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Visual Language for Designers

Principles for Creating Graphics that People Understand

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Format: Hardcover, 240 Pages
Item: 153074
ISBN: 9781592535156
Illustrations: 300
Size: 9.25 x 11.25
Published: June 1st 2009
Price: £24.99
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Within every picture is a hidden language that conveys a message, whether it is intended or not. This language is based on the ways people perceive and process visual information. By understanding visual language as the interface between a graphic and a viewer, designers and illustrators can learn to inform with accuracy and power.

In a time of unprecedented competition for audience attention and with an increasing demand for complex graphics, Visual Language for Designers explains how to achieve quick and effective communications. It presents ways to design for the strengths of our innate mental capacities and to compensate for our cognitive limitations.


—How to organize graphics for quick perception

—How to direct the eyes to essential information

—How to use visual shorthand for efficient communication

—How to make abstract ideas concrete

—How to best express visual complexity

—How to charge a graphic with energy and emotion



Connie Malamed has a background in art and cognitive psychology, with a B.S. in Art Education and an M.A. in Instructional Design and Technology. She is a consultant based in the Washington, D.C. area in the fields of e-learning, visual communication, media design, and information design. http://www.malamedconsulting.com

Malamed, Connie. Visual Language for Designers: Principles for Creating Graphics That People Understand. Rockport: Quayside. 2009. 240p. photogs. bibliog. ISBN 978-1-59253-515-6. $40. GRAPHIC ARTS
E-learning, visual communication, and design consultant Malamed sums up the crux of her book: “poor design is a major reason why information is misinterpreted,” and all of the graphic imagery and text she includes are committed to trying to distinguish between good and poor design. The dozens of images contributed by designers all over the world are absorbing, but a large percentage is reproduced at a scale that makes reading their text difficult or impossible. Their visual success may be evident, but whether they function well as conveyors of information is sometimes difficult to judge. In the accompanying text, Malamed explores cognitive psychology with jargon like “texture segregation,” “preattentive processing,” and “primitive features,” none of which are defined in the 11-item glossary. If the reader sticks with the text, everything eventually is explained, but this volume is not effortless. Verdict This is much less a how-to than a solid intellectual underpinning of perceptual psychology; although the perceptual psychology is discussed in detail, the actual ideas involved in the graphic imagery are never analyzed. For design students and professionals. -- Library Journal, July 2009
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