Review of Pheromone: The Insect Artwork of Christopher Marley

I reviewed the book Pheromone: The Insect Artwork of Christopher Marley for Science Book a Day. It takes a topic many people are uncomfortable with, and uses art to show another perspective. It also demonstrates design principles, like how to arrange clashing eclectic colours in ways that don’t hurt your brain. You can read my review here.

What the hell are design principles?

Simply put, design principles are like visual grammar. With them, we can create a hierarchy of visual elements that helps us guide the audience around an image or page and emphasise the most important aspects of a design, without the viewer ever having to think about it. We can achieve this by understanding the way our minds perceive what we see, and using this knowledges to construct clear visuals. And one thing the human brain is very good at is noticing differences.
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How to digitise a drawing

millions of feral cats, less than one thousand numbats

While it is true that some of us are more practised at drawing than others, anyone can draw and you don’t need to create Rembrandtian masterpieces to communicate a point. In fact, simplified caricatures are recognised more easily than photos. Psychologists Christopher Chabris and Stephen Kosslyn believe the mental images we form in our minds actually match caricatures better then fully rendered images, because our minds emphasise what is different about an object and de-emphasises similarities. This is why cartoons are effective.
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