Parsing, landscapes and art: Some speculations

By Gordon Rugg

In previous articles, I discussed how humans parse what they see, so as to make sense of it, in just the same way that they parse the words that they hear. In both types of parsing, ambiguities can arise; in both types of parsing, those ambiguities can act as a source of interest to the person doing the parsing.

This article looks at ambiguities in parsing landscapes, and at some speculative overlaps with art. In a later article, I’ll discuss how people parse landscapes, with particular regard to the practical implications for site design and for urban planning.


Image from wikimedia: 800px-Salar_de_Uyuni,_Bolivia_2.jpg

Continue reading


Parsing designs, and making designs interesting

By Gordon Rugg

Making a design interesting can be a significant challenge for designers, particularly when working in a well-established field where most of the obvious approaches have already been tried.

Two simple but effective ways of making a design interesting are:

  • making the design novel, in terms of deep structure and/or surface structure
  • making the design difficult or impossible to parse.

The companion article to this one examines ways of making a design novel. This article looks at ways of making a design interesting by making it difficult or impossible to parse.


Continue reading

Making designs interesting with skeuomorphs: What’s in a shape?

By Gordon Rugg

In another post, I discussed ways of making a design interesting by making it difficult or impossible to parse.

This article looks at one way of achieving this, by using skeuomorphs – in other words, deliberately making part of the design look like something else. It’s a long-established design concept, though with variable results…


Continue reading