Anja Hatva





Anja Hatva is a graphic designer, a non-fiction writer and a lecturer from Helsinki. She is a Lic. of Arts from University of Art and Design in Helsinki (today Aalto University), Helsinki 1993 and a PhD from the University of Tampere, journalism in 2009. She has worked as an audio-visual illustrator in a research institute and later as a designer in a publishing house. She has qualified as a university teacher in Helia University of Applied Sciences. After working as an associate professor in new media in the University of Lapland and later as a principal lecturer in Evtek Institute of Art and Design (today Metropolia) she has been lecturing part-time in several universities and polytechnics. Her interest of studies has been concerned of cognitive science and semiotics applied to graphic design. Her dissertation deals with transmitting meaning via illustration. She has published several books on illustration and design as well as illustrated children´s books. Currently she is writing a book about mental images and illustration.

Paper title

What impact does an illustrated article have?


Today we use more and more illustrations assuming it helps to clarify the meaning. My idea was to find out how people recognize, remember and understand contents over long time periods in illustrated articles compared to those without pictures.

Illustrations did not increase the amount of remembered content in average, but some pictures did better than others and some illustrated issues were better remembered than unillustrated ones. Only a fifth of the content was left in memory, when about three times more pictures (60 %) were retrieved. Illustrations were much better remembered than the text right after the reading as well as ten weeks later, but mental images were fragile and by no means like photographs. This could be deducted from subjectsÔdrawings and also from answers to the questions about details in the illustrations. There were bigger differences between groups and individuals in recalling both the verbal and visual content than in recognizing the illustrations. We can recognize, even if we do not identify, and remember, even if we do not understand.

Some pictures were experienced clearly more attractive than others and also 'ugly'-statements were concentrated to certain pictures -which shows cultural agreement. No attention was paid to small, often black and white pictures, which were in general poorly recalled. The actively best recalled pictures were those who also raised stronger aesthetic statements, especially the 'beautiful' ones.

The relationship between illustration and text is of importance because the caption directs observing and understanding of the picture. Pictures without a caption have been misunderstood or given a false meaning based on the available context and deducting it on the basis of viewers own background knowledge. The manipulating influence of mental images was reflected in mistakes that the subjects made in remembering and understanding.


Tuesday 27 September


3:30pm - 5.00pm





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