Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Using Images and Visual Media: Home

Visual Literacy Wordle

Wordle: Visual Literacy 1

What is Visual Literacy?

According to the ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education:

Visual literacy is a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively:

  • find,
  • interpret,
  • evaluate,
  • use, and
  • create images and visual media.

Visual literacy skills equip a learner to understand and analyze the:

  • contextual,
  • cultural,
  • ethical,
  • aesthetic,
  • intellectual, and
  • technical components involved in the production and use of visual materials.


So you need an image...


Images and visual interpretations of information and data (charts, infographics) are great ways to engage your audience or reader and convey your message. Before you choose, edit, or create an image, think about what your visual need. What is the purpose of the image? What is the audience and environment? Will you use this image...

in a presentation?    

Summit High School Presentation by Tom Sulcer (CC-BY 3.0)

in a paper?  

FileStack retouched by Niklas Bildhauer (CC BY-SA 2.0

to be shared online? 

Internet1 by Rock1997 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

This will matter when you are evaluting image sources, technical components, copyright status, and design of the image.

Subject Guide