COMM 300: Visual Communications

Dr. Paul Martin Lester, Professor
CP650-19; 657.278.4604
California State University, Fullerton
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textbook | grading | outline

Visual Communications: Image is Everything?

This course attempts to explore several questions. Since the widespread use of Gutenberg's printing press, there has always been the cultural assumption that information is best communicated through written formats. But since the invention of the computer and desktop publishing, the role of visual messages in the communication process is expanding.

Much of the information in the course and textbook will be new to you. Such a predicament is not your fault because you have been raised to mainly consider words as the most important form of human communication. This course is an attempt, as many others have tried, to even up the score between words and images. It is important to understand, however, that an emphasis on visual messages for this course does NOT mean that words are considered less important than images. The most powerful, meaningful and culturally important messages are those that combine words and pictures in equally respectful ways.

Visual Communications is an exploration into the idea that memorable visual messages with text have the greatest power to inform, educate and persuade an individual. This course is an attempt to discover why some images are remembered while most are not.

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visual communication
Visual Communication Images with Messages, Third Edition
By Paul Martin Lester

Additional information can be found at: |

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Test 1: 25 percent
Test 2: 30 percent
Final Exam: 35 percent
Attendance: 10 percent

Attendance will be taken twice each day. Each absence will count five points off your attendance grade unless you let me know before class that you will be absent. You will only be allowed three pre-approved excuses. There are no excuses given for the last class.

You can receive five points added to your attendance grade for each typed two-page response to the exercises at the end of each chapter. You may turn in up to 15 of these papers at any time in the semester up until the last class. In addition, you can write a 10-page paper for up to 25 points.

Because the acoustics are quite good in this auditorium I will not tolerate unnecessary chatter. As specified by University policy, I have the right to ask you to leave the class, if talking is a problem. You will also be asked to leave the class if your beeper or cell phone rings or if you fall asleep.

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Course Outline:

To Sense. To Select. To Perceive.
Readings: Preface and Chapter 1

Reading: Chapter 2

Eye, Retina, and the Brain
Reading: Chapter 3

Visual Cues: Color, Form, Depth, and Movement
Reading: Chapter 4

Visual Theories
Reading: Chapter 5

Visual Persuasion
Reading: Chapter 6

Pictorial Stereotyping
Reading: Chapter 7

Six perspectives for Image Analysis
Reading: Introduction to Section Four

Reading: Chapter 8

Graphic Design
Reading: Chapter 9

Informational Graphics
Reading: Chapter 10

Reading: Chapter 11

Reading: Chapter 12

Motion Pictures
Reading: Chapter 13

Television and Video
Reading: Chapter 14

Reading: Chapter 15

World Wide Web
Reading: Chapter 16

The More You Know; The More You See
Reading: Chapter 17

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