Power of Three & Upside Down 'e'

Do You Know The Psychological Power of Three?

Three and the Upside Down E and a brief boring bio about me, because you need to see, to enhance learning, this is key.

    I’m an artist. Since the exact definition of artist is a bit ambiguous, let me clarify. I make paintings, sculptures, and create photography that sells for as little as $1 and occasionally around two thousand with some sales in the 7-10 thousand range and one in the $50,000 range. I hope that qualifies me as an artist.

    One of the most fun things to do is watch others who don’t know me explain my work. They will tell the inspiration and motivation for my works. I even got into an argument once over my motivation. I lost the debate. My critic thought I knew nothing of art let alone the piece he was explaining. I didn't have the heart to tell the gentleman that I was the artist.

    One thing all my critics did do, they explained the power of three and the upside down e. For the record, to this day, I have never read this theory in any art or design books. Having heard it so many times, and so eloquently put, it just makes sense. And for some reason, I have always done it subconsciously in my works and creations.

Design and Eye Movement

    People who study design and how people look at designs have found they have certain eye movements. These movements are common to most in western culture. One is from lower left to upper right. The more common, is an upside down e. The eye movement would be just like you would write it. (at least that is what I am told)

    The psychological implications of art soothing people are well known. It is also known that eye movement is used in managing stress and distressed states in people. So it stands to reason, art and graphics that promote certain eye movements could enhance the learning process.

    Cross-lateral eye movement in a process called Eye Movement Integration helps to relieve stress and anxiety. It works by integrating the left and right hemispheric processes. Like exercising a muscle and getting the blood flowing, this exercises the brain and gets the neurons flowing. The result if accomplished is balanced processing or whole brain thinking.

    Our brain is made up of a left and right hemisphere. We look different directions depending on using logical or creative sides of our brains were trying to tap into. That eye movement is hard wired into the connection of the two hemispheres. So eye movement and visual stimulation not only makes you think, it makes you think better.

The Power of 3

    Add to this something else I hear repeated by my various art experts. This has to do with the power of enhancing remembering by limiting the number of items shown or spoken of.

    It seems the best arrangement of components in a picture, a painting or even photos are in threes.

    The Painting SunDay, you will see to the right, follows the upside down e theory.

    Likewise, another of my paintings, "Family Faces," with four faces, the son and daughter blended together and overlapping. When hanging vertical many can only see 3 rather than the four faces present. One face seems to disappear until it is pointed out.

    This is because our brain has the easiest time processing 3's. From our earliest days, we learned our ABC’s, our 1,2,3’s, not to mention Huey, Louie, and Dewy.

    We hear common terms that are similar. We can triangulate to find a telephone signal. We have expressions, two’s company, threes a crowd. How many blind mice were there?, three men in a tub, three strikes and your out, not to mention you’re once, twice, three times a lady. There are even a few pagan gods that are trinities.

    Family Faces ©2005 Jonathan Steele

    From nursery rhymes to popular song the power of this number is there.

Practical Application of The Power of 3

    What does it mean for us?

    This is a powerful number for public speakers to tap into it when making presentations. We need to limit the design, content and groupings to three. Anything more can result in mental overload.

    For computer generated projected presentations then some simple rules will need to be followed.

    1 No more than 3 colors

    2 No more than 3 groupings of information on a page.

    Headline/ Text grouping

    Headline/ Text grouping/ graphic

    Headline/ Text grouping/ Picture

    3 Limit lines of text at 5 to prevent eye fatigue.

    4 No more than 3 size of fonts.

    Headline/ main text/ references

    5 No more that 3 different fonts, One or two are best.

    6 Limit collages to 3 if at all possible for greatest impact.

    This is the one time you cannot afford to be frugal with your use of blank space. Cram too much info onto the page and it will be hard to read, hard to retain, hard to know where to look next.

    For public speaking, presentations, or any graphics, remember the power of three and the upside down e.

Extra: I have found business cards are the most inexpensive form of advertisement that anyone can use. They are only effective if first you give them out.

    A second factor that could affect their usefulness is information overload. You have probably seen some that are virtual encyclopedias. If you are using your business card as a wallet size emergency phone list, by all means, load it up.

    However, if it is to promote you, then limit the design and graphics following the same rules as above related to the power of 3 and the upside down e. Limit text sizes to no more than 3 and limit fonts to preferably 2 and if because of a logo, maybe 3. Colors too, follow the same rule.

    And make your business card work for you. Hand it out to everyone.

    Would you like more information on business cards, color and presentations...?

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Lets Connect View Jonathan Steele RN Holistic Nurse's profile on LinkedIn
Lets Connect View Jonathan Steele RN Holistic Nurse's profile on LinkedIn
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