Getting The Picture: A Brief Guide to Understanding and Creating Visual Texts / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook


This handy illustrated booklet gives students critical tools for examining visual documents and creating their own. The first part offers basic guidelines for document design, and the second part helps students to read visual texts and think critically about them. Also included are helpful checklists and thought-provoking exercises for both document design and visual analysis.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312418502
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 1/17/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 64
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface for Instructors

Introduction for Students

Understanding Four Basic Principles of Document Design
Principle 1: Know Your Readers
Principle 2: Satisfy Your Readers' Expectations
Principle 3: Consider Your Readers' Constraints
Principle 4: Remember Your Purpose
Creating an Effective Design for Your Document
Using a Prominent Element
Choosing Fonts
Serif or Sans Serif Fonts
Novelty Fonts
Preparing Lists
Bulleted List
Numbered List
Using White Space Strategically
College Papers
Using Headings and Alignment
Heading Levels
Heading Consistency
Heading Alignment
Using Repetition Purposefully
Using Color Effectively
Using Visuals to Reinforce Your Content
Adding Visuals
Crediting Sources
Arranging Visuals and Text in Your Document
Integration of Visuals and Text
Placement and Alignment of Visuals
Balance between Visuals and Text
For Group Work

Using Strategies for Visual Analysis
Level One: Seeing the Big Picture
Purpose and Audience
Prominent Element
Focal Point
Level Two: Observing the Characteristics of an Image
Cast of Characters
Story of the Image
Design and Arrangement
Selection of Elements
Relationship of Elements
Use of Space
Artistic Choices
Aesthetic Decisions
Function Decisions
Typeface Options
Level Three: Interpreting the Meaning of an Image
General Feeling or Mood
Sociological, Political, Economic, or Cultural Attitudes
Signs and Symbols
For Group Work

Purpose and Audience Checklist (Part 1)
Document Design Checklist
Purpose and Audience Checklist (Part 2)
Visual Analysis Checklist


Part 1
Figure 1.1 Front pages of USA Today and the Wall Street Journal (with common features labeled)
Figure 1.2 The first page and Works Cited page of a student research paper in MLA format
Figure 1.3 Common features in magazine design
Figure 1.4 Design showing prominent elements
Figure 1.5 Space occupied by different typefaces
Figure 1.6 Sans serif heading used with serif body font
Figure 1.7 Identical text set in two fonts
Figure 1.8 The raisin-bread effect produced by too much boldface
Figure 1.9 Conventional résumé
Figure 1.10 Résumé for the Web
Figure 1.11 Example of double-spaced text
Figure 1.12 PowerPoint slide with too much text and too little space
Figure 1.13 PowerPoint slide with brief text and effective use of space
Figure 1.14 Parallel headings on a Web page
Figure 1.15 Centered title with left, right, and full justification of text
Figure 1.16 Centered headings (no strong alignment)
Figure 1.17 Left-justified title, headings, and text (strong alignment)
Figure 1.18 Sample running header in MLA style
Figure 1.19 Use of color on a Web page
Figure 1.20 A diagram showing the process of wastewater treatment in King County, Washington
Figure 1.21 Illustration of work at an archaeological dig
Figure 1.22 A graph showing prices for residential heating oil in different regions from October 1999 to March 2000
Figure 1.23 A pie chart showing shares of a whole
Figure 1.24 A bar chart presenting numerical comparisons
Figure 1.25 A table organizing textual data

Part 2
Figure 2.1 Three levels of visual analysis
Figure 2.2 Photograph of four children
Figure 2.3 Photograph divided into quarters
Figure 2.4 Z pattern often used to read images
Figure 2.5 Close-up detail of photograph
Figure 2.6 Volkswagen advertisement, about 1959
Figure 2.7 Oldsmobile advertisements, 1959
Figure 2.8 Artistic use of Courier typeface
Figure 2.9 Artistic use of Caslon typeface
Figure 2.10 Public-service advertisement showing wordplay

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