"The skill set of the 21st century is information architecture. The tools are available to many, but the skills are not," notes Rick Grefé, executive director of the American Institute of Graphic Arts in New York City.
Ideally, the process of becoming media-literate begins near infancy, when we are still 100-percent visually oriented. The early years of schooling are filled with visual images and visual communication techniques that slowly wither as we reach higher levels of education. For those who have not trained professionally to be media communicators, a few crucial steps can help restore and move the process to media literacy along:
Study VISUAL media'S 'vocabulary and grammar'
Learn as much as possible about how color, sound, music, line, movement, contrast, focus and other elements affect the communication process.
Know your technology options
Learn enough about media creation, management, storage and delivery systems to make informed technical decisions.
Learn to present visual information in inventive or unexpected ways. Avoid parroting other media forms.
Play music, See movies, Look at pictures
Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of digital media to sensitize yourself to its aesthetics and trends.
Use media to think
Design information using digital media. Use media to persuade, not merely to publish.
Approach information creation and presentation as a visual storyteller. Learn to tell a story with sounds and images as well as text and spoken words.
Rich digital media has the potential to deeply communicate — or thoroughly confuse — a message.