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Journal of Visual Literacy

Print ISSN: 1051-144X / Online ISSN: 2379-6529

Published* twice annually: Spring & Autumn
The Journal of Visual Literacy (JVL) is a refereed, scholarly journal. It invites manuscripts that explore empirical, theoretical, practical, or applied aspects of visual literacy and communication. The journal reflects the eclectic nature of the membership of the International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA). The JVL provides an open forum in which researchers and practitioners can explore the evolving field of visual literacy. Manuscripts pertaining to the effective use of visuals in communication, education, business, the arts, law, commerce, medicine, design, and a wide variety of fields are encouraged. JVL is published twice annually, Spring and Autumn. JVL encourages interdisciplinary authorship and assures authors of copyright protection for all contributions in both print and electronic forms. For information about submitting manuscripts, institutional or library subscriptions, individual issues, publication and distribution of JVL, contact the Editor. Use the following links to see a list of the current JVL Policy Board Members or download a copy of the JVL By-laws. For the time period of June 15, 2009 to June 15, 2011 the acceptance rate for the JVL was 40%.
Subscription Information 2013
Institutional subscriptions = $75 (+ $15 shipping if mailing is international)
Individual non-member subscriptions = $55 (+ $15 shipping if mailing is international)
Student non-member subscriptions = N/A ($30 membership rate includes the Journal of Visual Literacy and membership for one year).Single issues (institution) = $40 (+ $8 shipping if mailing is international)
Single issues (individual) = $30 (+ $8 shipping if mailing is international)

Editor Contact Information:



Maria D. Avgerinou, Ph.D.
Research Professor
Hellenic Open University
Athens, Greece

Patricia Search
Department of Communication and Media
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, New York 12180

Editorial Policy Board

Maria D. Avgerinou, Ph.D.
Research Professor
Hellenic Open University
Athens, Greece

Luc Pauwels, Ph.D
University of Antwerpen
Antwerpen, Belgium

Rune Pettersson, Ph.D
Professor Emeritus
Tullinge, Sweden

Rhonda S. Robinson, Ph.D
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL, USA

Patricia Search, Ph.D
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY, USA

Carla Spinillo, Ph.D.
Federal University of Parana
Curitiba, Brazil


*Please note all information provided here; prices, dates, publication frequency, and editors are subject to change without notice.

IVLA Awards History

2009 Francis Dwyer
2008 Roberts Braden
1999 Rune Pettersson
1996 LaVeme Miller
1994 Alice D. Walker
1993 Dennis Pett and James Sucy
1989 Joel Benedict
1988 W. Howard Levie
1984 Lida M. Cochran
1978 Sister Bede Sullivan, O.S.B.
1977 John L. Debes III

2010 Steven Seidman
2009 Maria D. Avgerinou
1997 Barbara Seels, Roberts Braden
1996 Nikos Metalinos
1995 Hilary McLellan and Sandra Moriarty
1994 Rune Pettersson
1991 Francis Dwyer

2010 Maria D. Avgerinou & Rune Pettersson – Toward a Cohesive Theory of Visual Literacy
Peggy Pruisner – The Consideration of Graphic Text Cues in the Selection of Reading Strategies
2009 Erin Jurand – Igniting Images: Visualization In The Writing Process
Luc Pauwels – Visual Literacy, Visual Culture And Visual Scholarship: Adjusting A Distorted Pictures
2008 Marilyn Terzic – Modern Views and Front Page News: Newspaper Design as A Form of Visual Communication
2007 Ian Brown & Lori Locklyer – Don’t Mention the “T” Word: Value and Validity in Testing Visual Literacy
2005 Emma Jefferies – Devising a Method for Improving Design Education of Digital Visual Skills
2004 M. Barrett Cleveland – Seeing The Light
2003 Petronio Bendito – for his paper Teaching Interactive multimedia design from a visual communication standpoint: curriculum and assessment strategies.
2002 Janet Giesen and Rhonda Robinson – for their paper Expanding Our Influence: Examining Visual Literacy in Related Disciplines.
2001 Rune Petersson – for his keynote address Visual literacy and information design, at the 2001 IVLA Conference in Eskiltuna, Sweden.
2000 Jennifer Brill, Dohun Kim, & Rob Branch – for their paper Visual Literacy Defined: The results of a delphi study. Can IVLA (operationally) Define Visual Literacy?
2000 Maria Avgerinou – for her paper Towards a Visual Literacy Index
1999 Rachel Shalita – for her paper A new method of a visual text analysis: Configuration – Context – Conflict.

2007 Petronio Bendito
2005 Patricia Search
1997 Deborah Curtiss
1995 Mary Steiglitz Witt
1994 Roger Wyatt

2008 David Considine
2006 Rhonda Robinson
2005 Landra Rezabek
1994 Dennis Dake

(Formerly Outstanding Service Award, 2001 and prior)
2010 Rune Pettersson, Patricia Search
2009 Rhonda S. Robinson
2008 Sharon Smaldino
2007 Maria D. Avgerinou
2006 Robert Griffin
2005 Ladi Semali, Karen Stewart
2002 Anna P. Sucy
2000 Barbara Fredette
1997 Margaret Smith, Harry Davis
1996 Richard Couch, Pris Harden, Roberts Braden, Darrell Beauchamp, Judy Bacca, Ron Sutton, Ann Marie Barry
1995 LaVeme Miller, Ann DeVaney
1994 Francis M. Dwyer, David (Mike) Moore, Darrell Beauchamp, Nikos Metalinos

2006 Dr. Jason Ohler
1996 Melba Rae Vic

2011 Xenia Danos
2009 Emma Jefferies
2001 Maria Avgerinou


What is “Visual Literacy?”

The term “Visual Literacy” was first coined in 1969 by John Debes, one of the most important figures in the history of IVLA. Debes’ offered (1969b, 27) the following definition of the term:

“Visual Literacy refers to a group of vision-competencies a human being can develop by seeing and at the same time having and integrating other sensory experiences. The development of these competencies is fundamental to normal human learning. When developed, they enable a visually literate person to discriminate and interpret the visible actions, objects, symbols, natural or man-made, that he encounters in his environment. Through the creative use of these competencies, he is able to communicate with others. Through the appreciative use of these competencies, he is able to comprehend and enjoy the masterworks of visual communication.”

However, there are many more definitions of the term. In fact, each visual literacist has produced his/her own! Understandably, the coexistence of so many disciplines that lie at the foundation of the concept of Visual Literacy, thus causing and at the same time emphasizing the eclectic nature of it, is the major obstacle towards a unanimously agreed definition of the term.


IVLA History


The organization that we now know as the International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA) can be traced back to a meeting in Rochester, New York in the fall of 1968 when a group of people interested in various aspects of visuals in education and communication met to plan a conference on visual literacy. This group, which was co-chaired by Jack Debes of Kodak and Clarence Williams of the University of Rochester, included Sam Ross, Colin Turbayne, Paul Wendt and Richard Nibeck.In March of 1969 about 350 people from many disciplines gathered in Rochester to present papers and discuss their theories and applications of visuals. Prior to the initial conference, there was stated intention to have future conferences or an organization devoted to visual literacy. But, the participants were caught up in the excitement of what they had experienced there and wanted more.

To give you a sense of that early conference, the following ‘One Person’s Perspective’ by Dennis Pett (1988) of Indiana University is available in this site [click here for full text ]. Dennis edited the IVLA Newsletter for 18 years with the assistance of his co-editor, his wife, Jean.Since Dennis wrote the preceding article for the last IVLA Newsletter that he and Jean edited and produced, the organization has continued to publish the newsletter several times during each year. IVLA also continues to have an annual conference and publishes a book of “Selected Readings” after each conference. In the past and in addition to the conferences held in the United States, research symposia have been held on a triennial basis in a various countries such as Sweden, Greece, England, and the Netherlands. Papers from these symposia are also published. Since 2001, it has been established that a triennial, primarily research-oriented conference will be held outside the US. Finally, another publication of IVLA is the “Journal of Visual Literacy” (JVL), a juried collection of research papers which is published semi-annually.The Visual Literacy Collection was established at the Hayden Library of the Arizona State University in 1989 and contains the collections of Jack Debes, Joel Benedict, and much material from IVLA members. It was dedicated ‘The Benedict Visual Literacy Collection’ in 1994 to honor the generous financial grant from the Benedicts.


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