What is the difference between figures illustration and images?

It is mainly the term “figure” here that I question. Here is the source: http://condor.depaul.edu/dsimpson/pers/typography.html

The author of the page seems to distinguish these terms:

Figures, Tables, and Illustrations. Images–from simple drawings and
stylized icons to detailed diagrams and photographs–inevitably
attract a reader’s attention and are certain to counteract the
effects of a gray page.

Would be great to have some hint about the difference between these elements.

the google dictionary affirms a figure is:
a number, especially one which forms part of official statistics or relates to the financial performance of a company.

a documentation about html affirms:
Use a element to mark up a photo in a document

I doubt it is what the author of the linked page talks about.

How do these different terms fit together?

Any hint would be great,


Typically, figures are directly referenced in the text or are visual implementation of what is being explained in the text. i.e. “See figure x”. Figures are used to better explain through visuals or to increase retention of ideas/concepts being explained within text. They can be “general” figures, such as a “Tips” icon whenever a tip is in the text.

Illustrations generally have no direct connection to the text. They may be loosely related in concept but nothing is directly connected to the text and the illustration could be removed without degrading the retention of the text.

Loosely.. one could state that all figures are illustrations, but not all illustrations are figures.

Source : Link , Question Author : Webwoman , Answer Author : Scott

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