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Impressions of Visual Literacy September 24, 2009

Posted by allenb120 in A Primer of Visual Literacy, [Books] Visualization & Presentation.

I am happy I read A Primer of Visual Literacy by Donis A. Dondis, though it was a bit theoretical.  While the frameworks seemed to still hold up, the book also seemed a little anachronistic as the author seemed enthralled with the changes the rise in photography has made to visual communication instead of more recent advances.

The book provided a framework for analyzing visual presentations, attempting to create a more common means of communicating visually.  For example, does the artist use lines in the drawing?  If so, how?  A line implies fluidity.  How does this help understand the message of the presentation?  While I found this helpful, much of the meaning behind visual art is contextual and subjective.  Moreover, the perception by the viewer of the meaning of a visual presentation is impacted by the subjective state of the viewer and the creator as well as the limits of the method of communication.  For example, movement is much more difficult to present in a painting than a film.  As such, it may be impossible to reach universals in visual literacy.

Nonetheless, the book’s aim of broader and deeper visual literacy is admirable as it promote greater understanding.  Also, I am sure recognizing the different techniques of visual presentation will prove helpful. These visual tools include: dots, lines, shape, direction, tone, color, texture, scale or proportion and dimension and motion.  Further, remembering that the visual presentation is not simply message but also involves the author, audience and form of presentation will help me understand what the author’s message may be.



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