The connection between Conceptual Design, Visual Culture and Emotion.

Jaheed Hussain
Aug 21, 2018 · 2 min read

This is a part of an essay I wrote for my contextual university studies…

Global visual culture is instrumental for creative practice in the world. The west and east differ in cultural understanding but a similarity between the two, is that people see colour symbolism and contextual information within their day-to-day lives. It communicates with audiences so that responses, insights and interpretations are reflected. Through culture, art and design and media, it can evoke emotions and feelings within the creators and the people interested in it. Mirzoeff, defines visual culture as “visual events in which information, meaning or pleasure is sought by the consumer”. This creates a sense of importance for the viewers when creating visual imagery like illustrative design. Mirzoeff also says that visual culture is defined through the viewers experience and communication with a medium, rather that the medium itself. So, creating for the purpose of meaning is so important in conceptual design. This shows that present-day creatives that influence global visual culture, create for the viewer’s interaction instead of creating for the purpose of creation. This point gives a direction towards how global visual culture affects emotions and feeling to wider audiences.


To me, emotions and feelings through art and design culture is caused by three things; our own cultural knowledge, imagination and visual elements. Cultural knowledge allows people to understand the context of an image easily, imagination allows the freedom of thought without explanation and visual elements show us the aesthetics we like and dislike. For this, imagination and visual elements have more of an impact with conceptual imagery because we as a viewer don’t know the context or reasoning of why an image has been made, we can instead imagine and interpret how or why it has.

Freedman says that “imagination develops through interdisciplinary and disciplinary experiences with visual culture”. Basically meaning that both imagination and cultural knowledge go hand-in-hand when trying to find meaning rather than both being separate ideas. Imagination is more helpful within art and design because visually, the audience have to extract information to understand what the creator was intending to do. It allows viewers to understand the concept. Berger in ‘Ways Of Seeing’ (a seriously good book) explains that the brain extracts information such as colour, tone, shadows and motion to then re-create the final visual. If we connect imagination and visual elements, we create this powerful process which evokes feelings and emotions to our viewers.

Jaheed Hussain

Written by

A freelance Graphic Designer based in Manchester, England who likes to talk about stuff. Get in touch! hello@jaheedhussain.co.uk

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