The problem of seeing and identifying a familiar object can be divided into two stages: coding and classifying. Coding reduces the multidimensional stimulus to a few features; classifying uses the features to identify the object. Most of what we know about classifying has come from engineers, while physiologists and psychophysicists have concentrated on the coding problem. How people recognize an object might seem trivial, because we do it so easily, but it has resisted all attempts to understand and explain it. Our past work has shown that letter identification begins with independent detection of features, and then integrates those features. We can say quite a bit about the feature detectors, and rather little about the feature integrator.

Denis Pelli

‘Explain, explain,’ grumbled Étienne. ‘If you people can’t name something you’re incapable of seeing it.’

Julio Cortázar

The map is not the territory. Shaping context & connection is an act of architecture. A new form of space requires a new form of architecture. Space made of information requires information architecture.

Alfred Korzybski

Design thinking is about analyzing situations and becoming conscious.

Ellen Lupton

How do you expect to have great architecture when you wear such terrible clothes?

Bernard Rudofsky

It is true that we were born with our eyes, but they will only open slowly to beauty, much more slowly than one thinks.


Cognizing of ‘things’ is prior to cognizing of words. And this priority must have applied to the development of language in the species as well as it does to contemporary human individuals.

Robert W. Rieber

Visual design is important in reaching ethnic audiences, especially those for whom English is a second language. In the first seconds that a person views a message – before even reading a word, no matter what the language – it’s the images that hold the power to connect. It’s the images that make a viewer decide even whether to read a word.

Ronnie Lipton

The interactivity is not just in the design but it’s in the evaluation of the work.

David Berlow

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating. None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Steve Jobs