This introduction aims to familiarize readers with basic dimensions of variation among pictorial and diagrammatic representations, as we understand them, in order to serve as a backdrop to the articles in this volume. Instead of trying to canvas the vast range of representational kinds, we focus on a few important axes of difference, and a small handful of illustrative examples. We begin in Section 1 with background: the distinction between pictures and diagrams, the concept of systems of representation, and that of the properties of usage associated with signs. In Section 2 we illustrate these ideas with a case study of diagrammatic representation: the evolution from Euler diagrams to Venn diagrams. Section 3 is correspondingly devoted to pictorial representation, illustrated by the comparison between parallel and linear perspective drawing. We conclude with open questions, and then briefly summarize the articles to follow.