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Perceptual Tendencies

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Some standard ways people tend to view visual matter.

Visual hierarchy is the order in which the human eye perceives what it sees. This order is created by the visual contrast between forms in a field of perception. Objects with highest contrast to their surroundings are recognized first by the human mind. The term visual hierarchy is used most frequently in the discourse of the visual arts fields, notably so within the field of graphic design

The brain disassociates objects from one another based upon the differences between their physical characteristics. These characteristics fall into four categories: color, size, alignment, and character. The category of color encompasses the hue, saturation, value, and perceived texture of forms. Size describes the surface area of a form. Alignment is the arrangement of forms with respect to their direction, orientation, or pattern. Character is the rectilinearity and curvilinearity of forms. Forms that have differences in these characteristics contrast each other.

Application Visual hierarchy is an important concept in the field of graphic design, a field that specializes in visual organization. Designers attempt to control visual hierarchy to guide the eye to information in a specific order for a specific purpose. One could compare visual hierarchy in graphic design to grammatical structure in writing in terms of the importance of each principle to these fields.

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