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An Introduction to Visual Communication

From Cave Art to Second Life (2nd edition)


Susan B. Barnes

Technological changes have radically altered the ways in which people use visual images. Since the invention of photography, imagery has increasingly been used for entertainment, journalism, information, medical diagnostics, instruction, branding and communication. These functions move the image beyond aesthetic issues associated with art and into the realm of communication studies.

This introductory textbook introduces students to the terminology of visual literacy, methods for analyzing visual media, and theories on the relationship between visual communication and culture. Exploring the meanings associated with visual symbols and the relationship of visual communication to culture, this book provides students with a better understanding of the visually oriented world in which they live. From cave art to virtual reality, all visual media are discussed with methods for evaluation. Student-friendly features such as boxed topics, key terms, web resources, and suggestions for exercises are provided throughout.


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Part II: Understanding Visual Media


PART II Understanding Visual Media Understanding Visual Media 125 Part II discusses the different types of media, from print-based to digital . A historical overview is presented in each chapter to place the medium into a context and to demonstrate how visual tech- nologies have developed since the late 1800s . Additionally, the cultural changes with the introduction of digital media are described . The printing press was the first mass medium . It revolutionized writing systems because texts could be duplicated and distributed to many people . As printing technologies advanced, they have increasingly become more visual . Techniques to reproduce illustrations developed into methods to duplicate photographs . With the introduction of computers, software programs were invented to streamline the preparation of texts for printing . Digital computers can easily integrate words and images together in the production of printed texts . However, paper is necessary for printed texts to be created . Early Printing Technology Papermaking is central to the printing process . Originally developed in China, it took hundreds of years for papermaking to reach the Western world . Papermaking first spread to the Arab world and later arrived in Egypt during the 10th century . Paper spread across North Africa and was introduced in Italy in 1102 . Paper was necessary for printing to have speed and efficiency . In 1276, the first paper mill was established in Italy . As the paper industry developed, it was one of the first industries to use trademarks . Trademarks identified mills and individual craftspeople . These marks were embossed into paper products as watermarks . Watermarks...

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