Visual perception is a huge topic, much of which is relevant to the work of a designer. I have identified topics in visual memory, visual cognition and colour perception that are relevant, and I'm sure there is more I don't yet know of.

What would be a good place to start for a designer looking for concepts of perception to be aware of when designing? For example, what books (or other accessible resources, such as web pages, applied research topics) exist that are suitable?

I'm very interested in learning more about visual perception and how it pertains to graphic design. I work predominately in print and environmental graphic design but any area of graphic design should be equally applicable.

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    $\begingroup$ @Ryan if you know of specific journal articles that might relate to this topic, check out this thread to potentially access them for free: meta.cogsci.stackexchange.com/a/205/55 $\endgroup$
    – Jeff
    Mar 2, 2012 at 3:40
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    $\begingroup$ I think you were looking for these articles: uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2010/07/… uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2010/08/… uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2012/02/… $\endgroup$
    – Özgür
    Mar 2, 2012 at 19:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Ryan I'm a designer with a psychology/cogsci background, and there are two great, relevant books I keep on my desk: Vision Science by Steve Palmer, and Universal Principles of Design by Rockwell Press. As someone said, don't go for half-and-half resources that aren't quite design or science. Vision Science is the best textbook I've ever read (brilliantly designed too!) and almost every chapter is applicable. Universal Principles... is a great book giving you a clear place to start on science, theory and practice on loads of topics, very concise and to the point. $\endgroup$ Jun 8, 2012 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ Are you referring only to graphic design? $\endgroup$ Sep 30, 2021 at 19:25

2 Answers 2


Not surprisingly, there's a huge load of stuff you need to consider when designing things for users. Here's a good paper written by some perception and vision researchers on the topic that might give you a more detailed introduction that what you have seen so far:

Healey, C.G. & Enns, J.T. (in press). Attention and visual memory in visualization and computer graphics. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics

It's open access as well!


Another relevant resource might be Stephen Kosslyn's Clear and to the Point. It's a book about designing presentations based on psychological principles. The principles that he covers certainly generalize beyond slides for presentations.

I've read it myself, and would recommend it to designers who are unfamiliar with psychological research. If you are already well versed in major psychological findings of the past 100 years, then this book won't offer much that you don't already know.


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