Visual Aesthetics

posted under by Philip Howlett
"Look at an object and discuss it in terms of it's visual aesthetics"

I found it quite difficult to think of an object I'd actually care about discussing in terms of aesthetics. I'm a bit of a functionality bloke personally. I like things to perform their function, with looks taking seconds place. I racked my brain a little and all I kept thinking was "iPod". Thankfully for anyone reading this, I'm not going to write about it. I'll admit they're beautiful and wonderful, but their aesthetics are assessed in thousands of Internet articles, so lets not go there ever again. I thought it would be best to discuss something I actually own, something I live with every day. You can't really understand an object through photos alone, you need to experience it.

I've chosen to have a look at the change in LCD televisions, more specifically Samsung ones. There are three in my house currently, all of varying sizes and all from different periods of time. Up until the very latest models, Samsung screens have had quite an iconic shape. They have a 'V' shaped bottom to the panel which incorporates the speakers. In a market where the shape of your product is confined to a rectangle, I take this as quite a unique visual style. The advantage of this specific shape is that Samsung get brand recognition and the users associate the styling to the company. It's a smart move on their part, and it gives you something a little bit different.

The oldest model had the boldest styling, but not necessarily the best. Looking at these photo's you can see the 'V' shape was very harsh, and looking at it compared to current models it looks a little out of place. I don't think the grey speakers do the rest of the screen any justice either. The shiny black plastic is a great touch however. Not only does it make the screen stand out, looking slick and modern, but it also helps to improve your perception of picture quality. By framing the picture with black, it makes the image appear more vibrant. This is a great example of form and function working together. The grey on the other hand, rather dulls the set down. By using a matte effect plastic it spoils the theme. Maybe a better alternative would have been a chrome effect or continue to use the gloss finish black plastic.

You can also see that it was quite an angular set, by the standards
of newer versions. It has sharp corners, and a boxy feel. Along the side as well are buttons, hidden from the user. This makes the whole package much slicker. There's less visual noise going on, instead opting for clean surfaces. These are all trends which have evolved in the Samsung range.

The next stage in Samsung screens was to make things even smarter. For starters the entire set was smoothed out, so it could keep up with changes being made throughout the home video market. You can see how the colours and shapes of products are influenced by one another. For instance nearly all televisions are black or grey/silver now. If any other colours were used then the new products would look out of place. This is something consumers dislike. The television has to suit the latest interior designs and trends in home furnishing. As it happens, people quite like smooth objects, utilising new materials, like our beloved iPod. As a result you have no sharp corners or edges on this television. You can see as well that the 'v' shape has been toned down. Now that the brand recognition is in place, it doesn't need to be relied on so heavily. The speakers to the set have been moved up, so it becomes even smaller. The plastic casing is now entirely black to give it a uniform appearance, minus the speakers which have become a darker "steel" colour.

The most recent S
amsung set I own takes things further. While having the buttons on the side made previous sets look cooler, it wasn't entirely practical. Now you have the buttons on the front, but they're barely visible so not to detract from the looks. They've become touch-sensitive, so they hardly extrude from the frame. This shows how advancements in technology can help manufacturers and designers reach new levels of aesthetic beauty. Other than this, no changes have been made to the frame of the screen. Samsung obviously felt they'd reached their optimum smoothness. The 'V' shape has all but dissapeared, now being relegated to a simple bow shaped piece of acrylic which lights up when the set is on. This is a nice little touch, one which impresses people and gives it a little 'wow' factor.

Comment on Ashley Eltons article
"...I thought this was an accurate, in-depth review of the aesthetics of this product. I haven't seen this particular mouse before, so I found this an interesting article. As you said the colours are striking and create an effective visual contrast. It's got tons of character as you pointed out, and it's styling is really appealing to me and probably other people of our age. The fact you've drawn comparisons to real life cars shows that you've researched and really thought about the product you're assessing.

I would also maybe comment on the fact that the styling of this product makes it a novelty item. Mouse designs are fairly generic, as they have to perform their function with comfort being of the utmost importance. Here a manufacturer has given a mouse a 'gimmick' which makes it appealing for different reasons."


Make A Comment