International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online)

The Four-Second Window: How the Time Constraint of Working Memory and other Psychological Principles Determine the Success of a Graphic Design.

This article discusses universal psychological principles derived from cognitive psychology that are useful in creating an effective graphic design. The most important are: the strict constraints of working memory which persists about four seconds, the viewers’ co-construction of perception and meaning based upon their prior relevant background knowledge including their knowledge of culturally constituted design conventions, especially those of genre. If the designer consciously exploits these cognitively and culturally constituted principles the result will be an effective graphic within a specific geographic and temporal context. Better designs are likely to result from familiarity with these principles.

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