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The use of informative and decorative pictures in health and safety posters for children

Copetti Klohn, S. (2019) The use of informative and decorative pictures in health and safety posters for children. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00084830


This thesis investigates printed health and safety (H&S) information for children, focusing on pictures typically presented in posters and their relationship to the poster message. It examines the impact of different approaches to pictures on children aged 7 to 11. A sample of H&S information for children was analysed with a framework developed in this research. The analysis revealed that pictures tend to play either a decorative or an informative role, respectively independent of or supporting the message given in a poster’s text. The impact of the different types of picture was further investigated in two studies that aimed to identify children’s responses to them across two age groups: 7–8 year olds and 10–11 year olds. These age groups were chosen because the materials in the sample were targeted at 6–12 year olds, despite children’s developmental and cognitive differences across these years. Five posters were designed and tested. The verbal information was held constant in the posters but the pictorial information varied: two variants had informative pictures, two had decorative pictures, and one had no picture. The results suggested that children’s responses to the different kinds of picture differed according to their age. In the first study younger children benefitted more from the decorative picture than older children, who benefitted more from the informative picture. In the second study this polarisation was less evident. Overall, three concluding remarks were drawn from the studies: (1) Posters with informative picture communicate slightly better for older than younger children; (2) an emotional response to pictures benefits younger children more than older children; and finally, (3) tthe detail of picture–message relationship should be considered when designing posters for children. This thesis suggests that conducting research with lower and higher age segments might be beneficial for designing appropriate H&S information for children. A classification of pictures for artefacts such as posters for children is proposed. Finally, the limitations and contributions of the thesis are discussed, and suggestions are made for further research in this area to expand our understanding of how to maximise the impact of H&S posters for children.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Black, A. and Kindel, E.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Arts and Communication Design
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Typography & Graphic Communication
ID Code:84830
Date on Title Page:2018


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