File Name: kress and van leeuwen 2006 .zip
- The multiple functionality of news images
- Reading images : the grammar of visual design
- The grammar of visual design
- Gunther Kress Theo Van Leeuwen Reading Images the Grammar of Visual Design 1996 2006
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The multiple functionality of news images
This article presents a brief review of several approaches of grammar, as the basis for a discussion of culturally produced regularities in the uses of colour; that is, the possibility of extending the use of grammar to colour as a communicational resource. Colour is discussed as a semiotic resource a mode, which, like other modes, is multifunctional in its uses in the culturally located making of signs.
These are treated as features of a grammar of colour rather than as features of colour itself. The article demonstrates its theoretical points through the analysis of several examples and links notions of colour schemes and colour harmony into the social and cultural concept of grammar in the more traditional sense.
We know that colour means. Red is for danger, green for hope. In most parts of Europe black is for mourning, though in northern parts of Portugal, and perhaps elsewhere in Europe as well, brides wear black gowns for their wedding day. In China and other parts of East Asia white is the colour of mourning; in most of Europe it is the colour of purity, worn by the bride at her wedding. Contrasts like these shake our confidence in the security of meaning of colour and colour terms. On the one hand the connection of meaning and colour seems obvious, natural nearly; on the other hand it seems idiosyncratic, unpredictable and anarchic.
The difficulties multiply when we look at attempted systematic accounts of the meanings of colour. Psychologists conduct their tests, and get their results; artists make their pronouncements, which differ from those of the psychologists and from each other.
Why is there such a problem with the meaning of colour? And if there is, how can colour be brought into a semiotic theory and description? Part of the problem may lie, not with colour or colour terms, but with our notions of meaning, or, in this case, grammar. We have used the term grammar in earlier work on visual communication Kress and Van Leeuwen, , although there we concentrated on composition and left the issue of colour largely unexplored.
Can we use grammar in relation to colour as well? The term grammar has been given many meanings. In popular usage it tends to mean first and foremost rules of appropriate linguistic practice or behaviour, and it is entirely connected with notions of correctness. That is, its meaning refers us to socially established and maintained convention, and either to adherence or deviation from that.
In professional usage, there is an overlapping set of meanings around the idea of codification; here the term means something like the codification of the linguistic practices of a group of users of a language. In this case we can have grammar books, which become authoritative sources of information on the practices, even though they are simply records of these.
However, here power intervenes inasmuch as these records tend to be of the practices of those who are regarded as belonging to a group whose usage can be accepted as definitive, and may as a result be imposed on other groups as well. There is a further use by professionals which differs somewhat: here grammar describes the regularities of what people do irrespective of their group membership and irrespective of codifications which may exist, within one society, of what might still be regarded as the one language.
The unspoken assumption in all these uses though least so in the last-mentioned is that the grammar applies to everyone, that it is accepted by all members of the group, that there is a convention and that there is a consensus. The grammar of English, in that meaning of the word, applies to all of English, at least as it is spoken in England.
But if it applies to all speakers of English, anywhere in England, then this is so because there are sufficient common interests across this group to want to maintain the agreement about commonalities and shared interest. The mode of communication at issue, let us say speech, is so important that not to have such agreements would entail too high a price for the group and its individual members. The unity of the grammar, meanwhile, remains a mythic notion, as the last-mentioned definition indicates: what people do differs from place to place, from group to group, and even for individuals as they move across places and groups.
Nevertheless, in the case of language, the users are willing to adhere to the myth, because it has essential functions. The question is: which of these definitions serves us best in thinking Visual Communication 1 3. At first sight it would seem that, in the case of colour, there are only small groups, constituted around specific interests, each attempting to develop their understandings about the regularities of meaning that might surround the uses of colour.
In other words, there is no large or sufficiently powerful group which could sustain a shared understanding of the meanings of colour across all of society. Instead there are specialized interests of small groups, at times even just of individuals, all with their very specific professional or personal interests. When two people meet, unless it is as members of such a group, all they could do is to share their difference in understanding growing out of their differential interests.
On the other hand, some discourses of design are taught in art and design colleges across the world, and some practices and products the ranges of colours made available by paint manufacturers, the uses of colour portrayed in fashion and home decoration magazines are now globally distributed.
As we demonstrate in this article, this is not entirely an eitheror matter. The micro and the macro, the local and the global exist at the same time, and interact in complex ways. In either case, however, there are regularities, and they arise from the interests of the sign makers. In this sense colour is a semiotic resource like others: regular, with signs that are motivated in their constitution by the interests of the makers of the signs, and not at all arbitrary or anarchic.
The task is then to understand the differential motivations and interests of signmakers in the different groups, be they small or large, local or global. So far we have stayed quite general in the discussion, making no distinction between the signs of lexis and the signs of syntax or grammar, or the signs of textual organization. The questions we need to ask are the more specific ones: is colour a mode of communication in its own right? Does it have the full affordances of mode?
Is there the possibility of lexis alone, or are there both the affordances of lexical elements and the combinations of them in a grammar to fulfil the tasks of a mode? This question requires a brief digression in order to say what it is that makes mode fully mode-like, and what it is that makes grammar fully grammar-like; or perhaps to say that this may not be the most fruitful approach to the question.
The traditional approach during the 20th century had been to assume that a communicational system either adheres to all criteria that make it such irrespective of what these are or of who might have set them and then to rule whether such a resource the more likely terms have been system or language either fulfilled the criteria or not.
If it did, it would have the status of communicational system conferred; if it did not meet them, it would not. That has been the criterion for ruling on distinctions between human language and animal noises.
Our approach, by contrast, within a broadly social semiotic multimodal framework, is different. Our decision is not to draw a boundary between mode and non-mode on that basis.
If the resource is sufficiently developed for sign-making we will call it a mode; similarly with the question of grammar. Some modes are highly articulated; others less so. In either case we are prepared to speak of the grammars of the resource.
What makes a mode mode-like is its availability as a resource for making signs in a socialcultural group. What makes a grammar grammarlike is that it has characteristics that can be contravened. In other words, a groups sense of the regularities of the resource allows it to recognize when these regularities have not been met.
In older-fashioned terms, we can say that we know that there is a grammar when we can recognize an ungrammatical use of the resource. The task, then, is to discover the regularities of the resource of colour as they exist for specific groups: to understand them well enough to be able to describe what the principles for the use of the resource in signs are; to understand how specific groups interests in colour shape the signs of colour; and to understand what general principles of semiosis and of the specific semiosis of colour emerge from this that might provide a principled understanding of all uses of colour in all socialcultural domains.
According to this theory, language simultaneously fulfils three functions: the ideational function, the function of constructing representations of the world; the interpersonal function, the function of enacting or helping to enact interactions characterized by specific social purposes and specific social relations; and the textual function, the function of marshalling communicative acts into larger wholes, into the communicative events or texts that realize specific social practices, such as conversations, lectures, reports, etc.
The various grammatical systems that are always simultaneously at work in utterances are, according to Halliday, specialized to realize specific metafunctions, that is, to realize either ideational, or interpersonal or textual meanings. An example of a grammatical system which realizes ideational meanings is transitivity, as it creates specific relations between participants, that is, between represented people, places, things and ideas; for instance, by representing one participant as the actor of an action and another as one to whom or which the action is done.
Such representations are always social and cultural constructs. He married her is a transitive clause and also a construction of marriage in which the man is seen as the actor of the action and the woman as the one to whom this action is done. They married is an intransitive clause and also a construction of marriage in which marriage is seen as a joint action.
Such clauses in fact do more than represent what is An example of a grammatical system which helps enact social interaction is mood, which offers a choice between different basic speech acts such as stating, questioning and commanding. Choosing the interrogative mood, for instance, helps enact the social interaction of questioning e. Finally, an example of a grammatical system which realizes textual meanings is the system of reference which has resources articles and pronouns allowing speakers to signal what they have already mentioned and what they are newly introducing, and this helps create flow and cohesion in texts and communicative events e.
There was once a house In Reading Images we were able, we think reasonably plausibly, to apply this model to a number of resources of visual communication composition, the gaze, angle and size of frame, and so on , thereby reconstituting these resources as grammatical systems in Hallidays terms. We did not, however, deal with colour in this way, even though it is, undoubtedly, a very important resource of visual communication.
If we had done so, we now realize, we might have found it difficult to plausibly assign colour to just one and only one of Hallidays three metafunctions. It is true that there is a dominant discourse of colour in which colour is primarily related to affect we will discuss the genealogy of this discourse in more detail later in this article.
It is also true that Halliday and many of his followers e. Poynton, ; Martin, see affect as an aspect of the interpersonal metafunction. Halliday , for instance, says that the interpersonal function includes the speaker expressing his own attitudes and judgements p. But the communicative function of colour is not restricted to affect alone. Arguably, colour itself is metafunctional. Starting with the ideational function, colour clearly can be used to denote specific people, places and things as well as classes of people, places and things, and more general ideas.
The colours of flags, for instance, denote specific nation states, and corporations increasingly use specific colours or colour schemes to denote their unique identities. Car manufacturers, for instance, ensure that the dark blue of a BMW is quite distinct from the dark blue of a VW or a Ford, and they legally protect their colours, so that others will not be able to use them.
Even universities use colour to signal their identities. The Open University, for instance, stipulates: Two colours Single colour stationery should be in blue PMS if possible. Goodman and Graddol, On maps, colours can serve to identify, for instance, water, arable land, deserts and so on, and while there is, in this case, an iconic element in the choice of colours, in other cases there is not.
On uniforms, colour can signal rank. In the safety code designed by US colour consultant Faber Birren Lacy, 75 green identifies first-aid equipment, while red identifies hoses and valves which play a role, of course, in fire protection. In the London Underground green identifies the District Line and red the Central Line, and both on Underground maps and in Underground stations many people look for those colours first, and speak of the green line and the red line.
Ideas have been expressed by colour for a long time, for instance in Medieval colour symbolism, in which black stood for penance, white for innocence and purity, red for the pentecostal fire, and so on. In the early 20th century abstract painters returned to the use of colour for the expression of ideas. For Malevich, for instance, black denoted a worldly view of economy, red the revolution, while white denoted action.
With such building blocks more complex ideas could then be constructed. In work of this kind, as Gage has commented, colour offered an aspect of content as complex and resonant as, say, the iconography of the Madonna in the Italian Quattrocenti p. Many of the colour codes we have just discussed, whether those of the London Underground or of Malevich, have a limited domain of application within which the use of colour is strictly regulated.
But this does not mean that the ideational function of colour can only ever operate within such limited domains. The work of Malevich, Mondrian, Kandinsky and others was in many ways a first attempt to explore the possibility of a broader, more widely applicable language of colour, and hence of a grammar that might be accepted beyond a specific smaller socio-cultural group. As Gage has said, it offered the prospect of universality, but became thoroughly hermetic p.
Reading images : the grammar of visual design
Drawing on an enormous range of examples from childrensdrawings to textbook illustrations, photo-journalism to ne art,as well as three-dimensional forms such as sculpture and toys,the authors examine the ways in which images communicatemeaning. Features of this fully updated second edition include: new material on moving images and on colour a discussion of how images and their uses have changedthrough time websites and web-based images ideas on the future of visual communication. Reading Images focuses on the structures or grammar of visualdesign colour, perspective, framing and composition andprovides the reader with an invaluable tool-kit for readingimages, which makes it a must for anyone interested incommunication, the media and the arts. They have both publishedwidely in the elds of language and communication studies. P r a i s e f o r t h ef i r s t e d i t i o nReading Images is the most important book in visualcommunication since Jacques Bertins semiology ofinformation graphics. It is both thorough and thought-provoking; a remarkable breakthrough. Kevin G.
The grammar of visual design
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In this chapter, I take a functional approach to the analysis of press photographs in and of themselves. For SFL theorists who are working with multimodal texts, this work has proved an invaluable resource, and one that is compatible with the metafunctional approach see below introduced by Halliday e. Briefly here, Kress and van Leeuwen argue that images, like language, fulfil three major functions , p.
Gunther Kress Theo Van Leeuwen Reading Images the Grammar of Visual Design 1996 2006
Santa Maria — RS — Brazil. The aim of this study is to analyze categories of the compositional metafunction KRESS; van LEEUWEN, from the perspective of multimodality in infographics of the advertising sphere, with the purpose of understanding how the selected messages, configured in infographics, are organized. In order to do so, it is necessary to: i characterize the selected infographics based on categories of the compositional metafunction; ii understand how the multimodal and functional aspects relate to each other in these texts; iii investigate how the multimodal aspects act in the production of meaning. The sample consisted of five infographics from the advertising area selected from the Pinterest website. The analysis shows that there is not only a visual focus but also a variable number of multimodal elements that, with their different sizes, colors, and communicative functions, contribute to the creation of various degrees of salience.
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PDF | Authors: Gunther Kress & Theo van Leeuwen Routledge, , ISBN This review critiques Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen's.
This article presents a brief review of several approaches of grammar, as the basis for a discussion of culturally produced regularities in the uses of colour; that is, the possibility of extending the use of grammar to colour as a communicational resource. Colour is discussed as a semiotic resource a mode, which, like other modes, is multifunctional in its uses in the culturally located making of signs. These are treated as features of a grammar of colour rather than as features of colour itself.
Drawing on an enormous range of examples from childrensdrawings to textbook illustrations, photo-journalism to ne art,as well as three-dimensional forms such as sculpture and toys,the authors examine the ways in which images communicatemeaning. Features of this fully updated second edition include: new material on moving images and on colour a discussion of how images and their uses have changedthrough time websites and web-based images ideas on the future of visual communication. Reading Images focuses on the structures or grammar of visualdesign colour, perspective, framing and composition andprovides the reader with an invaluable tool-kit for readingimages, which makes it a must for anyone interested incommunication, the media and the arts. They have both publishedwidely in the elds of language and communication studies.