We have this discussion a lot at work. Do people actually see things anymore? We’re so bombarded with signage everyone, we’ve simply stopped paying attention to things. And it’s not really our fault. But we can do something about it.
When I came across this fabulous post about “How to Pay Attention”, it made me really think about how we see things. Rob Walker talks about posing the idea to his students during a course for a visual design MFA program. What are we actually seeing when we go through our daily lives, and is there a way to learn how to pay attention? Walker believes there is, and he enlists the help of his students and other great thinkers to give us 20 Ways to Pay attention.
You can try some of the challenges yourself. Some of them are really interesting, like giving yourself a scavenger hunt based on a certain colour, over-looked objects such as “space available” signs, or checking for country-of-origin signs on products while at the store. These are all things we see, but don’t really look at or register. Walker believes maybe it is time for us to train ourselves to start recognizing them. (It could also be a fun game to play with the kids when you’re looking for things to do this summer. How easy would it be to assign an object to look for? I bet you’d be surprised when you start looking.)
Today, give yourself the challenge to see things around you. Isn’t it amazing what you miss when you’re simply too busy to look?