Composition gives rhythm

These authors present a new view on how images are perceived as important. According to Kress and van Leeuwen, images derive meaning based on composition. The images create a rhythm with their elements. They also stressed that there are different ways these elements can be arranged to emphasize importance.


One way images can be made to be more important is by their placement. Kress and van Leeuwen talk about two different sections in an image – the given and the new. The given is on the left and provides information that the viewer will generally know and accept. It is usually comprised of written text and facts. The right is generally the unknown that generally uses images. While looking at advertisements to use in this post, I noticed that many of these images don’t take on this role. In a lot of ads, the images are on the left with the written information is on the right. I took this as a sign that it is culturally said to read from left to right, which is probably why the eye-catching material is on the left while the written stuff is to the right.

Another element Kress and van Leeuwen discuss is the placement and positioning of imaging to give them importance. The most important parts of an image or ad are generally large in the foreground. Many popular ads for popular brands will put the item in the front and center. Their logo and/or symbol will be on the image as well, but the viewer will generally be drawn to the face that is representing the product.


In this ad, Emma Stone is gorgeous. Her face takes up the whole ad that would take up a full page in a magazine. The viewer registers that Stone is gorgeous and immediately want to know her secret. Luckily, the marketing company puts the product that she uses in the photo as well.

There are also significant ads that will put much more emphasis on an image than on the actual description of the product. They know viewers are most likely going to simply glance at the picture then decide whether or not the product is important for them to buy.



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