Visual Communication could be described as processes that rely primarily on rich visual content as the means of conveying information through words, photos, colors, shapes, and many other components. However, visual communication explores the use of graphical components in achieving communication goals. Visual communication has both critical and practical parts. According to the current book we use in the class “Visual Communication, Images with Messages”, the critical part of visual communication is known as visual rhetoric, which explores the way that designers use visual elements to influence audiences.
Visual communication becomes increasingly important as computers, television, and film become the primary media of communication. Each of these is primarily a visual medium, in which messages are communicated through pictures. Words support the communication of those images.
My idea of visual communication is the process of providing pictorial and written information to an intended audience. Visual communication is a “process,” that is problem-solving nature. The concept of Visual communication includes other types of communications beyond printed matter. Visual communication can be achieved through use of color, shapes and images.
In today’s society, there is a strong indication that the status of images is improving. We live in a mediated blitz world of images. They fill our newspapers, magazines, books, clothes, billboards, computer monitors and television screens as never before in the history of mass communication. We are becoming a visually mediated society. For many, understanding of the world is being accomplished, not through reading words, but by reading images. Ever since I became a Mass Communication major, I noticed that the television culture is replacing words as the important factor in social communication. Words will be reserved for only bureaucratic transactions through business forms and in books that will only be read by a few individuals. Reading is losing to watching because viewing requires little mental processing. Visual communication has the ability to convey messages, but this “language” means nothing to those who can only read words and not images.
Visual communication can be seen from a semiotic approach. The semiotic approach to visual communication stresses the idea that images are a collection of signs that are linked together in some way by the viewer. The study of semiotics divides itself into three areas: pragmatics, semantics and syntactic. Pragmatics is the study of the origin, common uses and communicative effects of signs. Semantics is an area of semiotics in which the researchers attempt to determine the significance of signs within and throughout various cultures. Syntactic is the study of the ways signs are combined with each other to form complex messages.
Individual symbols within a picture don’t have a precise alphabetic relationship, but when used in combination, meaning is found for an image through a traditional method.
Whether pictures are not a language because it is not easily definable, I think that images are a collection of signs and as such, become a language when read in the mind. When words and images have equal status within all media of communication, the cultural means that define a society will not only be more efficiently passed from one generation to the next, but within this generation, here and now, diverse cultures will be able to understand each other a little better. However, whether we want to admit it or not, visual communication will always be seen as images that are remembered by thinking about them in words.