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The concepts or ideas of a design are achieved through the thoughts and visualizations of the artist from the natural and man-made situations. Design refers to formal organization of elements of art to produce an effect or perform useful functions Uzoagba (2009). It is also referred to as a finished pattern which begins in the mind before it is laid barred on paper or any other medium. Culture which is man-made situation provides the visions which the artist can conceptualize and lay down as Motifs and Symbols from the areas of beliefs, norms, values, art, festivals, occupation among others. The Motifs and Symbols of Ihe-Owerre Nsukka culture are transformed into art works and artifacts such as fly whip, Jigida, anklet, brackets, staff of office, dance costumes, masquerade costumes, musical instruments and so on which could be used in performing certain ceremonies, festivals and other cultural activities of the people. Furthermore, the identified Motifs and Symbols can be explored to produce effective works that could be used for Visual Communication Design.

1.1 Motif

Motif according to the Oxford Advanced Leaner‟s Dictionary 7th edition is a decorative pattern or design. Subsequently, the Encyclopedia Internet describes it as an element of a pattern, an image or part of one or theme which may be repeated in a design many times or may just occur once in a work. Uzoagba (2009) also defines Motif as the principal idea, or elements of a work of art or design; from the above definitions and explanations, it is clear that Motifs is simply the main idea of the artist which comes from his/her conceptions. Uzoagba (2009) confirms this in his dedication tribute to his late mother Nwume as he states thus,Nwume evolved a unique technique of creative pattern from everything around her, the star, the moon, the sun, the animals and the plants that grew around her, all have shapes that conform to simple geometric forms. Nwume in her unique creative mind, explored, simplified and stylized these objects to bring out the design qualities in them which present them as design Motifs.

Motifs could be formed from both natural and man-made situations to be employed in our everyday design in art such as drawing, painting, sculpture, textile design, Visual Communication design and so on.

1.2 Symbol

Symbol on its part is a sign or a representation of an idea or a concept. It relates to an object, its meaning and functions could be on a particular state. The Oxford Advanced Leaner‟s Dictionary 7th edition defines it further as a person, an object, or an event that represents a more general quality or situation. A symbol could mean different thing to different people; what the „plus‟ sign (+) means to the mathematician is different from what it means to a Christian.

Therefore Cohen (1985) on the Symbolic construction of communication explains that symbols provide the limits of cultured thoughts. Members of a culture rely on these symbols to frame their thoughts expression in intelligible terms. In short, symbols make culture possible,reproducible and readable. They are the “Webs of significance” from these explanations of Motifs and Symbols, one could conclude that both have interrelationship in their forms and functions in Visual Communication Design practise as both could be explored and used for effective Visual Communication Design.

This is affirmed by Uka (2007) that visual communication design is the act of Communicating in Visual terms. He further stated that in passing information via the media of Communications, the designer uses illustrations, typefaces and other imageries to do this. He further stated that communication Media have the capability to show or diffuse objects in colour, Motion and Symbolic representations and can simultaneously show pictures and sounds. This expresses further that Motifs and Symbols are art forms which could be used along side other elements of design to achieve an effective Visual Communication Design.

1.3 Effects of Motifs and Symbols on Visual Communication Design.

Effect can be described as a positive or negative change caused by somebody or something to another person or thing. The effects of Motifs and Symbols on Visual Communication Design show an effective result of the use of Motifs and Symbols on Visual Communication Design as the Motifs and Symbols are seen as vital elements of art or art forms which could be arranged alongside other elements to bring about effective communication.
The contributions of Udenta (1998) confirms this thus, Effective communication usually, is the result of a carefully selection of the appropriate medium or combination of media available. In achieving effective Visual Communication Design, the Visual Designer employs the use of typography and imagery to harness the design so that a clear view of the context is achieved for effective communication. Drucker „et.al‟. (2009).

Effective Communication will be achieved through the application of the Motifs and Symbols of the said culture in the areas of advertisement, announcement and general awareness creation of the cultural livelihood of the people under study. (Cohen, Ibid) holds it that members of a culture rely on Symbols to frame their thoughts and expressions in intelligible terms. In short, Symbols make culture possible, reproducible and readable. It has been observed that the people of Ihe-Owerre Nsukka community are showing a decline in their associations with most cultural practices of their community. This study which is on the effects of Motifs and Symbols of Ihe-Owerre Nsukka culture is therefore timely. It emphasizes the aspects of promotion and preservation of the cultural values of the people. It also tries to solve the problem of lack of proper documentation and preservation of the cultural life of the people of Ihe-Owerre Nsukka.


The major problem of this study arises as a result of non-documentation, and effective use of the visual components in the Ihe-Owerre Nsukka culture for visual communication design activities. The above problems are prevalent with the embrace of foreign cultures which made them destroyed and suppressed their cultural materials terming them archaic and fetish. However, as a result of the above developments, the cultural life and values of Ihe-
Owerre Nsukka community which are incorporated in their daily activities emanating from dances, traditional worshipping, title taking, masquerading, festivals, body adornment, occupation, art, norms, values to mention but a few are fading away. The researcher sees it as a problem and if neglected could lead to its extinction. In this regard, this research is geared towards exploring the Motifs and Symbols of Ihe-Owerre Nsukka culture and adapting them as vital elements for effective Visual Communication Design as this will boost and secure the cultural identify of the people under study.



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