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24 ways to impress your friends

Art Directing with Looking Room


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Haha, the explanation on the motion of the gaze reminded me a lot of our recent physics lecture on the Center of mass. Great explanation by the way.

John Faulds

I guess context in which an image is used is important as well but I actually think the cropped picture of the horse looks less interesting with the bright blue of the sky cropped out.

Nick Scheurich

Great article, Mark. I never could really put my finger on the visual confusion sometimes inherent in photographic design elements, but you’ve succinctly pointed out the issues—issues that I’ll now be able to prevent in future designs. Pat yourself on the back and go grab a good cuppa.



Bloody awesome Mark! This is truly something that has been overlooked a lot in my opinion, and now that I have been “educated” it explains a lot!


Hi Mark,

I enjoyed that short but informative article!

Also never heard of the term “Looking room”, never the less I have been aware of the concept for a while and have always implemented it unknowingly. but that probably comes from my background in photography before moving into design. It has how ever pointed out to me that I haven’t always used it in my illustration work. So I am thankfull for the reminder and explanation of how it can be associated with design work.

We often forget what we have learned from one visual art can be appled to another.

Thanks for the reminder!

Steve Avery

Every day’s a school day!

Great article Mark. Never heard of the term “Looking Room” before but will definitely bare this in mind and apply it where & when I can.

This reminds me of an article I once read (in Dutch, scroll down on that page to see the pictures) about how we are inclined to follow the direction a photographs’s subject is looking into. And how that can be used to guide the user. It shows two versions of a banner. In one the subject is looking at you, in the second at the banner text. In the second one, your eyes are immediately drawn to the text.
image #1, looking at you
image #2, looking at the text

Ben Falk

Very interesting, and my favorite 24ways article so far this year. As a designer, cropping photos in such a way that they lead back to the content is often something that I do without thinking about it, but it’s very nice to be reminded about the reasoning behind it. I hadn’t heard about the “Looking room” idea, so I’ll keep that in mind for the future.

Alex Roberts


Enjoyable read, I do like the clear and concise way you explain things.

Being a camera operator i’d hope I use the technique without really thinking about it when I do web design but looking at some of my designs i’m not so sure.

Good tip, cheers.


Great article. Handing it over to customers who are updating their own website through a cms might help them handle images in a better way in the future.


I had a generalized ‘feel’ of this concept, but I didn’t properly understand the reasoning & psychology of looking room until now.

Cennydd Bowles

Another enjoyable one, thanks Mark and 24ways.

What a fantastic example you found in the BBC. Refreshing to see such a clear, practical demonstration of what could be rather an abstract concept for some.

Ben Spencer

This is a fantastic read. My favourite 24 ways article of the year so far. These tips will (hopefully!) help me to take better photographs, as well as implement photography better on my websites.

I often notice images flipped in move trailers. I wonder if this is to do with creating the right looking room in relation to the rest of the trailer?

Dave Hall

Nicely explained Mark and the BBC site is a perfect example. Really is a fundamental of good photography and great to see it being used in relation to web design.

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