This week we are tasked with exploring universal design and visual literacy. Universal design is defined as “a usable design of products and environment, accessible to all people” (Lohr, 2008, p. 5). The concept of universal design is broad and covers all design. For the scope of this assignment, I am discussing universal design in relation to visual literacy; or the ability to interpret a message or task based on its visual design elements.
As I reviewed the materials this week, I spent a bit of time thinking about what type of imagery I would use. My intention was to find what I thought was the most obvious imagery that tells a story. My mind always circled back to the bathroom people.
This representative visual tells the user quickly what privacy room to use. While the feminist in me cringes at the dress definition for my gender, I cannot argue the ease people have in reading these signs. The uses of these gender figures is what could be considered a standard, like the international no symbol, to visually represent gender. The example below is the most common use, a restroom sign. I chose this sign to represent the use of these symbols because of the layout used. I feel like the layout itself is another standard followed. Designing using already defined standards and practices makes it easier for the viewer to comprehend the message and therefore increases a persons visual literacy.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: lessons in visual literacy (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.