Objects and Spaces: The Visual Language of Graphics

  • Yuri Engelhardt
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4045)


There is undoubtedly something like a ‘grammar of graphics’. Various syntactic principles can be identified in graphics of different types, and the nature of visual representation allows for visual nesting and recursion. We propose a limited set of possible ‘building blocks’ for constructing graphic spaces, and a limited set of possible syntactic functions of graphic objects. Based on these ingredients, and the rules for their combination, the syntactic structure of any visual representation can be drawn as a hierarchically nested tree. We claim that the presented visual syntax applies to all types of visual representations.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Card, S.K., Mackinlay, J.D., Shneiderman, B.: Readings in information visualization: Using vision to think. Morgan Kaufman Publishers, San Francisco (1999)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Engelhardt, Y., de Bruin, J., Janssen, T., Scha, R.: The visual grammar of information graphics. In: Narayanan, N.H., Damski, J. (eds.) Proceedings of the AID 1996 workshop on Visual Representation, Reasoning and Interaction in Design, Stanford University (1996)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Engelhardt, Y.: The language of graphics: A framework for the analysis of syntax and meaning in maps, charts and diagrams. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Institute for Logic, Language and Computation, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2002)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuri Engelhardt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Media StudiesUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations