What we see is different from what we recognize.
In other word, just for my part, that is because the world we see is objective and the world we percept is subjective.
It is people’s awareness that build understanding of the world. We know other people’s awareness or perception via their books, speech, article or face-to-face talking.
The first time I got idea like this was because reading the book written by Naoto Fukasawa, in which he mentions, “I watch people’s behaviors rather than I see them.” And in this way he could find the affordance in his observation.
Another impression I got is from the TED talk by Rob Legato: The art of creating awe ,“what I should do is not actually replicate what they saw, is replicate what they remembered.” Yes, if I watch people as a designer like Naoto, then I can probably notice the things I normally neglected. And provided the awareness of people’s memory which I earned from Rob, I can take photos and edit them to reproduce the real feeling of a certain moment.
Then, how my perception comes into being?
I am a designer, of course, but I am also a semi-professional photographer, a sort of traveler, and a young man with lots of other hobbies, besides that, I was born in Shanghai and had spent 22 years there, and now I am in San Francisco, learning a new culture, living in another environment. I observe everything around me, try to perceive them. All these things and behaviors help me to be unique. For instance, “my designer part” makes me observant to people’s behaviors and the design purpose of an object which is new to me. “My photographer part” helps me to be sensitive to colors, lines and any beautiful things at the same time, it cultivates my habit to record what I find in my life, which proves to be valuable for my design.
Here is an interesting reflection about the difference perception. When I traveled to Thailand with a close friend and we were on a bus. I noticed that the ticket seller was using a cylinder to collect the money and store the ticket. And for me, it is a perfect example of the designer’s wisdom, the shape was simple, ergonomic and easy to use, and its material is metal so it is quite durable and can be manufactured without lots of efforts. Besides, the cylinder collector looks pretty old so there must be a history about that. Which all fancied me. While for my friend, who is also a designer, neglected that thing.
Another story in Thailand I’d like to share is the toilet on the train. When we went from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, we decided to take the train. And I found the paper roller was put on the handle of a valve. That was because the position and height (or configuration in the theory of affordance) of the handle and the flour in the toilet (or ground in the theory of affordance) simply came to be in perfect composition. I noticed that with excitement and I draw it on a paper to remind myself.
(2/19/2013 Chiang Mai, I forgot to take photo for the toilet, so I drawn it when back to hotel)
The differences for me
I don’t really care whether it is truth for all, I only believe my personal perspective. Because it is the combination of my background, my knowledge and even my persona. It is the sincerest thing to me.
Everyone have and should have their own perspective, which romantically adds human factor to the world. For example, people have different perception hence they will make different decision, chose their favorites and enjoy their own life, which vivifies the world! As for arts, if everyone have the same taste, then what a boring world there will be?
The connection with Design Research
As a designer, I make observation all the time, consciously or unconsciously, with awareness. Seriously I can say that myself is always doing Design Research. Remembering in mind, taking notes, shooting pictures, drawing simple sketches. With a combination of modern electronic gadgets and classic pen and moleskins, I can keep the pace with the changing environment. During the process, I trained myself as well, which added with some new method of deduction, way to gain perception that I learn in CCA. I feel my power of observation is growing stronger.