Sunday, August 28, 2016

Visual Symbols in My Life

Question: Describe how visual symbols affect your life on a daily basis. 

Before I enrolled in this course, I never much considered the role that visuals play in my life. Like most people probably have done, I've momentarily tried to imagine what it might be like to be blind. I've found it's near impossible to imagine what it might be like to never see faces, see something you've made, or even see a movie. For those who are in full use of their sense of sight, visuals are everywhere and shape nearly all of our experiences every minute of the day.


I love to journal and write down inspirational quotes.
As an English-teaching major, I feel I am constantly creating with visuals. I write words in my journal and read text on pages of my favorite books. Words themselves are just visual symbols. Besides writing and reading, I also like to paint on occasion. For many of my paintings, I use visuals which already exist and try to paint them onto a canvas. For example, I looked at an image of a black cat in order to paint the one shown above. I also create with visuals in my role as a Resident Assistant. I make signs for programs to hang on the walls as well as bulletin boards every month.
These are three books I'm reading right now.


I painted this image of a cat.


A bulletin board I made that is currently hanging outside my door.


Visual symbols have a way of helping us understand and make sense of the world around us. For example, I know that a bathroom stall is taken when the door is shut and latch is red, but it is available when the door is open and latch is green. On a faucet, red means hot and blue means cold. The streetlight signals either red, yellow, or green to tell us how fast we should go while driving. Our phones give us visuals on our screen to let us know when we have notifications on our apps or texts.
Phone notifications can be annoying but also helps us understand.


People naturally classify or organize visual cues to better make sense of them. For example, in my planner, I use color coding of highlighters to signify whether I have a project or an event that I need to do or go to. I alphabetize my DVD's so I can find them with more ease when I need them. Even in decorating my room, I try to stick to a specific color scheme and classification.
Color coding is one way to organize visually.
My alphabetized DVD collection.


Humans appreciate the visual symbols in their life when they produce emotional feelings or make life easier. To address the first, people appreciate movies, photography, and art when they stir emotion. In regards to the second, people appreciate visual symbols like the arrow inside your car which tells you which side your gas cap is on because they know which way to pull up to the gas pump.

These are my preliminary ideas on the role visual symbols might play in our lives. I know I still have a long way to come this semester, but I'll be interested to see how my thoughts and ideas change over the next several weeks.

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