Exercise 1 – Identifying visual communications – Part TWO

This post is continued from the latest one.


I’m not totally sure where to draw the line between an authorial visual communication and fine art, also because several artists work in both fields and the difference may be blurred or nuanced. In any case I assume that, as for the other areas of visual communication, work has to be commissioned and have a purpose.

My first example is a DVD cover for the final season of Penny Dreadful, a British-American horror drama television series

The complete third season of the Showtime fantasy horror series PENNY DREADFUL, Ethan (Josh Hartnett), Vanessa (Eva Green) and Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) as they confront their inner demons as

At: https://it.pinterest.com/overstock/

A cover by Peter Blake for a compilation album of Stop the Clocks (2006) by the English rock band Oasis

At: http://is3.mzstatic.com/image/thumb/Music2/v4/c5/90/39/c590395f-965a-623f-632c-975f651a0bf9/source/1200x630bf.jpg


An example of interactive art, What made me? , a public installation designed by Dorota  Grabkowska and Kuba Kolec for the Birmingham Made Me Design Expo (15-22 June 2012) at the Mailbox, Birmingham.

WHAT MADE ME Interactive Public Installation on Behance... - a grouped images picture - Pin Them All:

At: https://www.behance.net/gallery/4419469/WHAT-MADE-ME-Interactive-Public-Installation

The following is a delightful interactive Japanese children’s book by Megumi Kajiwara and Tathuhiko Nijima, Motion Silhouette,  that includes pop-up silhouettes in-between pages.

At: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/07/motion-silhouette-an-interactive-shadow-picture-book/

This example has a commercial purpose: whenever a customer picks up a hanger, an image of a model wearing the piece of clothing pops up on the wall

At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLlwLjQWYu4&app=desktop


Protesters in Rio de Janeiro hold a ‘die-in’ across the centre of the road in the bustling city of Brazil

At: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3338255/Pope-s-shoes-spotted-Paris-protest-climate-change-conference-prepares-open-conditions-high-security.html#ixzz4WDyZW2Cw


At: http://themetapicture.com/an-original-way-to-protest/

Just some funny protest signs - Imgur:

At: imgur.com/gallery/mB960

In what ways do these images make reference to broader ideas of visual culture?

The first thing I notice looking back at the images I have collected in this and the former post is that in all of them except one (the Oasis cover) text and graphics or sounds (like for the children’s Japanese book) accompany and integrate the image information, provide context and make it more understandable. So it appears that more often than not visual communication is in fact a hybrid combination of images and texts. In some instances text and graphics provide a clue and without them the image would be difficult to understand or could be misinterpreted. On the other side text and graphics would be meaningless, uninteresting or unclear if disconnected from the corresponding images. In any case images and texts become more powerful when they are used together. Messages are a mixture of both and if images provide for immediacy, texts clarify their meanings.

Another element worth of notice is that in many cases context or additional cultural and social knowledge are paramount to make sense of visual communications like these. For instance I could not understand why the protesters in Rio de Janeiro are lying on the floor if I knew nothing of current global climate issues, and I suppose that in the last image the man is protesting for fathers’ rights after divorce because I read about the Fathers 4 Justice movement in the press. So as Creative Arts Today (page 109) says, ‘a visual communication draws on a shared visual culture and reflects if back’.

Visual communication also takes place in a variety of forms and through different media: in my examples posters, photographs, videos, magazines, the Internet were used. In many cases visual messages are part of everyday life, like the ads for Ray Ban and Bic which can be seen walking on the street or on a building wall. In others the environment might be a gallery or a shop. In fact today we are so much used to change from and to different media and forms of communication that it seems totally natural to us to do so – we live in a constantly communicating world as fish in the sea – and it may be difficult to remain aware of the influence that the nature of the medium has on the messages we send, receive and pass on to others, in other words to remain aware that, as McLuhan teaches, ‘the medium is the message’.


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