I wrote this book to help people create effective visuals--visuals that are clear, that communicate well, and that help people learn and/or perform their jobs better. As both an instructional design teacher and a practitioner in the field, I have encountered numerous examples of "bad" visual design. I have also talked with many professionals in a number of arenas (teachers, computer programmers, graphic artists, instructional designers).These people have extensive knowledge of their discipline, but they either lack knowledge or skill in visual design or think these principles are too complicated and time consuming to integrate into their dally practices. These professionals have voiced concerns like these: "When it comes to design, I just start grabbing any book I can, but I don't really know what I'm looking for." "There is an abundance of advice out there; it's hard to know which advice to pay attention to or where to begin." "I know something such as contrast is a good thing, and I'm supposed to teach contrast, but I don't even know what good contrast is. Is there enough ... too little?" "There seems to be this giant invisible step between analysis and creating something visual." These comments aren't too surprising when one considers that most people receive years of training in verbal communication but receive almost no assistance in the art and science of communicating visually Technology makes creating visuals easier than ever, yet mastering a tool is not the same thing as using that tool wisely. Teachers, students, and practitioners everywhere need a resource that clearly and quickly explains why limiting the number of fonts is important, why using all capital letters in copy is not desirable, why it is important to go easy on the "bells and whistles," and how to make charts and graphs understandable. This book helps people create instructional visuals without overwhelming them with seemingly endless rules and principles. Rather than giving a plethora of design advice, this text focuses on just three cognitively based principles of design (figure/ground, hierarchy, and gestalt) and a process for creating visuals based upon these principles. Underlying these three principles is information processing theory and the idea that effective visuals should support the cognitive processes of learners. COVERAGE In this book, a tools, actions, and perceptions framework is used.Toolsare the basic elements of design and include type, shape, color, depth, and space. The tools chapters cover research on typography; descriptions of different typefaces; the difference between a type family and a font; how to use different shapes to unify, separate, and chunk information; how to use color effectively; how to put research on color to work; and how to use texture; depth, and space to focus attention. Actionsare the manipulations made to type, shape, color, depth, and space. By manipulating contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity, designers learn to make an image more aesthetically pleasing and more instructionally efficient as well. Learnerperceptionsare what the visual designer wants to influence by using tools and actions. The three chapters that cover perceptions are the heart and soul of this book. In the figure/round, hierarchy, and gestalt chapters (chapters 8, 9, and 10) the reader learns how to work with tools and actions to manipulate how the learner will "see" or perceive instructional information. These chapters integrate the information about tools and actions and cover, among other things, research-based rules for tables and charts, strategies for working with symmetrical and asymmetrical balance, and principles for instructional interface design. In the last section of the text, ananalyze, create, and evaluate (ACE)process, presented in the context of traditional and nontraditional instructionalLohr, Linda is the author of 'Creating Graphics for Learning and Performance Lessons in Visual Literacy', published 2002 under ISBN 9780130907127 and ISBN 013090712X.