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Visual Rhetoric

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Mac C.

on 18 December 2014

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Transcript of Visual Rhetoric

To fully understand Visual Rhetoric, we'll take a look at:
The Rhetorical Situation
What is Rhetoric?
The Rhetorical situation refers to this set of circumstances....

How to use it effectively

Merriam-Webster's definition of Rhetoric is:

"the art or skill of speaking or writing formally and effectively especially as a way to persuade or influence people"(merriam-webster)
Rhetorical devices are used in all sorts of media, not only in written text.
Rhetorical Techniques Include:
In other words...
Rhetoric is a technique used to persuade an audience to do something: to think, to act, to be entertained, etc.
When using Rhetoric, we employ tactics like Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, which do the following:

Together, these tools of Rhetoric can be used to create highly persuavive text.
Using logic to appeal to an audience
Appealing to the audience's emotions
Establishing credibility as an author
E.g. A reference page in a research paper helps establish that the claims made in the work are based upon real evidence
...kind of rhetoric.
In our case we'll be looking at the...
Quite simply, "Visual Rhetoric" is rhetoric (persuasive elements like Ethos, Pathos, and logos) applied in the visual mode.
The visual mode can include things like:
Photographs & Videos
Or even document elements like:
And the list goes on....
Now that we've defined Visual Rhetoric, how can we start...
Applying Visual Rhetoric?
[Ethos] helps us show the audience we are credible
[Pathos] helps us appeal to the audience through emotion
[Logos] helps us appeal to the audience with logic
Let's go over it again just to be sure
E.g. Humor in a work can make the audience feel good, making them more receptive to its content.
Here are some...
Common Compositional Tools
1) The Audience a work is meant to reach
2) The Context in which the project is being created or presented
3) The Genre of the project
4) The Purpose of the project

In a visual setting, contrast can take many forms.
Visual emphasis can be used to place additional stress on an element of a project.
Contrast in color:
Contrast in size:
Contrast may be used to make a work "pop" or be more interesting. Contrast can also be used to create emphasis.
Organization is used to keep work coherent.
As with writing, it important that all works stay visually coherent.
Chunking related text together or placing photos close to relevant written text are two examples of how good organization can make a project more coherent.
Alignment is used to guide audiences through a work.
Proximity deals with grouping related objects by placing them close together.

"Chunking", as it is called in the design world, helps separate different sections or themes in a text:
what the term "Visual Rhetoric" entails,
how Visual Rhetoric can be applied to projects,
how to use Visual Rhetoric most effectively

To Recap...
...is a technique used to persuade an audience to do something: to think, to act, to be entertained, etc.
Visual Rhetoric
...is Rhetoric applied in the visual mode.
Visual Tools
...Include things such as emphasis, contrast, organization, alignment, and proximity.
The Rhetorical Situation
...is the purpose, the genre, the audience, and the context of your work.
Visual emphasis can be achieved by using contrast, white space, alignment, or even arrows!
One popular example of alignment is central alignment.

These centrally aligned triangles naturally draw the eye upward:
Knowing the audience, purpose, genre, and context of a work is key to using visual tools appropriately, and, ultimately, to creating a strong, rhetorically persuasive (Ethos, Pathos, and Logos), work.

Depending the rhetorical situation in which a work is produced, certain tactics may be better suited than others.
We'll start by taking a look at the term "rhetoric"
...that can be used to appeal to your audience
However, in order to use these visual tools effectively, it is important to consider...
Together, these visual tools can help create works that:
Some specific examples of visual rhetoric include:
Ethos: MLA document formatting is used to help establish author credibility visually.
Logos: Infographics are used to help explain concepts visually with logic.
Pathos: Photographs, when framed well, can often communicate emotion more effectively than words.
Audience: Audience opinions and values may differ. Thus, different things may appeal to different audiences.
Genre: In order to appear credible, it is important to stay within a text's genre convetions.
Display logic clearly[Logos]
Appear credible[Ethos]
Convey emotion effectively[Pathos]
Purpose: It's always important to have clear understanding of a work's purpose so all possible rhetorical strategies may be used to achieve that purpose.
Context: The context in which an author is working may put additional constraints on the rhetorical tactics that can be used in a work.
Becuase the rhetorical situation changes from work to work it is up to you (the author) to decide how to use visual rhetoric to its greatest effect!
Now it's your turn to start incorporating visual rhetoric into your future projects!
Photo 1: Rama. "Press photographers at Pully For Noise festival 2008". http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Concert_photography_mp3h1986.jpg
Photo 2:Mappy10101. "Passenger numbers for london airports in a bar graph". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Passenger_numbers_for_London_Airports_in_a_bar_graph.png
Full transcript