Visual analysis – Poster


© Ransome Chua

Where do you start when called upon to visually analyze a poster? Are there any guidelines to consider? How do you impress upon the audience that you really know what you’re talking about?

Knowing how to speak the design language is important – it is important that you, the designer or design student fully comprehend the principles of design, etc, etc.

But that’s just part of the battle. The point here is, you have to decipher this language to the man-in-the-street who’s not design-tuned, this could be your prospective client or even your mother. Explain the ‘mumbo-jumbo jargon’ in simple terms that they can understand and appreciate. Your client will be impressed and mum will be sooo proud of you.

Dr. Rachel Serianz has developed a system for visual analysis. Check it out:

Poster/Visual Analysis

Study the poster or other visual carefully for two minutes. Form a general impression, and then look at specific individual items. Next, mentally divide the visual into quadrants (four equal sections) and study each section to see what details you might have missed. Then answer the following questions:

1. What are the main colors used in the visual?

2. What symbols (if any) are used in the visual?

3. If a symbol is used, is it

􀂙 Clear and easy to understand?

􀂙 Attention-grabbing and memorable?

4. Are words used in the visual? If so what words?

5. Is the message in the visual mostly found in words, pictures, or both?

6. Who probably created the visual?

7. Who do you think was meant to see this visual? Who was the intended audience?

8. Was there something the creator was hoping people would do after seeing the visual? If so, what was it?

9. The most effective visuals use symbols, words, or pictures that are unusual, memorable, simple, and direct. Is this an effective visual? Why or why not?

10. Is there anything you would change that you think would make the visual even more effective? If so what?


About ranman

Design educator with a Masters of Design degree. 32 years of design experience. View all posts by ranman

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