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

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

29 September, 2016

While visual literacy and visual communication are linked, there are many differences between the two.

Although, visual communications is a much wider field of study and offers various possibilities for career employment.

Differences between Visual Literacy and Visual Communication

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. Visual literacy can be integrated into teaching methods and is also offered as a course in journalism, communication and visual design degree programs. Topics of study in a visual literacy course might involve charts and information on how people are visually informed and persuaded.

Visual communication, on the other hand, is the process of communicating information and ideas using art. Unlike visual literacy, visual communication is offered as a certificate or at the associate’s or bachelor’s degree level. Students majoring in this field learn how to use visual devices to communicate, inform and persuade. In fact, visual literacy courses could be included in a visual communications program. Topics of study may include public speaking, image editing, illustration, graphic design, typography, print production, and web design.

Career Information

Visual Literacy

Visual literacy is beneficial in many types of workplace tasks. For example, creating presentations, making websites and operating a digital camera all need visual literacy. Occupations in which visual literacy is useful include:

Web designer

Marketing manager

Library and media specialists

Software engineer

Trainers in business, healthcare, government and continuing education

Visual Communication

A certificate or bachelor’s degree program in visual communication prepares students for a variety of creative and artistic careers. Graduates achieve the potential to go on to become advertising designers, graphic designers, working with web development firms, magazines, in the fields of image editing and print production. Industries that hire visual communication graduates include:

Graphic design firms

Advertising agencies

Design studios


Game studios

Marketing departments

Media and publishing corporations