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Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design Paperback – May 14, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0415319157 ISBN-10: 0415319153 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (May 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415319153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415319157
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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

About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By cyanpepper on January 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be incredibly insightful. While most books about visual design talk almost exclusively about esthetic principals and elements, this book looks at the meaning the viewer derives from visual layout and design. While esthetics is important in design, photography, and art, the meaning being conveyed is also extremely important.

This book is a bit of a heavy read - it is, after all, a textbook - but I knew it would be when I picked it up, having just read Van Leeuwen's "Introducing Social Semiotics: An Introductory Textbook". I see a couple of negative reviews here from students who had this as required reading for classes, but as someone who makes a living form visual communication, I can vouch that this is a very valuable read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Berg on April 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting, engaging entry point into the analysis of visuals as communicative, or rhetorical, devices. Even ten years later, much of Kress and van Leeuwen's book is still relevant and easily extrapolated into the digital media. It provides, as a colleague of mine said, a useful toolbox for any critic.
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By toronto on September 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting "take" on working with media images, based primarily on the concept of the "semiotic landscape" -- now of course cluttered almost beyond belief. The authors attempt -- with some success -- to develop, through applying semiotics from the linguistic realm to the visual, a more detailed grammar of how to read media than is usual. The best part of the book was probably the defence of images as a "language" of their own, with their own subtleties and complexities. The most practically useful concept in the book was the reading of placements in framed space (left, right, top, bottom) in terms of the Given-New; the Ideal-Real. The discussion and examples were powerful and convincing.

It should perhaps be admitted that (as other reviewers have noted) there is a plethora of jargon, but, given that the authors are attempting to create a new working vocabulary, forgiveable. Also, like a lot of other books of this kind, it really did need a lot more illustrations and images. But then the cost of the book would be prohibitive (2006) (now, in 2014, I would assume that there would be a web page) There are some misreferences here and there too: it may be due to inadequate editing between editions one and two (e.g. Figure 8.4 refers to two different images).
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jamylle Reboucas Ouverney-King on January 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Whoever needs a guideline on visual analysis shall look in here. The authors based their visual analysis in Hallidays SfL and they provide the best case studies for you to be able to draw on your analysis of visual images, whether from magazines or tv commercials, my case.
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