Effective Visual Communication Ideas 

Semiotics and symbolism are consistently used within advertising and photography to communicate messages through expression. Semiotics refers to the signs and meanings that an image shows enabling the viewer to attach meaning to the image, and evoke a sense of feeling or recognisability. It is what is used by the photographer/advertiser/editor to communicate a message; whether it is obvious or very subtle. Often, messages are created with the intention for a subliminal message. I want my image to make the viewer have to think about what it is communicating, rather than understanding at first glimpse, as I believe for my objective, this will be more effective.

For this assignment, it is essential to create an image that communicates a message visually, through use of composition, colour and the overall image and what is placed in it. I have found two images that effectively convey ideas visually, and that I have found useful in helping me with ideas for my own image.


The above image shows a skeleton being suffocated and grabbed by multiple hands, pulling it back. Although it has not used a ‘live’ face, I could imagine it as being one. I found this image interesting as to me, it illustrates the idea of suffocation and desperation. The ‘face’, although a skull, uses expressions to show it is being pulled back and is in pain, and the hands appear desperate as they violently reach for the skull. Although this would not work for my own image, elements of it are relevant. I wish to use ideas of this suffocation and such to represent the idea of nightmares, related to one’s own self, and planned to use arms/hands to reach out for my subject. As I plan to use one individual as the main focal point for my image, this image is relevant in the way the ‘face’ shows its pain, giving me ideas on how what I may want to do with my subject. This image effectively shows darkness through all its elements, and I love the way multiple hands have been used.


The image above clearly shows that what is being communicated is the idea of dreams and something otherworldly. This image depicts a young child, wearing his pajamas and appears to have just gotten out of bed. The boy is looking out his window, which has turned into a dream-like world, going up to the sky. The clouds and colour of the image illustrates the theme of dreams very effectively, and the overall image is obvious in its message it is visually creating. Additionally, this image has been manipulated to appear surreal, it has split the image almost into two sections, one the boys bedroom, and the other the outside dream world. The relevance of this image is that it definitely to me, conveys the theme of dreams, which is what I am aiming to do, however, this image also is not entirely relevant as my objective is to communicate something darker to reflect nightmares. Still, I like the way it is obvious in what it communicates but at the same time ensures the viewer has to reflect on what is shown and its potential meanings.


The use of colour in an image is a main factor in communicating a message particularly one’s emotional response. Colour can attract the viewer, evoke senses, cause various reactions, and can be a main factor in gaining the attention of a viewer. The brain views colour as responds to it in a particular way, therefore, affecting the viewers interpretation of an image. If an image were trying to communicate something positive, it would be most effective to use brighter colours. The way colour is used can guide the viewers eyes, as well as putting emphasis on the image or parts of the image.


The above image I found on Tumblr and is a great image for showing use of colour. I found this when I was contemplating what kind of theme I was going for, so it isn’t entirely relevant to what I plan to do, however, I love the way it uses colours and the image does illustrate the theme of dreams. The image uses contrasting colours to differentiate the two main images shown; the underwater, and above. The colour goes from brighter to darker, which makes the image that much more powerful. It has been used to draw the viewer’s attention, and it works as a guide. In class, the importance of colour was emphasised, and I know that for my own image I aim to use light to intensify my image and create the dream-like, dark atmosphere.


The above image’s use of colour is most relevant for what I wish to communicate. This image uses variations of greys and blacks, to create an eerie, dark image. Similarly, I wish to use dark variations of colour to give my image that dark, eerie atmosphere. The use of colour largely affects the overall image and the feel it gives, I like the contrast look of the models face/s and the background. She is highlighted, putting the focus on her, and the background appears haunted. The dark colours are most effective to create this haunting kind of atmosphere, and I will need to use them as a main tool to manipulate my image to communicate my intended message.

Hue/saturation could be a good tool to use with a black and white image, as it alters the image. I could use this to create darker and lighter tones, adding to my image’s effect and placing emphasis on my subject.


In class we learnt how essential composition is in order for an image to be effective. The composition of an image puts the image together and helps the viewer to identify the message. By integrating the content effectively, and placing its parts in certain places, all works to help the viewer understand. An important aspect of composition, is ensuring the images size, and what is within the image, is proportional (unless purposely is made to appear unproportional), in order for it to appear realistic. Each aspect of an image is created for a purpose, therefore, it is essential for everything to be placed accurately and look like it definitely does belong. 

This image below is a good example of composition as we are instantly drawn to the ‘monster’ watching the children below. By making this ‘monster’ larger and at the top of the image, we are first drawn to look there. The monster is the largest part of the image, but does not distract the viewer from the other important elements within. This shows it is effective.


Space is important, I aim to ensure that my image does not have additional space that is wasted, yet I also do not want it to appear over-crowded. As my image will be in portrait, it will be easier to ensure that there won’t be empty space. My image will focus mostly on the individual, rather than any surroundings, therefore, I will be using a plain background and will add things in.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s