Visual Grammar (Design Briefs)
Every day we are confronted with vast amounts of visual messages, but without a basic under- standing of visual language many of these messages remain incomprehensible to us, and a productive dialogue between producers and consumers of visual communication cannot take place.
Knowledge of visual concepts is often acquired through physical experience and applied without the use of written or spoken language: there are, however, a number of underlying processes before and after the act of creation where verbal language has an important function. Reflection about what one is going to create or what one has created alters the creative process: we think differently when we have a language to describe something. This book is a contribution towards establishing such a language. It intends to be both a primer on visual language and a visual dictionary of the fundamental aspects of visual communication.
The reason for writing a grammar of visual language is the same as for any language: to define its basic elements, describe its patterns and processes, and to understand the relations between the individual elements in the system. Visual language has no formal syntax or semantics, but the visual objects themselves can be classified. Accordingly, the book is divided into four parts: abstract objects and structures, concrete objects and structures, activities, and relations. The first chapter deals with abstractions such as dimension, format, and volume: the second concerns concrete objects and structures such as form, size, colour, and texture: the third part describes the activities that can take place in a composition such as repetition, mirroring, and movement, and the fourth chapter deals with the relations between several objects in a composition.
Writing this book I have stood on the shoulders of a number of the greats who have thought and written about visual language. They are listed in the selected bibliography at the back of the book. I would also like to thank Anette Wang, who gave me resistance when I needed it and my Norwegian publisher Einar Plyhn, who gave me no resistance whatsoever. Yngve Lien and Bjorn Kruse contributed constructive criticism. In addition, I received valuable feedback from professionals and laymen, friends and family.
I hope that this book will help you speak and write about visual objects and their creative potential and enable you to better understand the graphics that you encounter every day.
Oslo, November 2005
- Title: Visual Grammar (Design Briefs)
- Author: Christian Leborg
- Grade Level: 8 and up
- Series: Design Briefs
- Paperback: 96 pages
- Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1568985819
- ISBN-13: 978-1568985817
- Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 7 x 8.4 inches