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Everything's An Argument Chapter 15: Visual Arguments

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Bhavin Soni

on 25 September 2014

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Transcript of Everything's An Argument Chapter 15: Visual Arguments

Visual Arguments
Chapter 15:
power of Visual Arguments
Visual Images are everywhere
Ex. - t-shirts, billboards, computers, posters, TV, etc.
Visual Arguments represent POWER
Pharaohs of Egypt had statues of themselves along the Nile to assert power
Two Events - Led to the Importance of Media Images today
1960 - Televised Debate between JFK and Richard M. Nixon
TV became the most popular political campaigning tool in the US
1980 - Computers with Graphic Interface
transformed era of printing to an era of electronic imaging and communications
"A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words"
Images Make Their Own Arguments
Achieving Visual Literacy
JFK was extremely confident and strong while Nixon was weak and recovering from illness. (May have led to JFK's Presidency)
“Human vision is selective: to some extent, we actively shape what we see”

An image/photograph is not a representation of reality but its the world shaped by the author's point of view.

Why take images so seriously?

Because they matter! Images change lives and shape behavior.
- i.e. - Advertisements for sneakers are powerful enough to lead some kids to steal for footwear, cultural icon of Oprah Winfrey can sell more books in a single show than a 100 authors can

Images are always portrayed with power.
-The more powerful an image is, the more actions and feelings it evokes.

As you read any text, you need to consider the presentation of the image being displayed.
Visual Arguments Based on Character
Visual Arguments can be based off the signals one gives off to the audience.
-Handing in a typed paper vs. a crumpled handwritten paper
Look for Images That Reinforce Your Authority and Credibility
Emblems or Logos
Images that can convey a wealth of a cultural and historical implications.
How Design Reflects Your Character
Design elements send signals about character and ethos (You should control them!)
Fonts (convey different feelings)
serif - warm and readable (Times New Roman)
sans serif - efficient and contemporary (Arial Black)
Large Font - seems as if you're shouting
Tiny Font - seems as if you're evasive
Choice of Color
makes statement about your personality and taste
Choice of Illustrations and Photographs
sends powerful signals about your preferences and sensitivities
Choice of Presentation (Way one dresses)
could either appeal to argument or distract the audience
Design Conventions
Authoritative models; basic models/guidelines for a bodied structure
Design conventions demonstrate the professionalism and seriousness of your work.
Used for lab reports, term papers, résumé, screen plays, Websites, and etc.
Visual Arguments Based on Facts and Reason
A design is considered efficient and powerful when the audience can look at an item and know what it does
Ex. - Mechanical Pencil
Visual Designs are like arguments, they convey information without complicated instructions or directions
Titles, Headings, Subheadings, Bullet Points (related info is grouped together underneath a heading with similar attributes)
Using Visuals to Convey Efficient Information
Information is conveyed more efficiently by charts, graphs, drawings, maps, or photos than words alone.
Visual elements enhance or even make arguments.
Pie Chart:
a chart that effectively compares a part to the whole. Depicts memorable information

an efficient device for comparing items over time or other variables.

images that are useful for drawing attention to details. Also can be used to illustrate complex physical processes or designs of all sorts.

illustrates location and spatial relationships
Visual Arguments that appeal to emotion
Manipulative Media
Some images possess powerful context that manipulates your senses and has you appeal to your feelings
Some images can be cruelly manipulated and abused to convey something positive when it is negative in reality. (or Vice-Versa)
i.e. - Propaganda
Appreciate the Emotional Power of Images
Images are capable of bringing texts and any forms of presentations to life.
Powerful enough to persuade
Ex.- donations to abused animals, obesity awareness, poor children in Third World countries (these images create awareness movements)
Visual Images for one presentation could also be used to defend multiple arguments relating to different topics.
Visualization is a key factor in touching the audience more powerfully than words alone.
Emotional Power of Color
Responding to color is part of a human's biological and cultural makeup.
it excitingly attracts our eyes
one should consider what colors are compatible with the argument s/he is making
Contrast between words and backgrounds should be visible and distinct
Avoid complex backgrounds that interfere with important elements
Original Applications
What does this represent?
Powerful or Not?
purpose: humor or informative?
two fat kids eating or obesity awareness?
When handing in the paper:
Signals a good vibe
Demonstrates the seriousness of the work
May have stronger points but at a disadvantage for author sends wrong signals
Has a "I do not care about this essay or the message I am trying to prove" kind of attitude
Take into consideration the Statue of Liberty:
One might see her as a grandiose figure welcoming immigrants to American shores
Then imagine her as Bellona, the goddess of war, guarding New York Harbor with a blazing torch.
She is a different statue in each perspective or is she?

The visual images that surround us (especially those that draw attention, time, and money) are often constructed to persuade and force us to see them in just one way.

HOWEVER...We ALL have different perspectives and outlooks on EVERYTHING.

Therefore, visual arguments are best described as give-and-take, a dialogue, or even a tussle.
Using Visuals in your own Arguments
Use an emblem or logo to strengthen the credibility of your business, organization, or Website. Such symbols have authority and weight.
Ex. - Presidential Seal, Universities' Seals, Car Logos
Follow Required Design Conventions
You can risk your presentation if you violate the expectations of your audience or if you introduce a visual text without sending out the right signals.

You cannot guess or assume what may seem appropriate or logical for others.

Before applying a visual, always take into consideration the audience and their reaction to your visual image.
Make sure you follow the proper guidelines for presenting, labeling, and formatting such visuals.
Analyzing Visual Elements of Arguments
About Content:
What argumentative purpose does the visual convey?
What media (print, screen, photographs, drawings, etc.) does the visual use?
What cultural values or ideals does the visual evoke or suggest?
What emotions does the visual evoke?
About Design:
What is your eye drawn to first?
What is in the foreground and background?
Is any particular information highlighted to attract your attention?
How are light and color used?
What details are included/omitted or emphasized/deemphasized?
Does the visual evoke positive or negative feelings about individuals or ideas?
Is any visual exaggerated, repeated, or intensified?
What is the role of any words that accompany the visual?
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