Do You Speak Visual?

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Do You Speak Visual? – This question is posed by the Toledo Museum of Art in their in-depth Visual Literacy brochure and website. The ability to read and interpret and construct meaning is visual literacy. Being visually literate means that you have the ability to construct meaning from everything you see. We are traditionally educated using Textual Literacy, where we read and interpret the meaning. Yet, images are all around us and even more in our current social culture where we create and use visual content daily. So how do we approach visual literacy even-though it may seem subjective or illusive? Here are a few points on how you can be visually literate:

  • Take an inventory of what you see in the image. Those concepts include: Space & Texture, Principles of Design: Emphasis, Balance, Proportion, Rhythm, Movement, Variety, Unity and Harmony.
  • Use Visual Thinking Strategies: Ask yourself: What is happening in this image? How can I find out more about the image? Analyze the image by using the principles that you’ve seen in the image and think about how all of those elements can create a story surrounding the image.

Here are some resources on Visual Literacy:

Toledo Museum of Art Visual Literacy.

The Art of Seeing Brochure

Artist Toolkit

Principles of Design

Summiyah A. Siddeeq
D-Center Coordinator

“Home Gallery.” Toledo Museum of Art. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2016. <>.
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