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Growing populations of older adults, ethnic minorities, and the low-literate create unique concerns for the design of visual information. Those for whom text presents a barrier will respond most to legibility, use of familiar formats and symbols, and simplification. Guidelines for those processes are needed, and this paper, in particular, identifies principles for designing and evaluating visual components of educational materials for ethnic populations in the United States. Educational print materials for ethnic populations on food safety were solicited from over 50 organizations. Guidelines that emerged from that study include, but are not limited to: (1) use pastels and very true-to-life skin tones when possible; (2) avoid using randomly decorative symbols; (3) be aware that symbols like the skull and crossbones, which Americans consider universally recognizable, sometimes fail to communicate to other cultures; (4) use appealing typestyles; (5) reflect cultural norms in the design, like including a wedding ring on the finger of a pregnant Hispanic woman; (7) be alert to cultural differences in gestures and facial expressions; (8) stick to everyday situations when attempting to depict lifestyles; (9) keep silhouettes to a minimum, since they may suggest concealment or evil; and (10) arrange the message in logical sequence and proportional scale. (Contains 17 figures and 49 references.) (BEW)

Descriptors: Behavior Standards, Comprehension, Concept Formation, Cultural Differences, Cultural Relevance, Ethnic Groups, Illiteracy, Instructional Materials, Minority Groups, Misconceptions, Older Adults, Printed Materials, Social Behavior, Visual Aids, Visual Literacy

Autor: Schiffman, Carole B.


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