Visual information design is a vital part of modern communication. Currently discussion is occurring in most disciplines to determine more effective ways to incorporate visual information design into all their communication, including website and document design. These discussions typically focus on elements of traditional graphic design that tell the student what is "good" graphic design; however, traditional graphic design depends on trial and error, luck, and best practices, with only rare attempts to construct general principles. Selection of visual elements is usually based on designer preference rather than any consistent conceptual framework or empirical support for design decisions. Another approach to visual information design was introduced by Alan Manning and Nicole Amare, based on the work of C. S. Peirce, who created a number of three-part typologies aimed particularly at modes of communication in relation to purpose. Manning and Amare's approach to visual information design maps specific visual elements to consistent definitions based on both formal characteristics and useful functions, as predicted by analysis in terms of primary Peircean categories. These definitions provide a consistent framework for selecting the appropriate visual elements that have the desired communicative effects. Manning and Amare's work was written for an academic audience. The primary purpose of my Master's project is to adapt their information-design concepts for a more general audience, particularly students. An abbreviated and simplified version was created online and was pilot-tested in two undergraduate Linguistics classes for students who are pursuing an editing minor.



College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language



Date Submitted


Document Type

Selected Project




Peirce, Visual information design, pedagogy



Included in

Linguistics Commons