Visual Literacy
A Primer
A definition?
 Visual literacy is the ability to interpret, negotiate, and
make meaning from information presented in the...
Why and How
 We live in an increasingly visual culture.
 We are surrounded by images everywhere in our
lives.
 Studying...
A lack of definition?
Because multiple disciplines such as
education, art history and criticism,
rhetoric, semiotics, phi...
The Multimodal Perspective
 Scholars stress the necessity of accepting
the co-presence of linguistic literacies and
visua...
Some examples
Visual literacy is not limited to modern mass media
and new technologies. Even though the name visual
litera...
Uses
 Example - An image can be used to show what an idea might
look like. The picture may be used to illustrate a concep...
Structural Elements
 Similarity and Difference
Structural Elements
 Foreground - the part of the picture that is
nearest to the viewer
Structural Elements
 Background - the scenery behind something
(usually whatever is in the foreground)
Structural Elements
 Symmetry - an exact correspondence of form on
two sides of a plane resulting in balance
Structural Elements
 Asymmetry - lack of balance or symmetry
Structural Elements
 Tone - the intensity of light and dark
Structural Elements
 Shape - the basic geometric shapes, such as
triangles, squares, and circles, that are apparent in
a ...
Structural Elements
 Motion - the illusion of motion within a visual
image
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Visual literacy(a primer)

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Visual literacy(a primer)

  1. 1. Visual Literacy A Primer
  2. 2. A definition?  Visual literacy is the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image. Visual literacy is based on the idea that pictures can be “read” and that meaning can be communicated through a process of reading.  The term “visual literacy” (VL) is credited to John Debes, who in 1969 offered a tentative definition of the concept: “Visual literacy refers to a group of vision competencies a human being can develop by seeing and at the same time having and integrating other sensory experiences.”
  3. 3. Why and How  We live in an increasingly visual culture.  We are surrounded by images everywhere in our lives.  Studying visual imagery helps better understand the complexities of their world.  Visual Literacy is based on…  Encoding (expressing their thoughts and ideas in visual form)  Decoding (translating and understanding the meaning of visual imagery).
  4. 4. A lack of definition? Because multiple disciplines such as education, art history and criticism, rhetoric, semiotics, philosophy, information design, and graphic design make use of the term visual literacy, arriving at a common definition of visual literacy has been contested since its first appearance in professional publications.
  5. 5. The Multimodal Perspective  Scholars stress the necessity of accepting the co-presence of linguistic literacies and visual literacies as interacting and interlacing modalities which complement one another in the meaning making process.
  6. 6. Some examples Visual literacy is not limited to modern mass media and new technologies. Even though the name visual literacy itself as a label dates to the 1960s, the concept of reading signs and symbols is prehistoric.  Animal Drawings  Signs and Symbols  Brands and Logos  Graphic Novel And Comics
  7. 7. Uses  Example - An image can be used to show what an idea might look like. The picture may be used to illustrate a concept that is being described within a text or strengthen a point of which the author is trying to persuade his or her audience.  Evidence - An image can be used to add new information. The picture may be used to represent data that is being described within a text or highlight one aspect of an argument of which the author is trying to persuade his or her audience.  Expression - An image can be used to express a feeling or attitude. The picture may be used to stylize information that is being described within a text or make an ironic or emotional comment on the point of which the author is trying to persuade his or her audience.
  8. 8. Structural Elements  Similarity and Difference
  9. 9. Structural Elements  Foreground - the part of the picture that is nearest to the viewer
  10. 10. Structural Elements  Background - the scenery behind something (usually whatever is in the foreground)
  11. 11. Structural Elements  Symmetry - an exact correspondence of form on two sides of a plane resulting in balance
  12. 12. Structural Elements  Asymmetry - lack of balance or symmetry
  13. 13. Structural Elements  Tone - the intensity of light and dark
  14. 14. Structural Elements  Shape - the basic geometric shapes, such as triangles, squares, and circles, that are apparent in a visual image's composition
  15. 15. Structural Elements  Motion - the illusion of motion within a visual image

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