artistic conception, reflecting the traditional thinking characteristics and charm of Chinese traditional arts. The unique feeling, vision and expression of Chinese ink painting wouldn’t be replaced by any other means of artistic expression.  It not only conveys wealth of information but also gives audience a wealth of space for imagination.  However, it also has its limitation – people without basic knowledge of Chinese culture may not get the accurate information and may misinterpret what designer want to express by using this kind of visual images with strong cultural elements.  


The above is one of the shows of CCTV 2012 Chinese lunar New Year Party. It tells a story about how Chinese new year comes from. The voice over is in Chinese. Without verbal cues, are you able to tell the story by interpreting meaning of visuals? How do you like the visual elements in the show?

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