• Visual resources for the representation of interactions and conceptual relations between the people, places and things depicted in images;
  • The interaction between the producer and the viewer of the image;
  • Visual modality;
  • The realisations of information value, salience and framing in images;
  • Colour as a semiotic mode and the communicative functions of colour;
  • A social-semiotic theory of multimodality
  • Making signs: semiotic modes, meaning potential and materiality
  • Doing multimodal discourse analysis




  1. Articulate ideas in individual presentations in tutorials about the structures of visual design, the interactive relationship between image-producers and viewers and how producers’ messages and attitudes are expressed in their design;
  2. Identify the ways in which images communicate contrasts in meaning and present a synthetic analysis coherently in an academic essay;
  3. Apply the concepts of semiotics and multimodality and evaluate the extent to which these concepts are realised in visual structures and how social and communicative functions can be mediated through linguistic and visual semiotic resources in peer reviews of group project presentations;
  4. Explore, interpret, and critically analyse ideological underpinnings; of visual communication in a wide variety of texts including adverts, magazine layouts, websites, etc., and present these in a group presentation with visuals (e.g. illustrations/diagrams) and a group research paper.




The course has three timetabled hours per week. The first two hours will involve formal lecturing. The third timetabled hour will be used for tutorial presentations and discussions on alternate weeks.




Assessment is by 100% coursework, consisting of:

  • Class participation, discussion and presentation (20%)
  • Short essay (30%)
  • Group project (50%) – research paper (30%); oral presentation (10%); peer review (10%)




A list of required and recommended readings will be provided.



Last updated: 27 September 2019