While researching into visual cryptography I became increasingly fascinated with the subject, and sought further examples to support my forthcoming practical assignment.

Upon engaging well with a subject matter, as here with visual cryptography, I continue to delve deeper, seeking further visual examples to both explain better my intentions to tutors and fellow designers, alongside expanding my own knowledge of the subject such that I can propose a well informed and researched final piece.

Rubin’s Vase

Smithson, J., n.d. Rubin’s Vase. [electronic print] Available at: <http://www.optical-illusionist.com/imagefiles/rubinvase.jpg> [Accessed 18th December 2011].

The well known above illustration is that of Rubin’s Vase, which invites the audience to view either two profile faces or a vase, leads well into the final piece as it was my intention to create a piece in which the viewer is invited to see either the words or the detail that creates them, both holding the same meaning ‘geometry’.

The Rubin’s Vase illusion, works on the principle of Gestalt Theory known as figure and ground. Gestalt theory relates to our visual perceptions, and states every stimulus is perceived in its simplest form. Here the relationship between figure and ground is ambiguous, as our perception changes between the focus of the faces or the vase. This changing figure-ground relationship was something I wanted to experiment with for the practical assignment, as I believe the ambiguity is captivating.


In addition to the optical illusion of Rubin’s Vase, I also looked at the maze. Commonly the maze is shaped into an image easily viewed from an aerial perspective, but incomprehensible while inside. This is an alternative method of hiding messages, whereby the message can only be read from one viewpoint. Again this led into the final piece, creating an image which the audience can better comprehend from one viewpoint and which remains difficult to decipher from others.

Anon. n.d. Kingston Corn Maze: Sunrise Hill Farm. [electronic print] Available at: <http://www.mazeplay.com/kingston-corn-maze-and-pumpkin-patch-atsunrise-hill-farm> [Accessed 18th December 2011].