A tentative system to describe the interaction of historical pre-mises, cultural habits, social attitudes and perceptual tenden-cies, which may determine the final reaction to and estimation of a visual phenomenon, i.e. a work of art or a unit of urban environment. Basic assumption: mere perception as measured in laboratory experiments don't account for factual estimation and use. The interaction of the individual's social system intro-duces both censure factors and deviational influences. The esti-mation and use is depending upon the symbolic - attributive and idolic - use of the object; the reading of its content, which is iconic the sensual responses to its form/color qualities, and the estimation of its functional qualities.