03 September 2007

Neil Cohn on visual language

Neil Cohn of Tufts University takes a deep dive into visual language.

Highlight, from the Q&A session after the talk:

"Art is used in very specific cultural contexts... Language? We use language for everything. Language is used in all sorts of different contexts. Why not use visual language in all sorts of different contexts?"

His talk is 45 minutes so check this out when you have time. In the meantime, Neil's website and blog are worth a look.

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1 comment:

Mark said...

I use the concept of the 'orienter' regularly in my own PowerPoint slides (although I've never heard that term before and like it).

I teach computer programming so many of my slides contain snippets of code. In this common case, no orienter is needed because the reader can assume the sample comes from a "source code" file.

However, when I show something from a different type of file (e.g. configuration file or data file) I always add some context.

I usually include a file icon and thumbnail to show the reader the kind of file they are dealing with. Then I use dashed lines to 'explode' out the view of one small part of the file.

One interesting aspect of Mr. Cohn's use of orienters is that he didn't explicitly connect them to the rest of the scene. The left-to-right positioning gave the reader enough info to understand.

Thanks for posting the video!

Mark