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Art appreciation, the art director

1. Select a visually interesting advertisement to analyze. This could be from the web,
from a magazine, or even from a billboard you saw on the street.
2. Study the advertisement for its formal qualities (referring to just the form it takes).
3. Spend some time observing, thinking, and writing. Take notes. Record details about
the work that interest you.
4. Use the following guidelines to analyze those details.
FORMAL ANALYSIS
Line
Line is emotive, so how might you describe the line using an emotion: lazy, angry,
etc.
Shape
Organic or geometric. Since they are made using line these also have emotions
attached to them.
Mass
How is the artist working to make objects look like they have visual mass?
Space
What is the depth of field? Is it very shallow? Or does the illusion take us back into
space? What could be considered negative space and what is positive space?
Time & Motion
Is there any reference to paused time or that something has motion?
Light
Where is the light source? Check the shadows. How is the contrast between
values?
Color
Ads are good places to find common color schemes. How are the color schemes
being used?
Texture
Is the artist using texture at all? How are they simulating it and what kinds of
reaction does thinking about that texture cause?
Unity
What gives it some continuity? line, shape, color, texture
Variety
What gives it some pizzazz?
Balance
Symmetrical
Designs can start out with a strong symmetrical base and then have
asymmetrical elements thrown in.
Asymmetrical
What is causing the balance? Check along a diagonal. Look for contrasts.
Emphasis/Focal Point
Ask your eye where it started. What do you think was leading it to start there?
Could there be more than one visual element that leads you there?
Repetition
What is common throughout the piece? Could be line, shape, color, texture.
Rhythm
Is the common object creating a rhythm and what kind of rhythm is it? Jazzy?
Smooth and classical?
Directional Forces
Any implied lines formed by edges? By repeated objects? By actual arrows?
Contrast
Contrast through value, texture, etc.
Scale & Proportion
Does the designer mess with our common thoughts about scale and proportion or is
everything how it should be?
CONNECTING THE CONCEPTUAL TO THE FORMAL
The point is that someone is trying to sell you something. What, besides the product, are
they trying to sell you? Which formal elements are connected to the sell? Well? Are you
sold?
5. When you have completed your sketching and writing, present your findings in a
succinct two page paper.
6. Please include the image either in the document of your paper or as a separately
attached file.

 

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