In American Sign Language (ASL), variables of communication such as volume, tone, emotion, and emphasis are represented through the deliberate use of these variables which include: handshape, location of the sign in proximity to the human body, movement, direction, and repetition. ASL imposes strict rules of how and when to use each of these variables. Together, the rules and variables create a language of communication that is of equal value to spoken language. Similarly, these attributes currently exist in graphic design message making. The alternation of one or all variables in design can also result in an entirely new idea. By comparing how these variables are used in both ASL and graphic design, differences in execution will provide a new opportunity to further implement ASL as an influence on a design solution for the deaf and hard of hearing. This thesis shows how essentials of ASL can be studied and translated to use as new influences on graphic design problem-solving. This approach will focus on design problem-solving for deaf and hard of hearing audiences by identifying specific situations in which intended communication is often unclear or misunderstood. Ideally, hearing audiences will also benefit from these new approaches. Final applications were placed in the local airport, in which the space of the environment was represented directly through the graphic design solutions presented.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Graphic arts--Technique; Visual communication; Graphic design (Typography)--Technique; American Sign Language; Gesture in art
Department, Program, or Center
School of Design (CIAS)
Ucci, Allison, "American Sign Language: an influence on graphic design problem-solving" (2008). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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