Visual Instinct

created at Parsons School of Design
research, concept and design: Olga Pavlova

In today’s world, news outlets are considered socially defined sources of knowledge on current events. These sources have an ability to shape our beliefs about what is true and what is not true. However, our trust in them is mostly based on the content they present to us. The question is then: how do we identify the biases this information presents us with, without reading through all of its content? We live in a culture of visual consumers and in order to easily distinguish biases and pinpoint how news sources establish credibility, it is important to develop a fast visual screening by using an array of design elements.

Visual Instinct examines 100 web-based news sources, brings them to the physical world and uses analog archival methods to indicate similar design elements across all sources that help to establish credibility and trust. Through analyzing typefaces, colors, and the general layout of each home page, this collection identifies visual elements that are common to all sources and can be used to recognize biases across all news sources.

In the digital world of today, being aware of the truthfulness of information that comes your way and the ability to distinguish which sources are dependable are skills worth developing. The goal of this collection is to introduce newsreaders to a visual system which helps to recognize how news sources employ design elements to create trustworthiness and establish credibility.