This third edition of the landmark textbook Reading Images builds on its reputation as the first systematic and comprehensive account of the grammar of visual design. Drawing on an enormous range of examples from children's drawings to textbook illustrations, photo-journalism to fine art, as well as three-dimensional forms such as sculpture and toys, the authors examine the ways in which images communicate meaning.

Features of this fully updated third edition include:

  • new material on diagrams and data visualization
  • a new approach to the theory of 'modality'
  • a discussion of how images and their uses have changed since the first edition
  • examples from a wide range of digital media including websites, social media, I-phone interfaces and computer games
  • ideas on the future of visual communication.

Reading Images presents a detailed outline of the 'grammar' of visual design and provides the reader with an invaluable 'tool-kit' for reading images in their contemporary multimodal settings. A must for students and scholars of communication, linguistics, design studies, media studies and the arts.

chapter |18 pages


The grammar of visual design

chapter 1|25 pages

The semiotic landscape

Language and visual communication

chapter 2|32 pages

Narrative representations

Designing signs of social action

chapter 3|37 pages

Conceptual representations

Designing social constructs

chapter 4|36 pages

Representation and interaction

Designing the position of the viewer

chapter 5|30 pages

Modality and validity

Designing models of reality

chapter 6|45 pages

The meaning of composition

chapter 7|28 pages

Materiality and meaning

chapter 8|26 pages

The third dimension