Visual Key

I have implemented a system of icons to make perusing the annotations both quick and easy. I realize that the icon system is exclusionary, rather than inclusive, but due to the limitations of the icons, which are 40 pixels square, many images would not translate properly/clearly. So for simplicity and clarity, I have developed the icons below.

Adult: For works that primarily contain heterosexual characters or couples, or that promote (passively or actively) heteronormative social structures. Works intended for ages 18+, but that may be appropriate also for more advanced Young Adult readers.

Bisexual Character(s)/Situations: For works that have one or more bisexual characters or bisexual situations. I felt that it was important to indicate this, to mark it apart from GLBTQ, because many many in the gay & lesbian communities marginalize bisexuals.

Drama: For works that originated as, or were developed into, dramatic works for the stage.

Excellence in Writing: For works that I consider very well-written and engaging, those that stand out from other works with their wit, plot structure, etc.

Explicit Sexual Content: For works with very explicit sexual language and imagery. The vampire is often a symbol of (unnatural) sexual desire, so many works contain some element of sex or seduction. This icon is to indicate works that use explicit language for sex and sexual acts, not just to indicate the presence of sex.

Fempowerment: For works with markedly strong, empowered, and/or independent females as primary characters.

Graphic Violent Content: For works that have particularly graphic violence, such as flesh rending/devouring, violent deaths, etc.

G-Rated to PG-13: For works that possess little to no explicit content of a violent and/or sexual nature.

GLBTQ: For works that have gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and/or queer primary character(s). I will indicate the presence of bisexual characters or plot elements with a separate icon (see above).

Humor: For works with an overall humorous tone. Does not include incidental humor in a more dramatic work.

Film/TV: For works that originated as, or were developed into, movies or television series. Interest in one medium, such as film, can lead to explorations in another medium, and is a great way to promote reading!

Male Reader Appeal: For works with plots, characters, etc that also appeal to males (e.g. more action-focused, less romantic focus). Depending on the target audience, some of these works may help to engage reluctant young male readers.

Multi-ethnic: For works that include black and minority ethnic, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Latino/a & Hispanic, and/or American Indians as primary characters. Many areas of literature are often white-washed, and it is important to find representations of all cultures and ethnicities in order to engage as wide a readership as possible.

Non-Christian: For works that offer strong religious content of a non-Christian nature, such as Judaism. This icon is necessarily limited by its very format as a 40 x 40 pixel image, so although it seems exclusionary, it was the clearest possible way to indicate the presence of any other religion that is not Christianity.

Other Supernatural Elements: For works that include other supernatural elements aside from vampires. Beings may include one or more of the following: Werewolves, Ghosts, Faeries, Witches, Goddesses/Gods, etc.
Young Adult: For works that are intended for ages 12-18 and primarily have young or youthful protagonists. In the case of vampire characters, they may be hundreds of years old, but may have been turned at a younger age and seek relationships with someone of their apparent peer group.


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