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Visual Literacy

History of Visual Literacy

The term “visual literacy” is credited to John Debes, co-founder of the International Visual Literacy Association.[2] In 1969 Debes offered a tentative definition of the concept: “Visual literacy refers to a group of vision-competencies a human being can develop by seeing and at the same time having and integrating other sensory experiences.”[3] A white paper drawn up in January 2004, defines visual literacy as "understanding how people perceive objects, interpret what they see, and what they learn from them."[4] However, because multiple disciplines such as visual literacy in education, art history and criticism, rhetoric, semiotics, philosophy, information design, and graphic design make use of the term visual literacy, arriving at a common definition of visual literacy has been contested since its first appearance in professional publications.

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