Visual Literacy Vs. Visual Communication: What’s the Difference?

Visual literacy and visual communication are two things which are often taken to be as one. Though they are closely related yet they have many differences. But before talking about the differences let us see that what actually is meant by Visual Literacy and Visual Communication as this would help you in understanding the basic difference between the two.

Visual Literacy

Visual literacy is the process of learning by seeing, as well as the idea that individuals learn more quickly and easily if the information in front of them can be processed visually. This information includes drawings, charts and animations.

It can also be defined as the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image. Visual literacy is based on the idea that pictures can be “read” and that meaning can be communicated through a process of reading.

Visual Communication

Visual communication is the process of communicating information and ideas using art. Here you are taught how to use visual devices like web design, graphic design, etc to communicate, inform and persuade. It can also be defined as a language based communication.

Now, coming on to the differences, let us see the various career areas that visualliteracy and visual communication provide us.

Visual literacy helps us and makes our work easy in many ways. Creating presentations, making websites and operating a digital camera all require visual literacy and infact constitutes visual literacy. Students in the field of visual communication majorly learn subjects like art history, information design, illustration, graphic design, typography and web design.

Students of visual literacy normally get employed as K-12 educators, Community and technical college educators, Library and media specialists, Technology coordinators, Trainers in business, healthcare, government and continuing education. Students of visual communication normally get jobs in advertising, corporate communications, e-commerce, electronic media, graphic design, marketing, public relations and publishing.

Careers in visual communication are really popular these days, however, arguments are on that visual communication has been ignored because of the strong emphasis our culture and the academy have placed on language. Popular job titles in 2010 included graphic designer, web designer, creative director and web developer.

Today, there are various schools spread all over the world which provide programmes and degrees in visual literacy and communication. Both of them are the miracles of technology and are closely related. However,  there are some major differences in terms of definition, application and career which are stated above.


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