“Eye Movement” & How It Relates To Design

Ever notice the path your eyes trace as you study a piece of art? Maybe not, but the route your eyes take as you study, say your favorite gig poster, may be less arbitrary than you think.

In the last post we discussed one of the reasons some of the windows in the Avett Chicago 2016 Triptych are lighted and why some are not. The first reason is more thematic (see previous post if you missed it) but the second reason has to do with eye movement. One of the aims for this poster, as it concerns eye movement, is to start your eye in the top left corner, gradually bringing your eye level down to the bottom right corner, following the imaginary line formed by the triangle of lighted windows.

But that’s not it, there’s more!!! Hopefully your eyes also trace the next invisible line which takes you right to left, down the street / sidewalk. In our example this line is made up of both the direction of the cars as well as the cat, dog walker, and dog combo. In respect to the combo, the cats gaze takes you to the dog walker, the dog walker’s leash takes you to the dog, and as a bonus the dog’s gaze returns you back to the dog walker.

While the window lights and street scene are the most prominent directional elements, there’s also a third less obvious element worth mentioning that also helps move the eye. The middle panel has a tree branch that follows the wavy pattern of the blowing leaves, taking your eyes from the center of the Triptych to the left edge.