This article explores the visual nature of academic discourse within Higher Education
in South Africa. It provides insight into the increasing influence of the visual in
academic writing – arguing that the materiality and visuality of writing be considered
alongside cognitive dimensions. The visual design of writing includes considering
aspects such as spelling, typography, emphasis and layout. The article also considers
the affordances of images and writing, the function of the visual, and the relations
between images and writing. The aim is to create awareness in order to assist students
in becoming conscious and active designers of meaning in a multimodal environment.