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Using a glossary

During your study in the Faculty of Art & Design you are likely to encounter many new, specific and perhaps even difficult words. One way to keep track of these words and to use them appropriately is to maintain a glossary. You will have noticed that certain words in the preceding pages are underlined. These terms, together with their definitions, appear in a glossary here.

While you are not usually required to underline and define words in your assignments, it is a good idea to maintain a glossary of words used in art and design for your own reference.

You could use an indexed notebook or a matrix for your glossary. Be alert for definitions and examples of key terms in all material you read. To help get you started, here is a more general list of words download a word document used to describe various art and design activities and concepts. Keep adding to your glossary and your vocabulary of art and design terms will continue to grow.

Sample Glossary
Term Date Definition Source Comments
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Remember to record where you found each definition and revise the definition as your understanding of the term deepens. There are a number of websites available containing extensive glossaries relevant to designers and artists, such as the South Australian School of Art (UniSA) glossary Opens in a new window, which has been compiled from information sourced from:

  • Atkins, Robert Artspeak: A guide to contemporary ideas, movements, and buzzwords, Abbeville Press (New York) 1990
  • Bullock, Alan & Stallybrass, Oliver, The Fontana dictionary of modern thought Fontana (London) 1983
  • Concise Oxford dictionary, Oxford University Press (Oxford) 1976
  • Visual art theory 1. Do it yourself brain surgery, Uni SA 1993
  • Williams, Raymond Keywords, Fontana Press (London) 1983.

Many of these texts are available from Monash libraries.

word outputDownload a printable version of this page (.doc)
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