Words, images and shapes, tightly integrated into communication units.
Visual language is the tight integration of words, images, and shapes to produce a unified communication. It is a tool for creative problem solving, problem analysis, and a way of conveying ideas and communicating about the complexities of our technology and social institutions.
Visual language can be displayed on different media and different size communication units. Visual language is being created by the merger of vocabularies from many different fields as shown in the diagram above, from Robert Horn.
As the world increases in complexity, as the speed at which we need to solve business and social problems increases, as it becomes increasingly critical to have the “big picture” as well as multiple levels of detail immediately accessible, visual language will become more and more prevalent in our lives.
What’s coming next are semantic, knowledge-enabled tools for visual language. Computers will cease being mere electronic pencils, and be used to author, manage, and generate shared executable knowledge by means of patterns expressed through visual language.