Project Example: Analyze and Recombine: 4

AD 175: Visual Structures

Project Example: Analyze and Recombine

Title of Project

Analyze and Recombine

Methods and Concepts

Figure/ground, physical-visual structure, planar interpretation, communicate concepts of visual structure, analyze/evaluate visual strategies


Figure/ground, gradient, size, shape, position, direction, brightness, texture, groupings, depth cues, repetition, balance, proportion


By analyzing existing designs for visual structure, understanding of the use of visual structure can be understood. Take two advertisements from magazines, make photocopies, analyze the photocopies for their visual structure, and then cut-up and recombine the advertisements into new designs that exploit the same visual structures.


Magazine advertisements, access to photocopying, adhesive, paper, scissors and/or Xacto knife

Physical processes

1. Find two advertisements in a magazine.
2. Photocopy the advertisements (2 copies of each)
3. Analyze the two advertisements and write down the analysis: what is primary figure and why, how is depth created, how are shapes placed, what groupings are used, what is the brightness structure used, are there gradients present and if so, are the gradients used to create clear figure-ground relationships or perhaps used as depth cues, balance, etc.
4. Cut one photocopy of each advertisement in half (save the second photocopy of each advertisement as a reference).
5. Continue to cut pieces in half until there are 16 pieces created.
6. Create a design with the 16 pieces that emphasizes the visual structures listed in step #3. Do this for both advertisements.
7. Paste the final arrangement onto Bristol board

Critique approach

Presentation of the original advertisement and the cut-up advertisement adjacent to one another. Group critique will focus on comparison of similar visual structures.

Return to the Project Examples