The semiotics of texture: From tactile to visual

Emilia Djonov*, Theo Van Leeuwen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


The term 'texture' is often applied beyond the tactile, to describe visual and aural qualities. While tactile, visual and aural texture have been studied separately in various fields, the relationships between them remain largely unexplored. To address this gap, this article proposes parameters for describing tactile surface texture and visual texture, and compares their meaning-making potential. The authors argue that, as new technologies increasingly limit the role of tactile experience and expand the importance of the visual, there is a growing need to study the influence of ubiquitous technologies on our use and understanding of the semiotic potential of resources such as texture. They hypothesize about this influence by reviewing the presentation of texture as a fill option for shapes and backgrounds in Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows from 1992 to 2007.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-564
Number of pages24
JournalVisual Communication
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


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