Visual Language
Global Communication for the 21st Century
by Robert. E. Horn

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The Integration of Words and Visual Elements
Throughout history words and images have occupied separate domains. We have been forced to think of ourselves as either word people or visual people. In this provocative and pathfinding book, Robert Horn shows how that wide gulf is at last being bridged. He makes a compelling case for considering visual language-the tight integration of words and visual elements-a truly new language with the distinct syntax and semantics expected of a language.

Synthesis of Many Vocabularies
Horn argues that this new language growing up around us is a prelude to far-reaching changes in the very manner in which we will communicate in the next century. He notes that the creation of visual language emerges from people around the world inventing components out of necessity to communicate about the ever-increasing complexity of our lives. Visual language is being synthesized from previously separate vocabularies as diverse as computer flow charts, business process diagrams, and cartoons and animation. It has grown and spread organically and globally in ways that artificially created international languages-like Esperanto, which was invented by a single person-have never done. In a significant sense, it is already an international language of technology, science, and business.

History, Research, Linguistics, Practical Guide
This is several books in one: a lively introduction to the basic concepts of visual language; a splendid, concise history of some 70 major innovations that form the core history of the language; a closely reasoned survey of the research on the emerging syntax and semantics of the language; and an immensely practical guide to the applications of visual language.

Written in Visual Language
But this book is not only a pathfinding and provocative treatise, it is the first to use visual language itself to describe and analyze that language. By his use of visual language on every page, Horn demonstrates that it is an immensely flexible and effective communication tool and one that invites and delights us. Readers will not only learn about visual language, but will have the full experience of total immersion. They will experience what Horn calls a new multi-modal process of reading, simultaneously demanding and rewarding.

To Manage Complexity
Horn shows how visual language is the best tool we have for managing the world's ever-increasing complexity and the augmented speed at which our civilization moves. He doesn't merely make these claims, but lays out clearly how this new language can be useful in visualizing complex issues, exploring deeper connections and feelings, facilitating creative problem solving, making group process visible, presenting multiple points of view, and facilitating cross-cultural and international communication


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