VIS101 Visual Communication (8)

This subject studies visual signs and how they convey meaning. The relationship between sender and receiver, the combination of word and image, and visual narrative structures are explored through examining conventions and codes in visual culture. The psychology of perception, types and uses of images, and their social function and effects are considered throughout. Using examples of images from art, graphic design, advertising, film, photography and digital technologies, the subject gives context to diverse forms of visual communication through a range of cultural, historical and semiotic explanations.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Port Macquarie Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: VIS101. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Communication and Creative Industries

Enrolment Restrictions

Not available to students who have previously completed COM206.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • Be able to demonstrate familiarity with the ways in which visual images communicate meaning
  • Be able to analyse the structure and content of diverse forms of visual communication
  • Be able to engage in informed debate regarding art, design and media visual representations
  • Be able to demonstrate skills of fundamental critical evaluation of extant literature examining conventions and codes within visual culture


This subject will cover the following topics:

- psychology of perception: visual coherence
- illusion: graphics / art / photography
- visual signs: types and functions /archetypes / photography
- elements of signs: colour/shape/line/perspective/symbol
- colour and signs / perception of colour
- symbol, metaphor and irony
- perspective in visual art
- political and religious signs
- sequential narrative: comic-book art / high and low
- advertising signs and sexual signs: gender imaging
- theatre, film and television
- semiotic theories


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.