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Visual Literacy Workbook

For Graphic Design and Fine Art Students

David Moyer and Brian Flynn

Publication Date - 01 February 2019

ISBN: 9780190853426

160 pages
Spiral Bound
8-1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock

A hands-on guide to understanding visual imagery


Appropriate for both graphic designers and fine artists, Visual Literacy Workbook: For Graphic Design and Fine Art Students provides a detailed approach to understanding visual imagery. The text presents a wide range of fine art, graphic, and digital examples and is divided into two major parts: visual form and visual content. As students cover new material in the workbook, concepts are reinforced and synthesized, resulting in a comprehensive understanding of form and content. Upon completion of the text, students are well-prepared to participate in the design process and further interpret visual content.


  • A logical, step-by-step approach to understanding design builds from very basic design principles to more complex content issues
  • Thorough coverage of visual analysis helps students understand images and see their abstract qualities
  • Clarity of explanations and definitions makes the text accessible for both beginning studio art and graphic design students

About the Author(s)

David Moyer is Assistant Professor of Art and Design at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Brian Flynn is Assistant Professor and Department Head of Art and Design at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.


"This book covers everything that needs to be covered at the fundamental level and allows for diversion in each area, depending on focus. The book's compelling features include the hands-on portion of the workbook and the give-and-take aspect of the analytical process." --Melanie Rodgers, York College of Pennsylvania

"I like the authors' approach and style in Visual Literacy Workbook. The chapters are organized well, clearly leading students from point to point. The visual-analysis process is my favorite component; it builds student awareness and appreciation." --Alma Mary Anderson, Indiana State University

"The authors have done a good job explaining the visual-analysis approach and demonstrating the process. The book is very straightforward, written with beginning/foundation students in mind." --Nancy Ciolek, Rochester Institute of Technology

Table of Contents

    Table of Contents

    Part 1: Form & Content

    Chapter 1 : Visual Literacy
    Visual Literacy, Visual Image, Form, Content, Elements, Unit Forms, Formal Content, Symbolic Content, Narrative Content

    Chapter 2 : The Visual Image
    Visual Attractiveness, Contrasts, Visual Hierarchy, Unity, Picture Plane, Format/Frame of Reference, Negative Space/Ground, Positive Space/Figure, Open Composition, Shape, Curvilinear Shape, Rectilinear Shape, Representational Shapes, Nonrepresentational Shape

    Chapter 3: Gestalt, Unity & Variety
    Gestalt, Repetition, Rhythms, Alternating Rhythm, Progressive Rhythm, Integrative Repetition, Proximity, Similarity, Continuation, Closure, Variety

    Chapter 4: Color
    Additive Color, Color Spectrum, Cool Colors, Color Temperature, Color Wheel, Four Aspects of Color, Hue, Primary Colors, Saturation, Secondary Colors, Shading, Subtractive Color, Tertiary Colors, Tinting, Value, Toning, Warm Colors

    Chapter 5: Illusion of Space
    Aerial Perspective, Atmospheric Perspective, Background, Bright Color, Cool Colors, Dark Valued Color, Dull Color, Foreground, Horizon Line, Light Valued Color, Linear Perspective, Line Weight, Mid Ground, Orthogonal Lines, Spacial Planes, Vanishing Point, Vantage Point, Value, Warm Colors

    Chapter 6: Balance
    Asymmetrical Balance, Axis of Symmetry, Formal Balance, Hierarchy of Visual Weight, Horizontal Balance, Informal Balance, Near Symmetrical Balance, Pictorial Hierarchy of Visual Weight, Symmetrical Balance, Typographic Hierarchy of Visual Weight, Vertical Balance, Vertical Axis of Symmetry, Visual Weight

    Chapter 7: Emphasis & Eye Flow
    Accent Point, Contrast, Focal Point, Line of Sight, Real Line, Scale, Suggested Line Triangulation, Value,
    Visual Hierarchy

    Chapter 8: Proportion
    Diagonal of a Square, Dynamic Rectangles, Dynamic Symmetry, Golden Section Rectangle, Half Diagonal, Long Rectangle, Proportion, Ratio, Rectangle, Root Rectangle, Square

    Chapter 9: Structure
    Columnar Grid, Custom Grid, Echo Lines, Eyes of a Rectangle, Formal Structure, Grid Cell, Harmonic Armature, Informal Structure, Long Rectangle, Proportion, Rabatment, Rabatment Container, Rabatment Lines, Square, Structure, Typographic Grid

    Chapter 10: Compositional Dynamics
    Accent Point, Compositional Dynamics, Counter Diagonals, Dominant Dynamic, Dynamic Hierarchy, Dynamic Orientation, Dynamically Neutral Forms, Focal Point, Lines of Sight, Major Axis, Minor Axis, Triangulation

    Chapter 11: Visual Content
    Bracketed Observation, Background, Closure, Conceptual Depth, Contextual Association, Element Condition, Foreground, Form, Formal Content, Element Function, Gestalt, Mid Ground, Narrative Content, Primary Level of Perception, Secondary Level of Perception, Spacial Planes, Symbolic Content, Visual Content, Visual Information, Variety, Unity/Harmony

    Part 2: Visual Analysis Outline

    Chapter 12: Visual Analysis Outline
    Introduction, Visual Analysis Outline Sheet

    Chapter 13 : Shape Type & Distribution Section 1
    Section 1: Shape Type & Distribution, Identification and classification of visual elements

    Chapter 14 : Gestalt Section 2
    Section 2: Identify prominent examples of the four aspects of Gestalt, proximity, similarity, continuation, closure

    Chapter 15: Balance Section 3
    Section 3: Determine the type of horizontal balance, symmetry, near symmetry, asymmetry

    Chapter 16: Focal & Accent Points Section 4
    Section 4: Identify points of emphasis, focal & accent points

    Chapter 17: Geometry Section 5
    Section 5: Determine picture plane proportion (dynamic rectangle), relevance of harmonic armature and rebatment

    Chapter 18: Compositional Dynamics Section 6
    Section 6: Identify the dominant, subdominant, subordinate dynamics (diagonal, vertical, horizontal) and their importance to the composition

    Chapter 19: Unity & Variety Section 7
    Section: 7 Summarize and synthesize formal elements contribution to unity & variety

    Chapter 20: Bracketed Observation Section 8
    Section 8: Discern the composition's visual element, element function & element condition

    Chapter 21: Contextual Information Section 9
    Section 9: Discern and research non-visual information relevant to the work

    Chapter 22: Contextual Association Section 10
    Section: 10 Correlate bracketed observation with contextual information

    Chapter 23: Visual Content Summary Section 11
    Section 11: Identify (narrative, symbolic, formal) and synthesize visual content information

    Chapter 24: Completed Visual Analysis
    Sections 1-11 of the Visual Analysis Outline

    Artists Resource, Assignment Sequencing, Handouts




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