Seeing, looking and Frutiger

They say that seeing and looking have entirely different meanings. You might at first agree and continue on, but if you do so then you miss the big picture. What exactly does one see when you look at a simple wooden door? I used to see faces and horses on the door of one of the old wardrobes at home when I was about four. So why do simple things evoke something that is entirely different than the initial? We do associate simple shapes or patches of a spilt juice to things quite distinct. Yesterday in class (VA 301 – Project Studio I), we watched a short documentary about Adrian Frutiger, a renowned typeface designer, and in some part of the documentary it was shown how Frutiger transmits something out of nature into artwork with simple black and white shapes. I think it might be one of the best ways of understanding how somebody sees while looking.

Patterns like Frutiger’s, of course, are very simple to understand because you somehow know what the shapes talk about. However, if the question “what do you see when you look at this?” is also asked in a psychologists’ room, while a Rorschach test is taking place. Think about it, some person who shows you a bunch of pictures can tell what kind of the person you are deep inside if they listen to what you associate the pictures to. So why not try getting to know yourself better in the first place? I say we should keep associating things with each other, putting aside our grown-up minds once in a while, like that one time you lay back and gazed at the clouds, saying that the one on the right looked like a bunny. Because I think that is the only way we will keep seeing what we look at.

A legible sans that Frutiger designed, originally created for use on signage at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

A legible sans that Frutiger designed, originally created for use on signage at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

A sample rorschach ink test

A sample rorschach ink test

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