Visual Language

Created by: amoore     Modified by:

Show History

Subjects: Arts, Visual Arts, Design

For students of 8th to graduate grade.



Year Level / Age Range – Yr 8-10
No. of Students – not limited
Location – Art Rooms or classroom
Estimated Duration of Activity 100mins/1hr 40 mins


•	Introduction to the concept and application of ‘Visual Language’ – (language in a visual form)
•	Contextualisation of language as a form of transmitting culture and as being intertwined with culture
•	Use of symbol systems to represent meaning
•	Scaffolding – this lesson plan forms part of a broader unit of work addressing ‘Culture and Representation’

•	Define ‘Visual Language’
•	Thinking about and application of visual language to communicate deliberately and effectively
•	Introduction to recognising when visual language is being used
•	Introduction to symbols/signs and representative symbol systems
•	Begin scaffolding language and representation within a cultural context
•	Begin to reflect on and represent one’s own cultural identity


Prepare art materials – spare paper, pencils, markers – black and coloured
Get projector ready
Prepare PowerPoint
Computer and internet available for looking up specific pictograms


Art materials – paper, pencils and black markers, fine and thick
Projector and screen
Computer and internet for looking up specific pictograms


Content Descriptions


Cross Curriculum Priorities


General Capabilities

Critical and Creative Thinking
Ethical Behaviour
Personal and Social
Intercultural Understanding


Introduce format
Double lesson – quick talk pretesting knowledge of topic
	- introduction – PowerPoint and discussion
	- visual language activity
	- ‘readings’ last 15 mins 
	- conclusion and reflection

Introduction and supporting PowerPoint (Context)
Visual Language – What is language? What is the purpose and context of language?
	- Do we use language only in English class at school?
	- Language is a ‘system of communication’
	- for example a conversation, a book – elaborate(?)
	- What happens in a conversation?
	- there is an exchange of meaning - where something is communicated and something is read or understood by another
	- So, if we put the word visual in front of language to say ‘Visual Language’, what might we be talking about?
	- Conversations and books use words….what might the visual language use?
	- Have a think about where pictures and images are used to communicate……….examples? refer to PowerPoint(texting emoticons, aboriginal symbol systems, graphic novels, cave art, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, Chinese characters, logos, signs like exit signs……)
	- discuss different cultures and their different uses of visual language and symbol systems – ie western left to right vs eastern right to left, western linear vs aboriginal map view
	- what would some advantages/disadvantages of a visual language be compared to a verbal or written language
	- pictogram, unpack western context and elements of the style

Artwork/activity (Making)
- Produce an artwork in your art sketch books using Pictograms (no words or numbers!) to communicate a story about you
- Process – brainstorm/list some ideas
	- sketch in the images using the printouts if you need ideas and can use computer if you need help with a specific pictogram
	- use markers to block in line and blocks of tone, use colour only if it enhances the communication(for example a heart) not just for decoration,
	- REMEMBER this is not about how accurate your drawings are – this is about communicating a message – think to yourself ‘Will someone else be able to understand what I am communicating?’
	- With 20-30 mins left we will stop at whatever stage your at, we will form a group and read each others images one at a time 

Readings (Responding)
	- class – each student to pick another student to ‘read’ their image one at a time around the group	

Conclusion and reflection (Responding)
	- Reiterate vocab – visual language, symbol, culture, meaning, reading, communication, context, identities, representation, story-telling, narrative
	- What have they learnt? What is the context of this learning? Evaluation?