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Cultural adaptation and information design: two contrasting views

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1 Author(s)
Kostelnick, C. ; Dept. of English, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA, USA

Approaches to using visual language in a cultural context can be placed on a continuum, with global (universal) on one end and culture-focused on the other. Each approach reveals contrasting assumptions about three central design issues: perception, aesthetics and pragmatics. The global approach is characterized by attempts to invent an objective, universal visual language or to define such a language through perceptual principles and empirical research. The culture-focused perspective is founded on the principle that visual communication is intimately bound to experience and hence can function only within a given cultural context, to which designers must be sensitive. While the modernist, universal approach has been losing ground to the postmodern, culture-focused approach, the two complement each other in a variety of ways and, depending on the rhetorical situation, offer pragmatic benefits and drawbacks

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Professional Communication, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 4 )