Creativity and cognitive development, Week 2: Arnheim’s Visual Thinking

To begin I shall first discuss what Rudolf Arnheims theory of ‘Visual Thinking’ involves. Arnheim argued against the theory that communication via the use of language was the most efficient means of idea generation, but instead each individual’s fives senses combined are what creates a person’s life experiences which affects the way they think ‘nothing is in the intellect which was not previously in the senses’. Arnheim believes this is why every individual approaches problems and jobs in an individual manner.

Arheims theory of Visual Thinking relates strongly to the subject of Product design. This is because each individual designer had their own thinking style, therefore they all work differently. Even if there are similarities in their final design concepts they will not look identical due to the fact that nobody has had an identical life experience. To put this into context, if you had asked a group of Product Designers to design a kettle, every kettle will have a method of switching on and off, a power source, a spout to pour the water, a handle and a body. Yet each designer would have approached the aesthetics of the kettle differently, therefore there would be many original designs due to the theory of ‘Visual Thinking’.

In conclusion, Visual Thinking is crucial in the Art and Design industry in order to involve a range of different perceptions, which will lead to a range of different ideas creating a sense of originality, and  this will also increase the likely hood of development which enhances the artists or designers chance of having an improved outcome for their final design.


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