Hello Human A History of Visual Communication

Michael Horsham

A kaleidoscopic journey tracing the methods and means of visual communication from cave paintings of the earliest humans to the first image of a black hole in deep space 

From the cave dweller painting a buffalo on a wall to Instagram influencers today, humans have ceaselessly made images and invented channels for visual communication. Technology may keep changing, but our need to reach one another, to persuade, inform, and entertain, has never been so vital. In Hello Human, Michael Horsham traverses the entire landscape of our diverse, expansive, and yet familiar means of visual communication.

From the use of the human hand as a symbol, the power and use of gestures, and the genesis of the printed book to the movement between dimensions of reality and the digital realm, pixilation, optics, and the understanding of light, Horsham takes readers on a journey full of unexpected twists and turns. Laying out a temporal narrative in the form of an intricate map of objects, events, and people, Hello Human demonstrates how these developments are all tied together by a common purpose: the desire to communicate.

Organized into five sections, loosely moving from the two- dimensional through the fourth and beyond, each chapter explores a different facet of communication, from scribal culture of the Renaissance to computer-generated imagery and “deep fakes,” from a potted history of printing to the primacy of emojis. Accompanying the fast-paced text are carefully researched images that invite contemplation and provoke thought on every page. 


Michael Horsham


Michael Horsham began working with the acclaimed design collective Tomato in 1994 after training as a design and cultural historian. He has written extensively on architecture and design for a number of publications, including the Guardian, Independent, and Financial Times, as well as working with the BBC. Horsham is a multidisciplinary creative and design educator and image- and music-making are key to his practice.