DRWG06013 2019 Visual Literacy

General Details

Full Title
Visual Literacy
Transcript Title
Visual Literacy
75 %
Subject Area
DRWG - Drawing
YADA - Yeats Academy Art Dsgn & Arch
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Diarmuid Timmons, Mark Pepper, Ronnie Hughes
Programme Membership
SG_DCRDS_B07 201900 Bachelor of Arts in Creative Design SG_DCRDS_H08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Creative Design SG_AARTT_B07 201900 Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art SG_VINTE_B07 202200 Bachelor of Arts in Interior Architecture and Design SG_AARTT_H08 202200 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Art SG_DCRDS_B07 202300 Bachelor of Arts in Creative Design SG_DCRDS_H08 202300 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Creative Design

This module is an introduction to the general visual principles that underlie how we both construct and consume imagery; how we 'read' images but also how we can make or use them to communicate.

The module is comprised of a one hour lecture followed by a three hour drawing/creative thinking class: Each week a different 2-D or 3-D diagnostic exercise is introduced to challenge and direct the students' creative and problem solving skills. The lectures preface these exercises and introduce the student to a broad variety of examples from the field of Art and Design.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Have gained an awareness of visual elements and their application in a variety of real world contexts


Demonstrate an ability to gather, observe, generate and reflect upon visual information.


Show experience in the use of a variety of drawing media and approaches.


Have acquired skills in communication and expression through visual and plastic forms.


Demonstrate awareness of convergent and divergent thinking.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Each practical class will be prefaced by a lecture that sets a context for the related exercises. Each exercise is introduced and then expanded upon as necessary as the project evolves. The tutor(s) will supervise and critique projects throughout the class as well as providing a concluding summary where necessary.

The drawing exercises are designed primarily as a problem-solving tasks that seek to challenge and develop the students' creativity, lateral thinking and visual communication skills.

Module Assessment Strategies

Practical work will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.   Each project is assessed independently and the aggregate grade for the projects will be the final mark for the semester. Where students work in teams they will share the same grade for their output. 

Repeat Assessments

Students will be given repeat project briefs which will be issued at the end of the academic stage and submitted at the beginning of autumn.

Indicative Syllabus

The lectures will begin with an explanation of the various gestalt principles that shape how we respond and react to visual stimuli. The student will also be introduced to the idea that all visual data has three simultaneous components: Representation, Symbol and Abstraction.

As the semester progresses the lectures and practical classes explore the formal elements of basic visual vocabulary:  Dot, Line, Tone, Colour, Movement, Rhythm, Repetition, Shape, Form, Material, Texture, Pace, Scale, Proportion, Composition, Space and Negative space. The lectures will also discuss visual conventions and how various approaches to organising visual data can convey ideas, values and meaning: Decoration, Restraint, Deception, Persuasion, Propaganda and Ethics are among the topics outlined here.


1. 20 lines on a page/ black square problem

2. Tone exercise.

3. Colour Collage.

4.  3-D Expressing a concept exercise (working in a small team)

5. Slow contour drawing.

6. Road Sign design problem.

7. Gesture drawing.

8. 3D Mask exercise

9. Negative space/ imaginative drawing exercises

10. Colour/pattern themed collage.

11. Word and Image/ Surreal image.

12. 3-D Animal exercise.



Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Presentation of a body of work Practical Practical Evaluation 100 % End of Semester 1,2,3,4,5

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Lecture Theatre Visual literacy 1 Weekly 1.00
Supervision Design Studio Drawing class 3 Weekly 3.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 4.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Recommended Reading
1974 A Primer of Visual Literacy MIT Press
ISBN 0262540290 ISBN-13 9780262540292
Recommended Reading
2008 Visual Literacy LDA
ISBN 1855034425 ISBN-13 9781855034426
Recommended Reading
2008 Visual Literacy Routledge
ISBN 0415958113 ISBN-13 9780415958110
Recommended Reading
1991 Visual Literacy Watson-Guptill Publications
ISBN UOM:39015029517128

The task of creative visual communication is to interpret problems in a personal way while meeting the practical communicative needs of others. This book is divided into two main parts. Part 1, Graphic Design Exercises, offers 400 original solutions to 25 design projects and problems. Each assignment is designed to promote an understanding of a fundamental design idea or principle. Part 2, Illustration Exercises, over 200 solutions to 10 problems are presented. This section of the book investigates many of the same concerns covered in part 1 of the book, but its solutions are in the form of two and three dimensional illustrations. Richard Wilde is the author of Graphics, Communication Arts and Step-By-Step Graphics. This book is aimed at graphic design students.

Recommended Reading
2008-09-25 Ways of Seeing Penguin UK
ISBN 9780141035796 ISBN-13 014103579X

John Berger's Ways of Seeing changed the way people think about painting and art criticism. This watershed work shows, through word and image, how what we see is always influenced by a whole hose of assumptions concerning that nature of beauty, truth, civilization, form, taste, class and gender. Exploring the layers of meaning within oil paintings, photographs and graphic art, Berger argues that when we see, we are not just looking - we are reading the language of images.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Dondis, A., A Primer of Visual Literacy. New Ed. MIT Press.

Jo Browning Wroe, David Lambert 2008 Visual Literacy LDA
ISBN 1855034425 ISBN-13 9781855034426

Berger, J., (2008). Ways of Seeing. Penguin UK.

Elkins, J., (2008). Visual Literacy. 1st Edition. Routledge.

Richard Wilde 1991 Visual Literacy Watson-Guptill Publications

Journal Resources

Art in America
Flash Art
Irish Arts Review

URL Resources







Other Resources

Large design studio with tables.

Drawing studio, Life Model.

Lecture theatre