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Taking Another Look at Meaning Structures Along the Horizontal and Vertical Axes in Multimodal Compositions

Mon, June 13, 14:00 to 15:15, Fukuoka Hilton, Board Room


This paper takes another look at how meaning is structured in multimodal texts that are composed along the horizontal and vertical axes. The paper extends research by Kress and van Leeuwen (1996) to look at a wider variety of texts including online and printed magazine and newspaper layouts, textbooks, and information and time-related graphics. The paper argues that while horizontal arrangements are dominated by the forces of reading and writing, vertical arrangements cannot be explained by a single factor. While some vertical arrangements place ideal information at the top of the page, others do not. The choice of arrangement depends very much upon a design’s purpose.