The View From 32


SEPTEMBER 5, 2007  

It's Visual Communication, not Drawing!

Stick figure and other shapes drawn on chalkboardOne thing I hasten to reassure my Intro to Visual Communication students is that drawing ability is not a prerequisite.

I explain that if you can draw a human as well as the one I did at left you'll be fine.

I say this early because 1) it's true, and 2) most people have come to believe over the years that they "can't draw," so they don't try.

Here I've illustrated an implanted pump that a student needed to keep him alive. The center drawing, a hump over a box, is how the product literature showed it. There was no reference to where on the body the pump was implanted.

My stick figure, crude as it is, represents a huge improvement in the effectiveness of the communication. In this case the instruction sheet for replacing a failed pump was literally a matter of life and death, and I consider the context-less drawing nearly criminally negligent.

In case you're wondering, the pointy white shape is a #11 blade for an Xacto knife. So you see, this visual communication thing isn't that hard after all!

Over the years I've put a lot of the examples I've found (I wish I'd have scanned the pump instruction sheet) on a class-related website:

The site is in desperate need of visual redesign, but I think the information and especially the links to other resources, are valuable. If you're interested in Visual Communication take a look. If you're in the Cleveland area and you want 16 weeks worth of this stuff, sign up for VCD1110 at Cuyahoga Community College (course description here).


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