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Make Pt1597
Make Pt1598
The History of Visual Communication

This website attempts to walk you through the long and diverse history of a particular aspect of human endeavour: The translation of ideas, stories and concepts that are largely textual and/or word based into a visual format, i.e. visual communication. Wikipedia defines visual communication as:

Visual communication is the communication of ideas through the visual display of information. Primarily associated with two dimensional images, it includes: art, signs, photography, typography, drawing fundamentals, colour and electronic resources. Recent research in the field has focused on web design and graphically oriented usability. It is part of what a graphic designer does to communicate visually with the audience.

The primary tool by which man has visualised ideas is through the usage of writing and, by extension, type: Writing/type is the visual manifestation of the spoken word. And words are what we communicate with. Thus it is no overstatement when we say that type is the essence of visual communication and by extension of visual communication design. Type, where it is present, is simply the single most important element that you put on a page, since it inherently carries the essence of communication and communication is what our subject of study as graphic/multimedia designers is all about. Thus, the history of visual communication, i.e. the history of the visualisation of the spoken word, will largely follow the development of typographic systems, with a special focus on the Latin typographic system, given that this is the one that we are operating under. Although the primary focus will be on typographic elements and methodologies, the course will, of course, also cover pictorial aspects of visual communication, such as illustration, illumination, photography, shapes, colour etc as and where they pertain to the essence of the subject.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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