• Visual resources for the representation of interactions and conceptual relations between the people, places and things depicted in images;
  • The interaction between the producer and the viewer of the image;
  • Visual modality;
  • The realisations of information value, salience and framing in images;
  • Colour as a semiotic mode and the communicative functions of colour;
  • A social-semiotic theory of multimodality
  • Making signs: semiotic modes, meaning potential and materiality
  • Doing multimodal discourse analysis




  1. To demonstrate understanding of the structures of visual design and articulate ideas about the interactive relationship between image-producers and viewers and how producers’ messages and attitudes are expressed in their design
  2. To identify the ways in which images communicate meaning
  3. To demonstrate understanding of the concepts of linguistics and evaluate the extent to which these concepts are realised in visual structures
  4. To explore, interpret, and critically analyse expressions of visual communication in a wide variety of texts including adverts, magazine layouts, websites, etc., and appreciate how social and communicative functions can inspire innovation in design




The course has three timetabled hours per week. The first two hours will involve formal lecturing and discussion. The third timetabled hour will be used for tutorials on alternate weeks.




Assessment is by 100% coursework, consisting of:

  • Participation in lectures and tutorials with worked exercises and discussions (20%)
  • Analytical essay (40%)
  • Group project (written report 30% and oral presentation 10%) (40%)




A list of required and recommended readings will be provided.



Last updated: 8 July 2016