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Picture this: how illustrations define dictionaries

Luna, P. ORCID: (2013) Picture this: how illustrations define dictionaries. In: Typography papers 9. Hyphen Press, London. ISBN 9780907259480

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Illustrations are an integral part of many dictionaries, but the selection, placing, and sizing of illustrations is often highly conservative, and can appear to reflect the editorial concerns and technological constraints of previous eras. We might start with the question ‘why not illustrate?’, especially when we consider the ability of an illustration to simplify the definition of technical terms. How do illustrations affect the reader’s view of a dictionary as objective, and how illustrations reinforce the pedagogic aims of the dictionary? By their graphic nature, illustrations stand out from the field of text against which they stand, and they can immediately indicate to the reader the level of seriousness or popularity of the book’s approach, or the age-range that it is intended for. And illustrations are expensive to create and can add to printing costs, so it is not surprising that there is much direct and indirect copying from dictionary to dictionary, and simple re-use. This article surveys developments in illustrating dictionaries, considering the difference between distributing individual illustrations through the text of the dictionary and grouping illustrations into larger synoptic illustrations; the graphic style of illustrations; and the role of illustrations in ‘feature-led’ dictionary marketing.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Typography & Graphic Communication
ID Code:31417
Publisher:Hyphen Press

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