Non-Visual People!

Updated: Mar 1

This really happened. Since my graphic design career began in 1974 I've dealt with many clients on the TNVA spectrum (Total Non-Visual Acuity). A typical conversation might go like this, after days of collaboration and tweaking:

"OK, change that line break, add a paragraph return, move the picture up to the top and it's good to go. Now, just make it a vertical and send it to the printer. And we need it pronto!" JUST MAKE IT A VERTICAL!!!!! Say, maybe that's where all those vertical smart phone videos come from these days! In any event, I hadn't confronted that kind of angst for awhile until I got embroiled in a Facebook thread the other day, something I try assiduously to avoid. We were discussing last weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona when a nice chap piped up saying that he saw nothing Cadillac-like in the Cadillac DPi. I countered with the opinion that GM was the ONLY entrant to have taken the "brand identity" mandate seriously when designing its race cars. He couldn't see it.

I then posted the left half of the above image, pointing to the general angularity of the design, the thin, vertical headlights and taillights, the Cadillac crest graphic integrated into all the various team's liveries... even the bespoke wheel design that was highly evocative of the Cadillac V Series road-going sedan's wheels. No dice. A few back and forth comments later, which included other folks involved in the thread, I found the clue I needed when the nice chap mentioned that he drove a Lexus SC 430, to which I responded, "Oh, the one that looks like a larger version of an Audi TT?" His comeback? "NOOO. It's got a beautiful wood and leather interior and it's faster than a Mustang GT! No resemblance at AT ALL!"

A quick DuckDuckgo search and a couple of screen grabs later I posted the right side of the picture.

He still couldn't see any VISUAL similarity between the two vehicles and right then and there I realized that any further verbal jousting would be in vain: I was dealing with a completely non-visual person.

Explaining anything visual to a non-visual person is simply impossible; there's no common frame of reference. It's as futile as trying to describe the color orange to a blind person. Visual is as foreign a language to many (most?) humans as Swahihl is to me and that's just the way it is.

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