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Research Topic/ How White Space directs reader’s viewing. Contents Part 1/ Research & Analysis Background of Study Motivations Project Objectives Research Questions/ Hypothesis Research Framework: Methodologies Research Interim Presentation Final Presentation Analysis Part 2/ Design Proposal Part 3/ Appendices Bibliography Stage Reflection with tutors’ comments Other Materials Lab-logs Design Testing


Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Background of Study Motivations When I draw, I leave out a large piece of white. This is my habit. And, I like reading novels. What if the two comes together? In this study, I would like to understand more about the term white space, typically on paper, and the act of reading.

Project Objectives To investigate the role of white space in visual communication through novels, poems and paintings.


Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Background of Study Research Questions/ Hypothesis Preliminary hypothesis: “ Can white space affects imagination qualities of readers in the process of reading? ” Further Research Questions: 1 What is meant by ‘white space’? 2 What is the effect of whiteness on human vision? Any psychological effect? 3 What is imagination? How is it defined? 4 What is “reading as a process”? How do we read? Through researching, my hypothesis is refined to the followings: “ How white space affects imagination qualities of readers in the process of reading? “ “ How white space directs reader’s viewing? Hence imagination? “ Thesis White space as metaphor of empathy in imagining others.


Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Background of Study Research Framework: Methodologies Self-questioning (Refer to Appendices: lab-logs) Literature Review Design References Theoretical References Design Testing (refer to Appendices: Design Testing)


Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Research Research To make it simple to understand, the research materials are summarized in these two documents: Interim Presentation & Final Presentation. Please refer to the attached CD-ROM. For in-depth analysis of the hypothesis, please go straight to the next section: Analysis.


Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Analysis Thesis How white space directs reader’s viewing, hence imagination?

Summary This essay is about the visual role of white space on paper. The understanding of this topic is bounded by the perspective of author-reader relationship, in which white space in between being a catalyst, bridging message being delivered and received. In other words, it is about how authors send their intended message, as a kind of metaphoric imagination, with the use of white space as visualizing techniques. Printed matters including page layouts in fictions, poems and paintings are studied to give multi-perspectives in the varied roles of white space.


Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Analysis > Introduction White space, the unprinted area on paper, comes to us subtly. When we read a piece of score or a page of fiction, our eyes head on the musical notes or words. Then we comprehend and enjoy the flow of translated rhythm and visual images in our brain. We do seldom notice the space in between, even though it is what composes the rhythm and breaks the continuous strings of words. If we adjust our focus, paying attention to what these spaces are, we would be amazed by its subtlety in supporting the author’s wish. This thesis is titled as “How white space directs reader’s viewing, hence imagination?” It would be worthwhile asking why viewing is emphased before imagination (ability to form mental images and relate perceived meaning to understanding of knowledge) semantically. This could be indirectly answered by the greatest quote in 1976, “Death of the Author” by Roland Barthes, from which he stated the dominance in actual meaning (imagination) is created by readers. It is the reader’s liberty to give varied meanings by his own will/ experience. In this sense, what we, designers, can do is the viewing part in the act of reading.

> Definition of White Space To refer to the act of reading, it is a sequence in interpreting the characters or symbols of which it is composed on printed matter mentally. There are 3 stages in the interpretation of meanings, comprehension (grasping the outlook


Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Analysis of text), assimilation (realizing type size and contrast) and recognition (recognizing typefaces and line spacing). In this essay, the understanding of white space is confined to the stage of comprehension, grasping outlook and formatting possible scoop of ideas of text. As mentioned in the beginning, white space is defined as the unprinted area on paper. Therefore, it can be white or in any other colors, depending on the color of the paper. Yet, only white space in white color is researched in this study for omitting the ambiguous. Also, for the rest of this essay, white space is viewed together with the printed graphics as a whole in the composition, forming a specific idea. It is ought to realize that white space, in itself on a piece of paper (just on a piece of paper, without naming as a piece of art or anything else), does not convey any further than a piece of paper. In other words, it carries no meaning. Apart from this, we could also bare in mind that white space, unprinted area on paper, left-out compositional space, is not necessarily be the negative space (though most of the time they are the same), which means to a space interlaced with figure and ground in describing the idea of spatial interaction in terms of movements and activeness in composition. This can be understood better by the following examples of white space in fiction layout, where space only serves as ground and not activated. With such realization, we can then step further to the examples.


>> Novel: Space of Time Space used in chapter openings, seperating scenes in the story (Alcemist, 2006).

Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Analysis > Examples of White space as thought-carrier As a compositional space, white space shares the basic functions in the following 4 aspects of the Gestalt: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Closure Continuance Proximity Similarity

These visual functions mines the usage of white space as thought-carrier in the following examples: 1. Novel 2. Poem 3. Chinese Painting >> Novel: Space of Time Regardless of the ergonomic consideration of using white space in margins, linear interruption like vertical spacing and blank spaces in chapter openings separate environment of action, pause in time (Pamela) and change of scenes (Alcemist).


>> Novel: Space of Time Space for this “epistolary time” – those tiny temporal intervals occurs between action in the world and reaction on the page: “ Pamela’s narrative is separated with white space, distinguishing between passages written prior- and pose-interruption: This was very good in Mrs. Jervis; but it intimated, that she thought as ill of his Designs as I; and as she knew his Mind more than I, it convinc’d me, that I ought to get away as fast as I could. My Master came in, just now, to speak to Mrs. Jervis about Household Matters. “

Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Analysis In the case of Pamela, in sepearating time of actions, we should mind that, as mentioned, “… the greater the temporal gap between event and letter (in case of Pamela_, the greater the potential narrative dissonance and interpretive risk.”

Visual Role: Time: pause, change of environment


>>> Futurist Poem With words-in-freedom we will have: CONDENSED METAPHORS. TELEGRAPHIC IMAGES. MAXIMUM VIBRATIONS. NODES OF THOUGHT. CLOSED OR OPEN FANS OF MOVEMENT. COMPRESSED ANALOGIES. COLOUR BALANCES. DIMENSIONS. WEIGHT. MEASURES. AND THE SPEED OF SENSATIONS. THE PLUNGE OF THE ESSENTIAL WORD INTO THE WATER OF SENSIBILITY, MINUS THE CONCENTRIC CIRCLES THAT THE WORD PRODUCES. RESTFUL MOMENTS OF INTUITION. MOVEMENTS IN TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE DIFFERENT RHYTMS. THE ANALYTIC, EXPLORATORY POLES THAT SUSTAIN THE BUNDLE OF INTUITIVE STRINGS. Words-in-freedom 1919

Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Analysis >> Poem: Space of Sound, Weight, Smell and Randomness For poems, Futurist, Dada and Concrete poetries are studied. >>> Futurist Poem As stated in the lengthy manifestos of the Futurist, white space in Futurist poems refers to a liberation of the essence of material with visual sound, weight and smell:

Role of white space introduced in Poetry: 1. Sound (dynamism of objects) 2. Weight (faculty of flight inherent in objects) 3. Smell (objects being spread & disperse)

Visual Role: Sound: rhythm, volume Weight: heavy, light Smell: disperse, concentrated

(Destruction of Syntax-Imagination without strings – Words-in-Freedom, 1913)


>>> Futurist Poetry “The imagination without strings, and words-in-freedom, will bring us to the essence of material.” “absolute freedom of images or analogies, expressed with unhampered words and with no connecting strings of syntax and with no punctuation” (Destruction of Syntax-Imagination without strings – Words-in-Freedom, 1913)

Scrabrrrraanng 1919

Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Analysis


>>> Dada Poetry For the Zurich Switzerland Dadaism, it is the questioning of spiritual values of delicate high arts in post WWI time.There is a rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works. The Dada Poetry denies all sense and reason by random composition.

Dada Poetry

Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Analysis >>> Dada Poetry To revolt war, reasons and logics are the aim of the Dadaists. In the Dada poetry, asymmetry and randomness in composition is the language of anti-logic and –reasons.

Visual Role: Randomness: anti-logic


Osmose Cosmos by Pierre Garnier

Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Analysis >>> Concrete Poetry Coined by Pierre Garnier, “This new poem, is simple and can be perceived visually as whole as well as in its part� concludes the role of white space in supporting compositions. The role of white space is now in itself part of the message.

Visual Role: Support the message


(Left) 馬遠. 踏歌圖. 南宋 (Right) 調良圖.趙孟俯.元代

Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Analysis >>> Chinese Painting: Space of Abstraction and Open Viewing (Self-Empathy) Scholar paintings at late Song and Yuen periods are studied. In these scholar paintings, there exhibits an abstraction of the background in the landscape and scholar painting. There are mainly 3 reasons behind: 1 Poverty in society due to political instability from previous kingdoms 2 Misty environment of Jiang Nan region of China 3 Increase in frustrated scholars in their career life In this regard, the abstraction using white space means to open multiple viewing to readers as well as to be a empathic piece between the scenery and the author (scholars), talking about the void in their career and political outlook.

Visual Role: Time: transiting, unstated Environment: abstraction, self-empathy


Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Analysis > Short Summary of Visual functions of white space Graphical: Closure Continuance Proximity Similarity Ideological: Time: pause, change of environment Sound: silence, pause, tone of voice, rhythm, volume Weight: heavy, light Smell: disperse, concentrated Randomness: freedom, anti-logic, truth in reality Environment: abstraction, self-empathy, transiting time > After studying the above examples, there are 2 questions to be investigated: “ Why white space is left out to visualize the creators’ idea? ” “ Why they use such white space as the metaphor? “ Answering them requires acknowledging the significance of the white color and the metaphoric process in meaning creation, which in turn is imagination.


Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Analysis > Color Psychology of White Among all attributes of inferred emotions, such as purity, innocence, cold, blend, sterile, sense of space, criticism, fearfulness, light, reverence, empty and unfriendly, the reasons of why white is used as pioneer in completing and communicating thoughts of creators are due to its non-spectral nature. It means that the whiteness we see is when all colors of light come together in perfect balance. It is totally reflective, giving it a sense of penetrating and sharpness. Whereas the spatial feeling is formed by it being a warm color that it expands in dimensions.

> Reading & Imagination Focusing on the author-reader relationship in meaning creation, imagination can be defined in a more specific way. Aesthetic imagination, or better say the reader side of imagination, is an unconscious metaphoric process which readers respond to writers’ text by imitating how our brain perceives images. Such percetion process is inititated by description on forms, colors and motions. Other than this, reading a text also requires to imagine the situation, for instance, the situation of others. It is when a sense of empathy plays the role in imagining others. Such empathy, is an projective, transitory identification with others, which is not absolute and not a total identification with others. In other words, it requires onself, the reader, to know that he is putting himself into the shoes of the character in the text and knows that he is not the character. In this sense, we


Part 1/ Research & Analysis/ Analysis realize that imagination is metaphoric and imagining others requries a sense of empathy. From these, it clicks where white space, as thought-carrier, in the model of author-reader relationship can represent.

> Conclusion To conclude, white space is the medium of message that manifests the meaning as a metaphor of the author’s ideas. And, in the reader’s point of view, it is what directs his viewing. By understanding the process of imagination is an unconscious metaphoric process and readers imagines others with a sense of empathy, the message is now formed – empathy; and white space is in between to help to convey such idea as the metaphor.


Part 2/ Design Proposal Project Title White empathy

Synopsis “No story is boring unless you are senseless,� said Meke Tam, my classmate. But what if the story is incommunicable? It means the failure in either sending of message in the sender or receiving of message in the receiver. Such failure in communication refers to a certain degree of un-ability to put oneself into another’s shoes, which is a sense of empathy. The space between knowing it or not is intriguing. In visual communication, we also express with space. Space frames and shapes our message. White space, the unprinted area, in-completes and completes our message. It is likewise in the act of communication and understanding. In this project, I will use this visual technique in narrating some phenomenon in the issue of empathy in everyday life.


Part 2/ Design Proposal Design issue or opportunity To experiment the degree of comunnica-bility of white space in composition is certainly the design opportunity of this project. By cooperating the characteristic of white space as pause in the composition, it may give viewers time to reflect and to make decisions. Apart from this, empathy is one of the keys that facilitate human relationships. If we could appreciate other understand others better, we are stepping forward to make our society a better place to live.

Intended audience or users General public.

Deliverables Book format is used for it being a traditional message-carrier. It is tangible in touch and ties closely with the metaphorical meaning of white space on paper. There are two possible outcomes in book format: 1) A book with different narratives for a single message 2) A series of books in varied cases on the issue of empathy

Bibliography Please refer to Appendices.


Part 3/ Appendices Bibliography Stage Reflection with tutors’ comments Other Materials Lab-logs Design Testing


Part 3/ Appendices/ Bibliography Bibliography Books > Imagination Arnold H. Modell. Imagination and the meaningful brain. Cambridge: MIT Press (2003) > White Space Janine Barchas. Graphic design, print culture, and the eighteenth-century novel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2003) 臺北市立美術館.西洋現代藝術. 臺北: 該館(1987) Caroline Tisdall, Angelo Bozzolla. Futurism. London: Thames and Hudson (1977) Umbro Apollonio. Futurist manifestos. London: Thames and Hudson (1973) Berjouhi Bowler. The word as image. London: Studio Vista (1970) John Bowers. Introduction to Two-Dimensional Design: Understanding Form and Function New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc (2008) PYRAMYD. Massin. China: China Youth Press (2006) 宗白華.美學散步. 中國上海: 人民出版社(2006)


Part 3/ Appendices/ Bibliography > White Space 蔣勳.美的沈思 - 中国艺术思想刍论 中國:文 出版社(2005) 楊永德.中國古代書籍裝幀 中國北京: 人民美術出版社(2006) 罗树宝.书香三千年 中國: 湖南文艺出版社(2005)

> White & Color Psychology 張志雄. 生命的密碼, 色彩知道 台灣: 人本自然文化事業有限公司 (2005) 維根斯坦. 論色彩. 台灣: 桂冠圖書股份有限公司. (2004) Margaret Livingstone. Vision and art : the biology of seeing NY: Harry N. Abrams (2002)

> Reading 阿爾維托·曼古埃爾, 吳昌杰譯. 閱讀地圖. 台北: 台灣商務印書館股份有限公司 (1999) Roland Barthes. Image, music, text. London: Fontana (1977) Unger Gerard. While You’re Reading. New York: Mark Batty Publishing (2007)


Part 3/ Appendices/ Bibliography >Reading 郝明義. 越讀者. 台灣:英屬蓋曼群島商網路與書股份有限公司 (2007) 高行健. 車站 台北市: 聯合文學出版社有限公司 (2001) John Talbot. Chillers – Freak Out! London: A&C Black (Publishers) Ltd. (1997) Karla Kuskin. Moon Have You Met My Mother? The Collected Poems of Karla Kuskin. UK: HarperCollins (2003)

WEB DuBay, W. H. The Principles of Readability (2004) http://www.impact-information.com/impactinfo/readability02.pdf The medium is the message - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_medium_is_the_message What is the Meaning of The Medium is the Message? by Mark Federman http://individual.utoronto.ca/markfederman/article_mediumisthemessage.htm Narrative - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrative Concrete poetry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concrete_poetry Sound poetry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_poetry


Part 3/ Appendices/ Bibliography > WEB Visual perception - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_perception Eye movement in language reading - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_movement_in_language_reading Eye Movement Skills http://www.hopecliniconline.com/readingex5.php Color Symbolism and psychology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_symbolism Grimms Fairy Tales - The Three Languages http://www.familymanagement.com/literacy/grimms/grimms25.html

> OTHERS Keith Tam’s Lecture on Graphic & Spatial Cues.pdf Kith Tsang’s Lecture on Deconstruction.ppt


Part 3/ Appendices/ Stage Reflection with tutors’ comments Stage 1 – Exploration In this stage, it is all about the stirring up and brewing my interests in certain key terms. They are white space, reading and fiction novels. Having a time to read all over is fun, but it needs time to review on what’s read. Somehow I skim-read and forgot immediately of those I read. A note-taking system may be helpful.

Tutor’s comment: I could carry on my exploration.


Part 3/ Appendices/ Stage Reflection with tutors’ comments Stage 2 – Ideation phase I My ideation comes quite naturally to link white space and imagination. In this stage, definitions are needed. But it is not easy to give definitions. And, the lack of relevant reference material affects a lot. This is resulted in the inability in identifying the issue to mine my research direction. Indeed, there is a huge pool of related topics in my hypothesis. And the lack of knowledge in the field is another key problem. To solve this, I tried to read quickly and discuss with others.

Tutor’s comment: I could carry on my exploration.


Part 3/ Appendices/ Stage Reflection with tutors’ comments Stage 3 – Interim Critique The interim critique is okay. But those unsolved in definition generation and issue identification are still unsolved. Along with this, there is a problem in analysis and organization. There is time that I cannot draw any correlation of what is said on books to me. It is like they are all meaningful and at the same time none-of-my-business! To assist this, I tried to note my questions down to assist a linear thinking. And for those unsolved, it is a matter of inexperience, I think.

Tutor’s comment: The difference in actually visual imagination of each reader is an interesting part in the process of reading.


Part 3/ Appendices/ Stage Reflection with tutors’ comments Stage 4 – Ideation phase II To make it simple is the golden rule. After setting the definition of white space, I can frame my research pool. This saves time and me. Thanks God.

Tutor’s comment: The hypothesis could twist a bit from ‘white space affecting imagination’ to ‘design direct reader’s viewing and then imagination. Along the thesis, it could be a visual representation exploration on the same text to see the alternation. It would also be a discussion of my own viewpoint on white space.


Part 3/ Appendices/ Stage Reflection with tutors’ comments Stage 5 – Final Presentation This is the day I realized what an insight mean.

Tutor’s comment: Eventually, the hypothesis got to thesis. And the linking between white space and as metaphor of empathy (premise for imagining others) could help leap to the next stage of the project, to contextualizing the use of the thought-carrier characteristics of white space.


Part 3/ Appendices/ Overall Reflection on learning experience Identifying Issues & Locating References It is of the utmost important of the whole research process. I am still learning the secret of it. It is now like a lucky draw from the pool of research material.

Working Style I need to talk to people to help my thinking. I could easily think in circles when I think alone. Anyway, I need to find ways to affirm myself. For these two issues, I can only think of trial-and-error and work harder.

Group Presentation I think combing two sub-groups in the presentation is good for us to have better chance to exchange ideas and get inspired from projects of others.

Course Setting I think this Independent Study should not overlap with the schedule of other subjects. Overlapping with others in the end of a semester means to give away time of the I.S to prepare for final presentation of counterpart subjects. And this hurt because we all love to concentrate and perform the best for the Final Year Project.


Part 3/ Appendices/ Other Materials Other Materials Lab-logs Design Testing


How white space directs reader's viewing.