Communication Theory: Shannon-Weaver Model and Wilburr Schramm

This is working towards objective 1.

As a Graphic Designer, I feel researching into Shannon and Weavers Communication Theory model, will allow for myself to understand my practice better, in regards to how the end-user receives the message which I, the sender, am putting out there for public engagement, feedback and communication of a message or idea.

The Shannon-Weaver model suggests that the Communication Theory has (taken from source):

  • “Sender :  The originator of message or the information source selects desire message
  • Encoder : The transmitter which converts the message into signals
  • Note: The sender’s messages converted into signals like waves or Binary data which is compactable to transmit the messages through cables or satellites. For example: In telephone the voice is converted into wave signals and it transmits through cables
  • Decoder : The reception place of the signal which converts signals into message. A reverse process of encode
  • Note : The receiver converts those binary data or waves into message which is comfortable and understandable for receiver. Otherwise receiver can’t receive the exact message and it will affect the effective communication between sender and receiver
  • Receiver : The destination of the message from sender
  • Note : Based on the decoded message the receiver gives their feed back to sender. If the message distracted by noise it will affect the communication flow between sender and receiver
  • Noise:  The messages are transferred from encoder to decoder through channel. During this process the messages may distracted or affected by physical noise like horn sounds, thunder and crowd noise or encoded signals may distract in the channel during the transmission process which affect the communication flow or the receiver may not receive the correct message
  • Note : The model is clearly deals with external noises only which affect the messages or signals from external sources. For example: If there is any problems occur in network which directly affect the mobile phone communication or distract the messages”

However, even though this model accounts for ‘noise, or interference’ this can often represent a confused or distorted message which the receiver may not understand, therefore missing a key step of ‘feedback’. This was accounted for by theorist, Wilbur Schramm, whom focused on this additional stage in regards to allowing for overcoming barriers of effective communication. Schramm noted that “to understand human communication process, one must understand how people relate to each other” through communicating a message.

The modifications to this theory developed as shown below:

  1. “Added to the model the context of the relationship, and how that relationship will affect Communicator A and Communicator B.”
  2. “Included the social environment in the model, noting that it will influence the frame of reference of both Communicator A and B.”


I do feel that this theory is relevant in regards to my practice and the work carried out recently for my Instagram post project, in sense of having a sender, encoding a message, decoding and receiving a message, however feel that this theory applies more to verbal channels of communication, opposed to visual in the sense that this model allows for a continuous loop of discourse to take place between two people. I would like to look further into other communication theories which may apply to my practice more on a visual level.

Unknown. (2015). Shannon and Weaver Model. Available: Last Accessed: 6th November 2016.
Praccreditation. (Unknown.). Communication Models. Available: Last Accessed: 6th November 2016.