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English Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 1: Introduction

  • Brainstorm/discuss - What do we know about advertising? What do we want to find out? List the questions.
  • In groups students collect a range of advertisements from a variety of sources - magazines, newspapers, brochures, posters, junk mail.
  • Students explore the colours, shapes, lettering, use of space, proportion, composition, symbols and logos in a range of advertisements.

    Colour is more than decoration. Colours, whether described in words or shown in images, often have symbolic significance that contributes to meaning.

     Red might indicate blood or anger, black may invoke evil or grief, blue can convey sadness or depression - or, in other cases, calm. The choice of colours, such as the use of primary colours (red, blue, yellow), and the intensity or brilliance of the selected colour, all affect the impact of the image and therefore its effectiveness in communicating.

    The term shape is being used to describe how the different elements of an image fit together and how shapes in an image combine to achieve a particular effect for a purpose.

    The use of space is how the different elements are placed in the complete image. Examining the use of space extends the concept of layout, exploring not only how the elements are placed in relation to each other but also how and where they are combined and placed on the page or screen. The use of space includes the use of white space, where nothing is printed. White space is critical in helping highlight graphics and illustrations, throwing them into relief and creating visual interest to convey a message, such as "Watch This Space".

     The use of space is a consideration in selecting how headings should be highlighted. UPPER CASE or bold formats tend to use more space, and italics generally use more space than underlining. The use of borders within the page redefines its space according to the purpose, the audience and the desired effects.

    Proportion is also a significant feature in reading or presenting static images. A comic strip frame or poster may contain several different elements, usually combining images and words and in different sizes. They may be represented as bigger or smaller in relation to one another than they might be in real life. The size of the different elements, and the ways these sizes are combined, will lead the viewer or reader to interpret them differently.

     Composition is the process of organising the forms, shapes, colours, and any words into a balanced and rhythmical design. Composition is based on conscious choices made with the purpose, topic and audience in mind. These choices influence our reading or viewing accordingly.

     Students need to take composition, balance, layout, lettering, size, font, spacing, shape, colour, proportion, the use of space, and the technology used into account when making choices in presenting their information and ideas.

    Source: Exploring Language (A Handbook for Teachers, Ministry of Education. 1996).

Published on: 06 May 2009