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Last Updated: Oct 26, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Visual literacy resources Print Page

Andre Kertesz, Chez Mondrian

Andre Kertesz.  "Chez Mondrian."  1926.  Gelatin silver print. Andre Kertesz: A Lifetime of Perception.  NY:  Harry N. Abrams, 1982. 


Featured resource: ARLIS Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

The ARLIS Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education defines seven standards of competency for students at the level of college and above.  It lays out for each standard the performance indicators and learning outcomes that measure and teach the skills that enable a student "to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media" as well as to "understand and analyze the contextual, cultural, ethical, aesthetic, intellectual, and technical components involved in the production and use of visual materials."


Online guides to visual literacy, visual rhetoric, and visual communication

Approaches to Visual Rhetoric at Vis (UT Austin)

Academic website with an extensive selection of information on visual analysis.

Art, Design, and Visual Thinking (Cornell)

An easily navigable, comprehensive online textbook from Cornell University concerned with subjects related to art, design, and visual thinking.

Taxonomy of Visual Communication and a Bibliography

This is a taxonomy and comprehensive bibliography of materials related to the study of visual literacy.

Visual Literacy from Kent State University

Guide to topics covered in the study of Visual Literacy.

Visual Thesaurus (online edition)

This website hosts an interactive dictionary and thesaurus which creates visual word maps with words stemming from related terms.


Scientific Sites on Visual Perception

Brain Connection

Website hosts numerous heavily-illustrated articles on the way the brain and sensory organs function together. Includes interactive exercises that emphasize these relationships.  


Exploratorium: Seeing

The Exploratorium website hosts a number of interactive online exhibits focused on optical illusions and how they relate to the ways we perceive things visually.


Zom Art

Self-described “most comprehensive collection of optical and sensory illusions on the world wide web.”  (See also the archived version).


Color Theory

Color Theory (Iowa State)

Interesting, deliberately paced presentation about the color wheel and other topics related to color theory from Iowa State University.



Teaching media and visual literacy

Assignments at Viz (UTAustin) 

Academic website provides a number of assignments useful to teachers of visual analysis. 

AT&T/UCLA Initiatives for 21st Century Literacies

Contains many lesson plans for teaching skills related to relatively new technologies. Topics covered include technical skills such as web browsing or note-taking techniques as well as more in depth topics concerned with information literacy in the 21st century.

How to Teach Media Literacy

Media literacy website hosts a number of free articles on teaching media literacy.  Lesson plans and curriculum resources require a subscription for access. 

International Center of Photography’s Teacher Resources

Resources for photography teachers include information on visual literacy and the importance of integrating visual literacy into education (this begins on page 30 of 94 in the PDF linked above).

Introduction to Visualization from Hodges’ Health Career Model

Both websites contain articles that stress the importance of integrating visual instructional methods into the teaching process. The focus is on teaching for health careers, but the information can be applied to many different disciplines.

Visual Literacy Exercise

Use this exercise provided by the Library of Congress to quickly and effectively introduce someone to the fundamentals of visual literacy.

Teaching Visual Thinking Strategy

This website, which contains various media and writings on the subject of visual thinking strategies, also includes a useful video.

Visual Rhetoric and Strategies of Persuasion

 Homepage for a course offered in 2003 on the increasing importance of images and their ability to convey certain messages.



Visual Language by Neil Cohn

Blog with accompanying articles and links about the study of Visual Language.


Viz (UTAustin)

Viz is a blog that explores the many ways rhetoric, visual culture, and pedagogy interact with and inform each other. It also contains resources on Visual Rhetoric.


Ways of Seeing

Article that discusses Yale University Library’s podcast called “Ways of Seeing” (which can be found on iTunesU) featuring Yale students and faculty from various disciplines interpreting artwork.


Tutorials, Instructional Guides, Syllabi, etc.

Focus on Visual Literacy (PBS)

A guide for teachers and students interested in finding articles related to the study of visual literacy.

LibGuides for Visual Literacy

LibGuides website provides access to other visual literacy guides similar to the one you are using right now.

LibVisual Studies Writing Guide (Duke)

This guide to writing papers related to visual images contains information about visual rhetoric and visual literacy. It also contains links to guides for writing about paintings, film, photography, and other subjects.


A wiki on the subject of visual literacy.


Web Portals

Visual Literacy Portal

This International Visual Literacy Association resource provides links to many different websites related to visual literacy.

Visual Literacy resources on the Web

This is an annotated listing of links to different resources related to visual literacy on the web originally provided in College and Research Libraries News.


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