A Visual Story of SPCM 347: Visual Communication

Media and Visual Culture


By Lindsay McNeish
In spring semester 2017, Dr. Elinor Light taught SPCM 347: Visual Communication, an upper division course that teaches communication studies majors
to become competent visual communicators.  

“Understanding the influence of visual communication is important because we are so visually focused,” says Dr. Light. “Understanding how to decipher that communication and think critically about it is vital.”

In addition to teaching communication studies courses, Dr. Light is also an artist. She has a studio in Old Town Fort Collins and a lifelong passion for art. “I’m really interested in images that fundamentally change the world,” said Dr. Light. “Things that disrupt the status quo like graffiti, or images of free speech.” Her Ph.D., from the University of Utah, focused on visual communication and rhetoric.

“Creativity is one of the things that we don’t talk enough about as one of the things that makes you successful professionally and interpersonally,” said Dr. Light. “Being able to think about things in a different way and being able to creatively recombine elements of culture is really important to living in the contemporary moment.”

The following images were produced by SPCM 347 students. The assignment was to use analogous, split-complementary, or complementary color schemes to create an image that demonstrates the “rhetoric of the sublime” or an image that demonstrates the rhetoric of their favorite experiential landscape.

“There’s a moment when you tell students you have to draw something, they resent you. But then when they actually do it and go through the process of doing it, the amazing things they come up with is fantastic,” said Dr. Light.

Dr. Light was pleasantly surprised with how the project turned out. “The students took the assignment to another level and really put their heart into it. Seeing their perspectives and how they all did it was really cool,” said Dr. Light.