Handbook of Visual Communication : Theory, Methods, and Media book cover
2nd Edition

Handbook of Visual Communication
Theory, Methods, and Media

ISBN 9781138590311
Published April 22, 2020 by Routledge
518 Pages 91 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This Handbook of Visual Communication explores the key theoretical areas and research methods of visual communication. With chapters contributed by many of the best-known and respected scholars in visual communication, this volume brings together significant and influential work in the discipline.

The second edition of this already-classic text has been completely revised to reflect the metamorphosis of communication in the last 15 years and the ubiquity of visual communication in our modern mediated lifestyle. Thriteen major theories of communication are defined by the top experts in their fields: perception, cognition, aesthetics, visual rhetoric, semiotics, cultural studies, ethnography, narrative, media aesthetics, digital media, intertextuality, ethics, and visual literacy. Each of these theory chapters is followed by an exemplar study or two in the area, demonstrating the various methods used in visual communication research as well as the research approaches applicable for specific media types.

The Handbook of Visual Communication is a theoretical and methodological handbook for visual communication researchers and a compilation for much of the theoretical background necessary to understand visual communication. It is required reading for scholars, researchers, and advanced students in visual communication, and it will be influential in other disciplines such as advertising, persuasion, and media studies. The volume will also be essential to media practitioners seeking to understand the visual aspects of how audiences use media to contribute to more effective use of each specific medium.

Table of Contents


Visual Communication Dominates the 21st Century


1. Perception Theory: A Neurological Perspective on Visual Communication

Ann Marie Barry

2. Using Eye Tracking to See How Children Read Interactive Storybooks with Supplemental or Incidental Digital Features

Stacey Tyler and Sheree Josephson


3. Visual Cognition

Maria Elizabeth Grabe

4. Visual-Verbal Redundancy and College Choice: Does the Level of Redundancy in Student Recruitment Advertisements Affect High School Students’ Decision-Making Process?

Tracy M. Rutledge


5. Aesthetics Theory: Aesthetic Experience as a Communicative Tool in the 21st Century

Suzanne Mooney

6. Applying Aesthetic Principles to Tell Stories through Photojournalism: Taking a Look Back at my Memorable Images

Kim Komenich


7. Visual Rhetoric: Theory, Method, and Application in the Modern World

Tracy Owens Patton

8. Trump as Global Spectacle: The Visual Rhetoric of Magazine Covers

Janis Teruggi Page


9. Visual Semiotics Theory: Introduction to the Science of Signs

Dennis Dunleavy

10. Jordanian Banknote Design: A Social Semiotic Analysis

Shaima Elbardawil

11. The Myth of the American Landscape: Photography and the Semiotics of Nature

Kathleen M. Ryan


12. Cultural Studies Theory: The Production and Consumption of Meaning

Victoria O’Donnell

13. Altering the Body/Altering Communication: Using Cultural Studies Theory

to Examine Interactions Related to Body Modification

Julianne Friesen Atwood and Cindy Price Schultz


14. Visual Ethnography: From Visual to Networked to Multimodal Practice

Matthew Durington and Samuel Gerald Collins

15. Oppositional Articulations: An Ethnographic Study with Black Artists in Austin, Texas

Krishnan Vasudevan


16. Narrative Theory: Visual Storytelling

Trischa Goodnow

17. Performing the Past in the Present: Prosperity Junction, Public Memory, and American Identity

Travis L. Cox


18. Applied Media Aesthetics: Encoding and Decoding Meta-Messages

Herbert Zettl,and James D. Kelly

19. Understanding X-ray Images: A Medi(c)a(l) Aesthetics Approach

Lawrence J. Mullen


20. Digital Media Theory: From One Way to Multidirectional Communication

Megan A. Moreno and Jonathan D. D’Angelo

21. Google Doodles and Collective Memory-Making

Bob Britten

22. Profile Pictures Across Platforms: How Identity Visually Manifests Itself Among Social Media Accounts

T. J. Thomson and Keith Greenwood


23. Visual Intertextuality Theory: Exploring Political Communication and Visual Intertextuality through Meme Wars

Sherice Gearhart, Bingbing Zhang, David D. Perlmutter, and Gordana Lazić

24. What Makes an Internet Meme a Meme? Five Essential Characteristics

Maria D. Molina


25. Visual Ethics: A Dynamic of Process and Meaning

Julianne H. Newton

26. "Stolen Valor," Moral Panic, and the Ethics of Digital Vigilantism

Christine M. Miller and Nicholas F. S. Burnett


27. Visual Literacy Theory: Moving Forward

Maria D. Avgerinou and Rune Pettersson

28. Fakes, Forgery, and Facebook: An Examination of Visual Literacy in the Era of Manipulated Images, Fake News, and Alternative Facts

Anthony Cepak and T. J. Mesyn



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Sheree Josephson is a presidential distinguished professor of communication at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where she also serves as department chair. She is an eye-tracking researcher who has published numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters, and the book Visualizing the web: Evaluating Online Design from a Visual Communication Perspective.

James D. Kelly is the director of Journalism at Indiana University Bloomington where he teaches photojournalism and healthcare reporting. He is a former editor of Visual Communication Quarterly and researches the influence of digital imaging technology on news photo credibility and audience understanding of photojournalism ethics.

Ken Smith was publisher of the Green River Star in Wyoming prior to receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Utah. He served on the faculty at the Department of Communication & Journalism in the University of Wyoming for 26 years and was head of the department for 15 of those years.