Visual Perception

Visual perception as a creative resource

We love to travel to the origin of creativity and, in this case, we are going to go to the most primitive such as vision and visual perception. We have already pointed out that advertising always seeks to surprise us in order to get our attention to its message, but what are they based on in order to achieve it?

The closest answer is to know how we see and how our brain builds the image to, once known, use it creating visually effective images. It may seem irrelevant or even insignificant to talk about how we build the image, but knowing it can help a lot in the task of a creative.

We will see that there are many actions and advertising campaigns that take into account these mechanisms of vision.

What is visual perception? How do we see?

It is the ability to interpret the information and environment of the effects of visible light that reaches the eye. Visual perception is an active process with which the brain can transform the light information captured by the eye into a recreation of external reality.

Visual perception involves both the eyes and the brain. The two are closely related and allow us to understand what is happening around us.

Are there laws according to which we see or perceive the stimuli we receive?

If these form the so-called laws of Gestalt. To verify that these are really a resource widely used by creatives, let’s describe them along with an example:

Proximity Law

When we observe, we tend to perceive the closest elements as together or as the same object. The closer the elements are, the more we tend to group them as a whole.

Law of Similarity

We tend to group the elements of the same class. Elements of the composition that are similar in size, color, or shape tend to be related or grouped.

Law of Continuity

If we are faced with an image, elements oriented in the same direction tend to be organized.

Law of Symmetry

Symmetrical images are perceived as equal, as a single element, in the distance. Even though we know that half of our body is not exactly equal to the other half, when we divide it, we will perceive two symmetrical parts since they respond to the same pattern of forms. Symmetrical images are perceived as equal. If this is taken advantage of, effects like these can be created.

Closing Law

When observing an image we tend to complete that which is not shown to us of the object. Effect by which the observer tends to close, reintegrate and complete the information necessary to form a perceived object.

Even if a figure is incomplete or discontinuous, we perceive it complete, since our mind completes it. Closed and finished forms are more visually stable, which makes us tend to close unfinished forms with imagination.

Law of Contrast

An element is distinguished from the rest by its uniqueness or specificity, the shape, size, color or other qualities of the object.

Law of Figure or Background

When we are observing an image we always tend to separate it into a figure and a background in order to be able to interpret it. When we are not able to clearly distinguish a figure on a background, mimesis occurs and this can lead to ambiguity.

Law of Direction

If elements with a certain direction appear in the image, they make us fix our attention on where they are going.

Law of Pregnancy

The simplest elements are the preferred ones in the perceptive process, they allow to synthesize and “memorize” the forms that compose the image. We say that an image is pregnant when it is quickly perceived by the human eye, which captures our attention in the first place. In advertising it is undoubtedly very important to use this resource to make you see more of some things or others such as the brand.

What happens when we don’t perceive correctly?

In the process of vision or perception there can be a series of factors that cause the brain to make a false or erroneous interpretation of what it is seeing. If it makes a false interpretation, the brain creates an image that does not exist.

If it is wrong, the brain misinterprets what it sees. This is where the well-known optical illusions appear. They are images that deceive our brain. Do you think or remember any advertisement that used them?