Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Reading Images

The Grammar of Visual Design, 2nd Edition

By Gunther Kress, Theo van Leeuwen


312 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415319157
pub: 2006-03-30
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pub: 2006-03-30
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This second edition of the landmark textbook Reading Images builds on its reputation as the first systematic and comprehensive account of the grammar of visual design. Drawing on an enormous range of examples from children's drawings to textbook illustrations, photo-journalism to fine art, as well as three-dimensional forms such as sculpture and toys, the authors examine the ways in which images communicate meaning.

Features of this fully updated second edition include:

  • new material on moving images and on colour
  • a discussion of how images and their uses have changed through time
  • websites and web-based images
  • ideas on the future of visual communication.

Reading Images focuses on the structures or 'grammar' of visual design – colour, perspective, framing and composition – provides the reader with an invaluable 'tool-kit' for reading images and makes it a must for anyone interested in communication, the media and the arts.


Praise for the first edition:

'Reading Images is the most important book in visual communication since Jacques Bertin's Semiology of Information Graphics. It is both thorough and thought-provoking; a remarkable breakthrough.' - Kevin G. Barnhurst, Syracuse University, USA

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The Semiotic Landscape 2. Narrative Representations: Designing Social Action 3. Conceptual Representations: Designing Social Constructs 4. Representation and Interaction: Designing the Position of the Viewer 5. Morality: Designing Models of Reality 6. The Meaning of Composition 7. The Materiality of Meaning – Surface and Inscription 8. The Third Dimension

About the Authors

Gunther Kress is Professor of English and Head of the School of Culture, Language and Communication at the Institute of Education, University of London. Theo van Leeuwen has worked as a film and television producer in the Netherlands and Australia and as Professor in the Centre for Language & Communication Research at Cardiff University. He is currently Dean at the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney. They have both published widely in the fields of language and communication studies.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies