Visual communication as the name suggests is communication through visual aid and is described as the conveyance of ideas and information in forms that can be read or looked upon. Visual communication solely relies on vision, and is primarily presented or expressed with two dimensional images, it includes: signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration, colour and electronic resources. It also explores the idea that a visual message accompanying text has a greater power to inform, educate, or persuade a person or audience.
The evaluation of a good visual communication design is mainly based on measuring comprehension by the audience, not on personal aesthetic and/or artistic preference as there are no universally agreed-upon principles of beauty and ugliness. Excluding two dimensional images, there are other ways to express information visually – gestures and body language, animation (digital or analogue), and film. Visual communication by e-mail, a textual medium, is commonly expressed with ASCII art, emoticons, and embedded digital images.
The term ‘visual presentation’ is used to refer to the actual presentation of information through a visible medium such as text or images. Recent research in the field has focused on web design and graphically-oriented usability. Graphic designers also use methods of visual communication in their professional practice. Visual communication on the World Wide Web is perhaps the most important form of communication that takes place while users are surfing the Internet. When experiencing the web, one uses the eyes as the primary sense, and therefore the visual presentation of a website is very important for users to understand the message or of the communication taking place.
The Eye of Horus is often referred to as the symbol of visual communication. It is said to be a representation of an eclipse, as the corona around the pupil is like the corona around the sun during a solar eclipse.
Art director general role
Various artists may create or develop specific parts of an art piece or scene; but a sole art director unifies the vision. In particular, the art director is in charge of the overall visual appearance and how it communicates visually, stimulates moods, contrasts features, and psychologically appeals to a target audience. The art director makes decisions about visual elements used, what artistic style to use, and when to use motion.
One of the most difficult problems that art directors face is to translate desired moods, messages, concepts, and underdeveloped ideas into imagery. During the brainstorming process, art directors, coworkers, and clients are engaged in imagining what the finished piece or scene might look like. At times, an art director is ultimately responsible for solidifying the vision of the collective imagination while resolving conflicting agendas and inconsistencies between the various individual inputs.
Despite the title, an advertising art director is not necessarily the head of an art department. In modern advertising practice, an art director typically works in tandem with a copywriter. The team usually works together to devise an overall concept (also known as the “creative” or “big idea”) for the ad, commercial, mailer, brochure, or other advertisement. The copywriter is responsible for the textual content, the art director for the visual aspects. But the art director may come up with the headline or other copy, and the copywriter may suggest a visual or the aesthetic approach. Each person usually welcomes suggestions and constructive criticism from the other. Ideally, the words and visual should not parrot each other; each should enhance or enlarge the other’s meaning and effect.
This is not to say that marketing sense is not important. The ability to develop concept to make the product/service that is advertised interesting is one of the qualities that separates an art director from a graphic designer. The two professions overlap in what is known as communication design, with individuals fulfilling both roles at the same time or alternating between roles. Although a good art director is expected to have graphic design judgment and technical knowledge of production, it may not be necessary for an art director to hand-render comprehensive layouts (or even be able to draw), now that virtually all but the most preliminary work is done on computer.
Except in the smallest organizations, the art director/copywriter team is overseen by a creative director, senior media creative, chief creative director. In a large organization, an art director may oversee other art directors and a team of junior designers, image developers and/or production artists, and coordinates with a separate production department. In a smaller organization, the art director may fill all these roles, including oversight of printing and other production.
An art director, in the hierarchical structure of a film art department, works directly below the production designer, in collaboration with the set decorator, and above the set designers. A large part of their duties include the administrative aspects of the art department. They are responsible for assigning tasks to personnel such as The Art Department Coordinator, and the Leadman, keeping track of the art department budget and scheduling (i.e. Prep/Wrap Schedule, as well as overall quality control. They are often also a liaison to other departments; especially the construction, Special FX, Property, Transportation (graphics) department, and Locations Dept. The Art Director also attends all Production Meetings and Tech Scouts in order to provide information to the Set Designers in preparation for all Departments to have a visual floorplan of each location visited. In the past, the art director title was used to denote the head of the art department (hence the Academy Award for Best Art Direction). On the movie Gone with the Wind, David O. Selznick felt that William Cameron Menzies had such a significant role in the look of the film, that the title Art Director was not sufficient, and so he gave Menzies the title of Production Designer. The title has become more common, and now Production Designer is commonly used as the title for the head of the Art Department, although the title actually implies control over every visual aspect of a film, including costumes.
Art directors in publishing typically work with the publications editors. Together, they work on a concept for sections and pages of a publication. Individually, the art director is mostly responsible for the visual look and feel of the publication, and the editor has ultimate responsibility for the publication’s verbal and textual content.