Based on the idea that visual images are a language, visual literacy can be defined as the ability to understand and produce visual messages. This skill is becoming increasingly important with the ever-expanding proliferation of mass media in society. As more and more information and entertainment is acquired through non-print media (such as television, movies and the internet), the ability to think critically and visually about the images presented becomes a crucial skill.
Visual literacy is something learned, just as reading and writing are learned. Although not taught in schools (yet), it is nevertheless very important to have the ability to process visual images efficiently and understand the impac they have on viewers. This section will lay out a basic understanding of visual literacy. It is intended as a primer and is not all-encompassing or very in-depth.
Some History of Visual Literacy by Jack Debes
A very conprehensive site. Covers the evolution of visual concepts, from prehistory to modern media. It goes into great depth about the effects of visual cues on people and the role that visuals play in our lives.
Visual Literacy has been broken down into three main sections:
Data Visualization - the graphic/image as a tool of communication
Typography - fonts as communication
Color - the effects of hue, value and saturation on graphics