Visual communication designers strive to create effective visual messages that are easily perceived and meaningful, but various forms of visual noise can compromise their designs. A set of visual design criteria and tools, aimed to increase design efficiency and effectiveness will be developed through a literature review of communication-related disciplines, including psychology, linguistics, semiotics, communications studies, information theory and statistics design. A sampling of these criteria and tools will then be applied to case studies of web- and print-based visual presentations to research their viability, and expert interviews will further inform and develop the criteria list. The final criteria and tools, developed from the studies, will be used to build a prototype of a corporate at a glance presentation for a government organization, to research the usability of the criteria set. The research aims to develop visual communication design theory based on fundamental, interdisciplinary concepts that could, through further research, offer visual communication designers improved science-based design and research tools.