Visual Literacy and Why We Need It Essay

431 WordsJul 7, 20142 Pages
Visual Literacy and Why We Need It CGd218: Visual Literacy in Business Visual Literacy and Why We Need It Visual literacy is encountered in everyday life. When we see a stop sign or a beautiful sunset, we are using visual literacy to interpret what we are seeing. Visual literacy is “a group of vision-related competencies a human being can develop by seeing, and at the same time, having and integrating other sensory experiences. [These competencies] enable a visually literate person to discriminate and interpret the visible actions, objects, and symbols that he [or she] encounters . . . to communicate with others . . . and comprehend and enjoy visual communication” according to the IVLA (International Visual Literacy Association which has adopted Jack Debes’s (Eastman Kodak Company) 1969 definition. Without the process of visual literacy, we are simply letting the world pass by without truly experiencing it. In contrast, Brian Kennedy, director of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, defines visual literacy as the ability to construct meaning from images. Kennedy’s definition is much simpler, yet somehow explains visual literacy in a richer sense. Both Debes’s and Kennedy come to the same conclusion, but Kennedy goes further by saying that visual literacy is a form of critical thinking that enhances your intellectual capacity. This means that because of the digital age we must look at re-integrating the capacity of our senses (Kennedy, 2010). We do this by taking all of the theoretical perspectives (semiotics, the Gestalt theory, constructivism, ecological theory, cognitive theory, Huxley-Lester model, and omniphasism) and “mix and match” them in order to get the correct result. This allows visual literacy to be considered a universal language. When you see a red hexagon, it means stop in all languages. A lower

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