In this manual the structure and main pages of the DSD are described. In case you can not find an answer here, please contact the helpdesk at info @ cityof8.com.
Main semantic levels
Content area type of pages
- Semantic data page (dimensional level)
- Parameters data page (dimensional level)
- Semantic data page (8-level)
- Primary data page (8-level)
- 64-level data page
- Keyword data page (dimensional, 8-level, 64-level)
Widget area content
There are two main areas on the data pages. The content area on the left and the widget area on the right.
This area contains all the available data in the DSD. From quote to keyword, from parameter to primary shape. The example above shows the home page with the two buttons Create and Analyse.
This area adds usability. Some widgets are always present: the search field, the semantic levels, the dashboard (with buttons towards all the SENSES & EXPRESSION items), as well as the feedback button at the bottom of the area. The other buttons in this area can change according to the kind of data displayed in the content area.
Main semantic levels
The semantic data in the DSD is divided into three levels of meaning.
Entrance to these levels via the Levels buttons in the Widget Area.
Dimensional keywords are the most abstract terms in language and are close to logic signs such as indirect/direct, dark/light or open/closed. These words are the elementary markers of meaning and make synaesthetic translations between sign systems possible. They appear always in opposite pairs on one of the three dimension axis in the semantic space.
8-level keywords are more complex in meaning and less abstract, as they are constructions of dimensional keywords. Still they are mostly basic words such as “to hold”, “to sit”, “mountain” and primary colour names such as “blue”, “green” etc. Compare, for example, the dimensional keyword ‘hard’ (height dimension) against the 8-level keyword ‘mountain’ (colour code BROWN). As such, ‘hard’ is a quality of ‘mountain’. Most of these words also have an antonym, but not all of them.
64-level keywords are formed by combining 8-level keywords, thus making them more complex in meaning. On the 64 level you can find assembled words such as “sunray” (“sun” and “ray”), the colour “blue-green”, where the 8-level source is still clear. But also words such as “cooking”, “family”, “detective”, or terms like “on the road”, etc. are 64-level. Here specific colour names can be searched such as “lilac”, “aquamarine”, “khaki”, “fuchsia” etc.
Find in-depth information on the different levels of meaning.
Find all background information about the theory behind the DSD in the About section.
Content area type of pages
Semantic data page (dimensional level)
There are 6 data pages that contain semantic information on the dimensional level. Mainly there are two groups (the basic and the adjective) of three dimensions (depth, height and breadth).
Find in-depth information on the different dimensional categories of meaning.
Entrance to the 6 data pages via the dimensional Levels button in the Widget Area.
These six dimension pages show links to connected parameters of sign systems such as colour, shape etc., categorized in the same dimension and within that dimension, set opposed to each other.
Once you click on a parameter on the Semantic data page (dimensional level) The first field on top shows information on the specific dimension, in this example the data is about the basis depth dimension with ‘back’ and ‘front’ as the two opposing positions. The colours that are targeted are shown in the two semantic spaces. In this example the data is connected to the back colours blue, black, green and purple and the opposing front colours brown, red, white and yellow.
The second field gives paired general meaning keywords connected to the specific dimensions. The links guide you to the keyword pages.
Below the general meaning information, links are provided to corresponding parameters of respectively emotion, personality, colour, colour palette, shape, composition, texture and body bearing. This is synaesthetic information that helps the designer to control the values, meaning and emotions radiated by the different design elements.
Parameters data page (dimensional level)
The parameters data pages connect specific parameters of colour, shape, composition, texture and body with emotional keywords. In this example, the shape’s direction parameter is connected to the emotional parameter of targeting the emotional focus inward or outward. This means that vertical shapes will appear more internalizing than horizontal shapes. The emotional keywords are for the designer to interpret and select. In some cases, not all the offered emotions are applicable.
The section on top shows the icon of the category and an illustrated example of the parameter starting from one extreme to the other in five steps. In this example, the category is the shape and the parameter is vertical / horizontal.
The second section shows information on the specific dimension, in this example it is about the basis depth dimension with ‘back’ and ‘front’ as the two opposing positions. The colours that are targeted are shown in the two semantic spaces. In this example the data is connected to the back colours blue, green, black and purple and the opposing front colours brown, red, white and yellow.
The third section actually describes the specific parameter with a link to the keyword pages. In this example, the parameter is about the direction of the shape with vertical and horizontal as the two opposing shape characteristics.
Finally, there are the connected emotional keywords, always set in opposing pairs and linked to the keyword pages. The emotional keywords are for the designer to interpret and select. In some cases, not all the offered emotions are applicable. Some suit better than others in a specific context.
Semantic data page (8-level)
For each of the eight corners in the semantic space, an overview of the main concepts are offered. In this example, the white meaning is explained. The illustration represents the most comprehensive notion of the code. The image of the cloud with the horizontal lines represent the wind, the notion that associates figuratively with the meaning of this white group. The links in the text are connected to keyword pages.
Below the illustration and the text, icons of related groups of meaning are offered. Here, the user can travel through the semantic space and explore the eight main groups of meaning. The antonym gives access to the complete opposite position in the semantic space. In this example with white as the starting position, the antonym is the ‘black’ position. The other three icons give access to the groups of meaning that differ only in one dimension. In this example, with white as the starting position, the user can observe shifts of meaning towards the green group in the depth, brown in the height and yellow in the breadth.
Primary data page (8-level)
The primary data page gives 8-level information about emotion, colour, shape, composition, texture and body bearing. In this example, information is given about the primary colour blue. NCS values are offered. The coloured icons under the Related section gives easy access to the semantic colour space. The Parameters section shows the colour psychology parameters per dimension. The links lead you to the parameters data pages. In this example, blue can be described as an inward (depth), heavy (height) and passive (breadth) colour.
Besides colour, the Primary Data Page can show information about emotion, shape, composition, texture and body bearing through the SYNAESTHETICS section in the Widget Area on the right of the screen.
Get access to the 8-level information data pages via the 8 button in the Levels section or via the Dashboard, both in the Widget Area.
64-level data page
The 64-level data page gives information about the meaning of colour combinations, colours, shapes, textures and emotions. In this example, information is given about the colour combination red-on-blue. The keywords that are classified under this code are listed. By clicking on them, you are guided to their corresponding keyword data page (see following chapter). The coloured icons under the Related section give easy access to the colour codes that differ only in one dimension. As such shifts in meaning can be observed.
Get access to the 64-level data pages via the 64 button in the Levels section or via the Dashboard, both in the Widget Area.
Keyword data page (dimensional-level, 8-level, 64-level)
Every keyword in the DSD has its page. Keywords can be dimensional, 8-level or 64-level. The illustration on top shows a symbolized version of the meaning of the keyword. For the dimensional level, the drawings are in medium grey. For the 8-level keywords, the images are coloured in the corresponding colour. For the 64-level keywords, the images are drawn in the corresponding colour combination, and when applicable also drawn in the associated colour. In this example, the keyword “pure (immaculate)” is a 64-level keyword, classified under the white-on-white colour code and associated with the colour white-0, a light pastel blue. The notion of immaculate pure is depicted by a radiating star over a tiled background.
Under the title, keywords that belong to the same semantic group are brought together, forming a cluster of meaning. In this example “pure” is connected to “air”, “apron”, “chemistry”, “gauze”, “hygiene”, etc. having the same code white-on-white/white-0. The meaning is closely related, sometimes even synonym, but not in the strict sense.
The antonym of “Pure” is “impure”. The meaning is opposite. Some keywords may have more than one antonym.
Under the COMPARE section, keywords are suggested that are on first sight connected in meaning, but are codically different. They give a different aspect of the main keyword. For example, “pure (immaculate)” can be misunderstood by “immaculate”, “pure (natural)” or pure (unadulterated)”. COMPARE shows aspects of purity that belong to another colour code because of differences in meaning.
MOVING AXIS shows dimensional related keywords where only one dimension switches. The user can experience shifts of meaning while travelling through the semantic space. In this example, the white-on-white keyword “pure” is connected in the breath with “drying” (yellow-on-white), in the depth with “foam” (white-on-green).
A dimensional keyword functions as a BUILDING BLOCK for an 8-level keyword. In turn, an 8-level keyword can function as a BUILDING BLOCK for a 64-level keyword. When the keyword is 64-level – such as in this example – the building block section shows 8-level keywords that are the constructing parts for the actual 64-level keyword. In this case the keyword ‘pure’ (code white-on-white, white-0) is build with the 8-level keywords ‘clean’, ‘order'(WHITE) and ‘matter'(BLUE). Pure (immaculate) can be described as ‘clean matter’ or ‘clean order’. They form together the 64-level idea of purity in the sense of immaculate.
Widget area content
Every data page has a Widget Area on the right side of the window with additional buttons according to the specific data in the Content Area. Some widgets are always present: the keyword search field, the semantic levels buttons, as well as the dashboard, and the feedback option at the bottom of the area. The dashboard gives access to colour, shape, composition, texture, body, taste, meaning and emotion information pages, supplemented with analyse interfaces (in blue) such as the keyword, shape and function analyser.
The keywords search field gives access to all the keywords that are available in the DSD regardless of its level. In the drop down list some keywords that are semantically related are shown. When the word a user is looking for is not in the list, using a synonym can help. There is also the keyword analyser (blue icon under the dashboard section), when synonyms aren’t available either.
Other buttons in this area can appear according to the semantic levels displayed in the content area. There are three kinds of data that have and influence on the content of the widget area: the dimensional level, the 8-level and the 64-level.
The dimensional level adds the Dimensional Parameters section to the widget area. The buttons give access to the respective dimensional parameters data pages. The white buttons represent the adjective depth (D), height (H) and breath (B) dimensions. The black buttons are the basis depth, height and breath.
Find in-depth information on the different levels of meaning.
The actual level, in this case it is the 8-level, is indicated on top of the 8-level widgets, such as the semantic colour space and the synaesthetics section.
The enlarged colour square shows the position in the semantic colour space of the data the user is looking at. In this example, the enlarged red square means that the actual data is located in the RED meaning group. The semantic colour space functions as a semantic GPS, the user keeps an overview of the position of the data. Shifts from one meaning cluster to another can be tracked. The colour space functions as a button giving access to the 8-level interface page.
Below the semantic space a range of buttons makes synaesthetic comparisons possible between the different 8-level primary categories, such as respectively from top to bottom and from left to right: primary colour, shape, composition, texture, body, emotion, meaning overview, keywords alphabetical listed.
The actual level, in this case it is the 64-level, is indicated on top of the 64-level widgets, such as the semantic colour space and the synaesthetics section.
The semantic colour space indicates with a non faded double colour square what the position is of the data the user is looking at. In this example, the opaque square shows that the actual data is located in the white-on-blue meaning group. The semantic colour space functions as a semantic GPS. Anywhere on the 64-level, the user has an overview of the position or dimension he is in. Shifts from one meaning group to another can be tracked. The colour space functions as a button giving access to the 64-level interface page.
Below the semantic space a range of buttons makes synaesthetic comparisons possible between the different 64-level sign systems, such as respectively from left to right: colour combination, associated colour, shapes made with shape parameters, shapes made by merging two primary shapes, textures and emotions.
Quotes always appear at the bottom of each data page and are alphabetically listed. They are placed on specific pages because in its text, keywords show some relationship with the actual content of the page. The author(s) reference can be found in the Bibliography where also an overview of all the quotes is available.
Tutorial videos are available here.