Tension in Design

The concept of tension is very understated. To me, tension design is more than just a way to present what you want to say and sell it to an audience, but also as a way to enhance user experiences. Particularly in the case of cognitive functioning. Storytelling as a large component of tension in design, and is a proven way to improve users’ recall of information. I’m speaking for myself, but I know when I find an aesthetically pleasing design I will stop and take a look at it for a longer period of time, and more than likely make the time to read it, although, it is up to the designer and writer to find a good balance between content and visuals that can pull my attention and still make sense in context. The more it pulls my attention the more I will remember it, maybe because it took up so much of my mind for even a minute or so. I’m generalizing but –  it is a constant battle for designers to consistently gain attention and ignite interest in their audience.

The three things that can cause tension in a story – something that has happened that shouldn’t have, something that should have happened but didn’t, and something irregular that has happened in a space or time – can, in my opinion, be applied to almost any story. Just like the example showed in class on the advice from a divorcee, I know for a fact that I would have never actively engaged with that article without some kind of driving factor, such as, design tension. For me the type of tension that makes me most interested is something that happened but shouldn’t, I think it’s because it appeals to my emotions and empathic nature. Design tension seems to have a direct relationship with the rhetorical principles I learned in my first year – I would actually call it a visual rhetoric.

In conclusion, my reflection led to me realizing that design tension in some way relates to many of the information design concepts I’ve already learned in class over the last 2 years. Which only further proves the validity of the concept as a whole.

 

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