Reading Images The Grammar of Visual Design by

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Reading Images The Grammar of Visual Design by Kress and
Leeuwen
Our visual ‘grammar’ will describe the way in which depicted people, places and things combine in
visual ‘statements’ of greater or lesser complexity or extension.
Of what is our visual grammar a grammar?
It is a grammar of contemporary visual design in ‘Western’ cultures, and hence an inventory of the
elements and rules underlying a culture-specific form of visual communication.
Thus, it is not a ‘universal’ grammar. Visual language is not transparent and universally understood,
but culturally specific.
Two kinds of visual literacy
Subservient to language
Visual communication has been made
subservient to language and in which images
have come to be regarded as unstructured
replicas of reality.
Independence of the visual representation
Written/spoken language is independent of
visual representation
Language comes first – authoritatively imposing
meaning on the image.
1.
Visual communication is always coded. It seems transparent only because we know the
code already, at least passively – but without knowing what it is we knw, without having the
means for talking about what it is we do when we read an image.
2. Societies
Judy Gerber 2013
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