©2001
Design Knowledge Intermediary
Visual Language For Designers: Principles For Creating Graphics That People Understand

By Connie Malamed
Published by Rockport Publishers, June 2009

Pages 240 pages
Price $ 20.70

This book explores the hidden language within every picture 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.

Visual Language For Designers explains how to achieve quick and effective communications in a time of unprecedented competition for audience attention and with an increasing demand for complex graphics. It presents ways to design for the strengths of our innate mental capacities and to compensate for our cognitive limitations. Through the synthesis of cognitive science and design, the author presents an introduction to how people understand graphics, followed by six guiding principles for the design practitioner, educator and student.

The book's contents include:

Section One: Getting Graphics (An explanation of how we process visual information)
Section Two: Principles
Principle One: Organize for Perception (How to organize graphics for quick perception)
Principle Two: Direct the Eyes (How to direct the eyes to essential information)
Principle 3: Reduce Realism (How to use visual shorthand for efficient communication)
Principle 4: Make the Abstract Concrete (How to make abstract ideas concrete)
Principle 5: Clarify Complexity (How to best express visual complexity)
Principle 6: Charge It Up (How to charge a graphic with energy and emotion)