Viewers are surrounded by visual stimuli on a daily basis. These visuals, which may have intriguing and/or exciting qualities, enable designers to propose effective design solutions that could have heightened impact on the viewer. With this in mind, some designers attempt to construct crystal-clear messages that are eye-catching and easily understood, while other designers try to deliver messages enveloped by a planned ambiguity, which offers diverse paths of comprehension. In the end, this intentional ambiguity can eventually guide viewers toward a single understanding. Since ambiguity is an outcome of complex principles related to aesthetic and conceptual decision-making, often it is not immediately understood. However, in order to understand ambiguous messages, viewers are affected by both time, which is the indefinite continued progress of existence and actions in the past, present and future, and timing, which is the choice or control of when something should be exposed. Designers should be aware of the effect of time on perception in relation to ambiguous message-making, especially when immediate understanding is required. An example of this would be a solution related to information design such as the transportation map of the London Underground, in which the immediacy of communication could affect human lives. This thesis study will focus specifically on time considerations as they impact the understanding of intentionally ambiguous messages. This thesis will also analyze the value of other time considerations such as frequency and duration. Understanding these aspects can potentially inform the integration of time considerations within the graphic design decision-making process.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Graphic arts--Technique; Graphic arts--Psychological aspects; Visual communication--Psychological aspects; Ambiguity in advertising

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CIAS)


Bitterman, Alex

Advisor/Committee Member

Kelly, Angela

Advisor/Committee Member

Lachance, Patti


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: NC1000 .A56 2008


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