Post 404 – by Gautam Shah 



A professional or an experienced person effortlessly reads and perceives information as presented in variety of documents. An experienced person interprets the information about measures as to what do the pure numbers or lengths, widths, heights, weights, capacities mean. Professional can further interpret the measures into 3D manifestations of objects. For a professional it is easy to transcend from 2D orthographic images to 3D spatial realizations, even while one of it being not physically present. It is often called capacity to read a plan (in armed forces, the contoured survey or flat satellite images) and mentally invest the quality of objects.



A good designer is trained to visualize the spaces with environment, people and other happenings. A designer invests a 2D (plans, sections, elevations) or 3D (isometric, Axonometric, perspectives) images with referencing orientations of gravity, sun, magnetism etc. Sensing an event in a time continuum through a 2D or 3D image creates animation. Till a century and half ago this was simply mental realization and for very few visualizers or dreamers. Modern computers aided tools make it very fast, objective and accurate.



All such references, calibrations, realizations or visualizations, however accurate, encompassing and well made, cannot conform or recreate the entity like the original. This is the reason why designers want models, mock ups, or pilots.

Architectural scaled model

We also experience objects through the sensory affectations like light, colour, sound, temperature, smell, pressure, etc., as caused to our body. But, such affectations are very subjective, and not accountable to any universal system of measurements. We can, however, emulate these affectations as equivalent physio-chemical-electrical changes in our body or outside of it and measure the ‘scale’ of sensory affectations. For example we measure the temperature as it affects the mercury, sound as a vibration, and so on.

Scaled Model testing

Our faculties of perceptions have inherent limitations. We see up to a certain fineness and distance, and listen to sound within 20 to 20000 Hz. We need to scale the measurements that are beyond our range of perception. We also need to not only scale but convert perceptions to suit the recording media and its size scale (width of tape, size of paper, capacity of CD or transmission bandwidths). So design professionals, scientists etc. deal with many entities as they really exist (in original measures), and also in their scaled or converted presentations. Designers are trained to manipulate, arrange, or compose both types of presentations. And they do achieve results that are equal to real size forms.


A graphical representation is metaphoric or symbolic form of the original. Graphical representations are difficult to deal, but with frequent exposure, one gains the proficiency to automatically interpret the conveyed information, as if it is the real happening. Such proficiencies are circumstance and person specific, and cannot be replicated everywhere or by everyone. At places within the scaled or converted presentations designers employ metaphors, surrogates, codes or signs for complex entities. For designers this becomes a second-nature’ to achieve the design objectives. Professionals working with converted presentations can read a temperature chart, a cardiogram read it like a ‘language’ Similarly a written musical score or a stenographer’s phonetic language does not recreate the original sound.

Musical chord


Graphical representations, often create an artistic, proportionate, or an aesthetic composition on their own. In a very complex situation a designer may deal with a graphical and / or scaled formation, of not original, but one that represents another graphical and / or scaled entity.

Designers, who deal with a variety of representations, be it, a scaled, graphical or metaphoric, are often not aware which form they are dealing with. They are oblivious of the transitions. It becomes a second nature for them. It is only when the desired objectives are not achieved, or when some unusual phenomena are discovered, that a designer begins to re-search the process.




This article in continuation of MEASURING UP >>