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OUGD501: Context of Practice 2 (Seminar) - Communication Theory

The Shannon-Weaver mathematical model (1949)
  • Simplistic method of communication, 
  • Taking two elements and breaking them down into 5 element, plus the noise source. 
  • They primarily looked at telecommunications.
How this is relevant and applicable to Graphic Designers
  • Information Source: The concept, the idea, the brief, the problem. 
  • The Transmitter (encoder): creating the design, transforming the problem into a piece of Graphic Design
  • Channel: The Piece of Graphic Design itself, the deliverable
  • Receiver (Decoder): Someone making sense of the design, assuming it's good design 
  • Destination: The audience getting the message, the solution to the problem.
  • <s> Noise Source: Could be the stock, or to what it is applied to </s>
What problems could occur which would stop the communication; relevant to Graphic Design
  • Information Source: Information may be inaccurate, you might get the wrong end of the stick, conceptual problems, 
  • Transmitter (encoder): Limited timescale, creative block, bad designer, misinterpreted information, not considering the target audience 
  • Channel: Damaged or destroyed, ineffective location,  production issues, limitations of the subject
  • Receiver (Decoder): Perhaps it might be aimed at the wrong audience, Colour issues, could be offensive,
  • Destination: Lack of feedback, (however, this has hit a flaw with the model, as it's entirely linear, no way to give feedback), 
Methods to fix the problems
  • Information Source:Ask questions, make sure you know, do more research
  • Transmitter (encoder): Design it properly, get feedback
  • Channel: Make it simple, strong, understandable,
  • Receiver (Decoder): Make sure you're speaking in ways the understanding can understand
  • Destination: Give feedback.
Noises (things which disrupt the process)
  • Information Source: Low budget, budget limitations, boring subject, boring client - something which discourages you, unethical ideals
  • Transmitter (encoder): To the extent of your style, is it appropriate? Fussy clients, 
  • Channel: Destructions to the application, the z key doesn't work on the mac. 
  • Receiver (decoder): Colourblind clients, what's next to your design
  • Destination: poor reputation of the brand, lack of popular opinion, sub culture opinions. 
Communication Problems - Shannon-Weaver subcategorised all the possible problems which can go wrong
  • Level A - Technical Problems - How accurately can the message be transmitted
  • Level B - Semantic Problems - How precisely is the message conveyed
  • Level C - Effectiveness problems - How effectively does the received meaning affect behaviour 
Level A Problems 
  • Printing, 
  • cost, 
  • trail and error process, 
  • timescale, 
  • lack of understanding in relation to the process, 
  • lack of skill, 
  • Broken laptop, 
  • Problems with your ability to use software, 
  • Problems with your techniques
Level B  
  • Misinterpretation of the message both being conveyed and received
  • Tone of Voice
  • Colour schemes,
  • Visual stuff
Level C 
  • Offensive design, in poor taste,
  • Colour issues, 
  • Subtle metaphor, which may be misread
  • Location
Noise - Anything untended added to the single between transmission and reception. Noise can actually be something you aim for, something which you would want to communicate through. Not always entirely negative. Certain visually communicators might choose to be the noise source to an already established channel, for example putting graffiti onto a poster, to disrupt it, messing with the system. Hijacking an existing channel and making it your own, as a sort of visual pirate, creatively becoming the noise and inserting yourself into the channel, although you need to understand the channel before you place yourself into it. Noise can be both a problem and a solution. 

Redundancy vs Entropy
  • Redundant, smooth communication
  • Whereas Entropy is almost like a leaking, not smooth, it changes into something entirely different
  • Redundancy
  • There's not a lot to take in or understand
  • High predictability
  • Low information
  • Easily understandable
  • Conventional, readable, etc. 
  • You can tap into existing conventions, cultural assumptions, to form a redundancy - reflecting a prejudice. 
  • Low predictability
  • Unconventional
  • High information
  • Complex, open to a large amount of interpretation 
  • You might want to create something entropic for attention
Apply Shannon & Weaver's model to an example of communication. ow widely is the applicable? How useful do you find this source of exercise. Write a short analysis for your blogs, also think about the limits of Shannon & Weaver's model

What are the main communicative functions of redundancy? What do we mean by saying the English language is 50% redundant?

Discuss the ways in which convention can be said to facilitate understanding. Think of visual communication that breaks or extend specific conventions. How does this affect desire to communicate or the audience the reach? 

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