In the Beholder’s Eye

The University of Arts and Design Karlsruhe (HfG) is a place of many, many walls covered in posters big and small. You can find anything from hand-printed lettering to hightech multi-layer glow-in-the-dark print that smells like strawberry. The posters are what made the first big impression on my first visit to the HfG. I became especially fascinated with the work of two former students, 2xGoldstein. Their concept of space and use of typography was so different from what I always imagined posters should look like. Working with eye tracking in my Master’s thesis and PhD, I started wondering how people process these sometimes unorthodox posters – and whether there would be differences between ordinary people and designers, and even kids and students.

Download the PDF for the interactive experience (164 MB)

26 posters from 2xGoldstein I started out interviewing the designers and then had 18 participants look at 26 posters by 2xGoldstein while recording their eye movements. The resulting visualisations show differences in age groups, indicate start points and reading patterns, and point out main focus areas in the posters. While children focused on dominant colors and patterns, students seemed to be eager to read all the text they could find on the posters, sometimes even ignoring the visual aspects of the posters. Adults showed a more balanced viewing behavior split between texts and graphics.

The participants of this little design research project were four children aged 6-9, nine students aged 19-28, and five adults aged 35-56. All recordings took place at the languages department of the University of Mainz/Germersheim and the resulting interactive PDF became my “Vordiplom” project.


Interested in eye tracking and want to see the recordings of my participants’ eye movements for yourself?
Have a look at my blog post about Eye Tracking and Design here.


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