McCloud (1994) explains that cartoons are a unique icon in that they can represent essential features of objects to allow the observer to focus on the cartoon’s message or environment more than the cartoon figures themselves. In doing so, the cartoon provides a platform where the observer can assign their own identity to the character and feel connected to the comic’s story.
This triggered my interest in the sensual verses conceptual in relation to identity. My question is if a cartoon can be a reflective artifact, where a person can think about the world in a different way by imaging themselves as being in that world without normal constraints, could you say that world is allowing an individual to explore their identity (Norman, 1993)? As a person grows older, with more experiences, they generally get a more concrete idea of their identity or self-image. Would this make people less likely to respond to the cartoon form over time; to be able to make the extensions with objects; and to use artifacts in a reflective way, to think abstractly? Or does it depend on context? This may be something to consider when there is a group with varying backgrounds working with or designing artifacts.