To visualize means to make visible. The main impetus behind visualizing comes from the experience of design. New research fields have been opened through the visualization of many previously unseeable phenomena.
Three aspects are at the foundation of visualization:
- Adequacy: the relation between the representation and what is represented
- Expressivness: adequacy and the richness of visual representations
- Precision: quantity, embodied in data, and quality, embodied in the visual representation.
Nadin recognized very early on that, in an age when visual messages dominate, there is a need to cultivate seeing. He was the first to advocate an education in visual literacy, that is, the ability to create and interpret images and objects. Nadin developed innovative courses for graphic and product designers based on his expertise in semiotics. In addition, he introduced the semiotics of the visual to the semiotic community, at that time dominated by researchers in linguistics. (See: On the meaning of the visual: Twelve theses regarding the visual and its interpretation.)
In 1985, Nadin taught the first known class in visualization (before the term became fashionable) when he was Eminent Scholar in Art & Design Technology (Ohio State University).