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Attributes of visual symbols

symbols are images that are used to represent something else. Symbols are used by every business and institution to convey particular messages. Road signs, business, even people use symbols to express a more complicated meaning visually. Often these symbols have no real meaning, but have meanings attributed to them, an example a red, octagonal stop sign. symbols derive there meaning from several elements like color, form, dots, lines, shapes, lighting, spatiality, and movement.
Common colors and meaning
Common colors and meaning

  • colors are loaded with information and has three dimensions that comprise it: Hue, the color itself; saturation, or relative purity of the color; and brightness, the range of a color from light to dark. these three dimensions make it possible to create millions of colors, each with particular meaning. Color is important to persuasion because from cultures view colors as having certain qualities.
  • Form is a quality of images that attract attention and includes dots, lines, and shapes
    • Dots are the fundamentals element of an image. A dot consists of a filled in circle.
    • Lines are series of dots placed tightly together with no space between them. Straight lines indicate stiffness, horizontal lines indicate space, vertical lines create division, diagonal lines stimulate viewers, and curved lines demonstrate playfulness. the thickness of a line can also effect an images message.
    • Shapes are made when a series of lines come together. common shapes include triangles, squares, parallelograms and circles. shapes contain unique messages, the triangle for instance indicates action, tension or conflict, and is used in mathematics to denote subtraction (or difference).
  • Lighting is used to reveal shape, texture, and other elements of an image. lighting is crucial because humans cannot see without it. lighting it important for more than just being able to see an image, lighting can be used as an aesthetic device. Flat lighting attempts to remove all shadow from an image and create a rational and knowledgeable image. Chiaroscuro lighting is used to create strong shadow to instill emotion and suspense
  • Spatiality refers to the use of space in an image. White space is commonly used to direct attention to the text or image on a page.
  • Movement refers to the appearance of motion audience percieve about an image. There are three kinds of movement: Apparent movement, which is used in film; Graphic movement, which is how a readers eyes move through a page; and implied movement, or an illusion of movement in a still image



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