Visual Literacy

Theo Kuechel, Jeff Beaudry and Sarah Ritz-Swain | View as single page |

What are the basic elements of visual literacy; the grammar and syntax of visual media?

To help learners become visually literate, it is a good idea to set design learning activities that help them gain a practical understanding of visual grammar and syntax, and identify these elements and the part they play in visual media.

  • line, direction, shape, geometry
  • motion, rhythm, flow, animation, speed
  • arrangement, framing, juxtaposition of images, composition
  • foreground, background emphasis ,
  • perspective, linear, atmospheric, 1.2 3.4 point perspective, 360 degree views
  • light, shadow colour. contrast. illumination. tone. boldness
  • manipulation, cropping, editing, remixing
  • abstraction, simplification, harmony
  • representation, labels, captions, metaphor, parody
  • symbolism, resemblance visual/text relationship

The following references are part of the evidence base for this resource.

Bamford. A,. The Visual Literacy White Paper, Adobe; 2003.

George Lucas; Teaching Visual Literacy and Communications (video)