Post #11: Progress Report – Client Project

So far, my group (We-cycle) have created a website and we already have our ideas ready as to what we would like to add. We have the theme and visuals ready,now  I think we just need to put everything down now, and execute some our ideas.

My contribution so far has been brainstorming for the aesthetics  and editing as far the website goes.

I think if we are able to find reasonable periods of time throughout this week where we could all band together, i think we could have everything done by Wednesday, Thursday at the latest. We just need to out tings down in words and tweak the aesthetics. I’m hoping I can personally work on the brochure!

Post #9: Case Study Proposal and Doumont/Williams

1) For the upcoming Case Study, i’m considering to write about Edmunson’s essay on what an Ideal English Major is. I believe there will be quite a few points i can derive from this piece! I’m still unsure what stance i want to take on this since I do agree with much of what he said, but i also know there’s quite a few pitfalls in his logic. I may have a bit of sorting to do, but this topic gives me more than enough fuel to flame my argument.

I of course have his essay to work with, but i also have the other readings to take into consideration. If i’m going to argue against Edmunson, i think Kenney’s piece, Building Visual Communication Theory by Borrowing from Rhetoric, could potentially back me up since he makes several valid points when it comes persuasion – though he was referring to images. It is easy to fit your typical English Major in the cookie-cutter mold that Edmunson laid out, but it’s a bit unfair to throw everyone in the same group when there’s so much more depth to it than what he gives. If i’m able to do anything, i really hope i can get across that not all English Majors like reading or writing or over-analyzing everything. And in addition to that, i would like to prove that those who aren’t English Majors aren’t as shallow and dull as Edmunson makes them out to be.

2) “A photograph of an actual soft-drink container suggests a brand, not a generic concept.”

Though this may be a little bit of a stretch, i think this might actually make a good quote? What Edmunson is saying about the Ideal English Major is based on what he sees them doing, and therefore he ‘brands’ them – categorizes them as what he would expect an English Major to do. Yet, he fails to realize what that person actually likes and perhaps they’re just going through the motions of what is required for the course.

Post #8: The Visual Rhetoric of Commemoration

1) Sturken mentions modern, which is a Western art style that is a bit eccentric looking to most viewers and typically only pleasing to the sculptors themselves. She also mentions aesthetic, which is something that is visually pleasing.

2) A lot of people had a negative view of the Vietnam Memorial; the fact there was a memorial for such a crushing defeat was insulting to most. Because of this, it was easily viewed as a feminine, offensive, memorial of an eyesore that was more mocking than anything else. Because it wasn’t white, erect, and representing something a bit more positive, the criticism was very caustic and unrelenting a the beginning. The black walls, the way it came out of the earth, and the ‘gash’ it made in the earth was described as modern art trash.

3) A monument is built  in remembrance of victories, joy, and positivity, whereas memorials tend to represent defeat and grief, a representation of a sad moment in history we should not forget.

4) Maya Lin was not briefed about what the memorial would represent, and so she decided to design something that would represent a healing wound. She had the angle of the memorial represent the affliction of the earth, and though you cannot see it from some views, it’s still there, along the with the pain and loss the nation felt.

Frederick Hart’s sculpture was more of capturing the moment of that space and time; the realism and the fluid motion of the sculptures depict how alive the war is to many veterans. Also, with each soldier being a different ethnicity, it shows that EVERYONE was affected – not just the white men.

Post #7: Visual Arguments

1) Birdsell & Groarke “Toward a Theory of Visual Argument”

“It does not follow that verbal and visual meanings are equivalent or identical.”

I liked that he said this – i feel that images and text take on two different meanings and aren’t always the same. The text may describe something and have what the meaning may be explicit in what the meaning might be, but a visual can take on different meaning since the message is implicit; the text is definite but the image is up for interpretation.


This ad for Gold’s Gym is all about how you perceive the text. It uses the same letters, but you decide what the message may be based on the shape of the man standing in between the letters. The word (or letters) are definite, but the visual of the man is pretty much the deciding factor in what is being said.

2) Blair “The Possibility and Actuality of Visual Arguments”

“There is no doubt that images can be influential in affecting attitudes and beliefs.”

When you see certain images, there’s almost always a certain ‘mood’ that washes over you when you look at it, whether it be a small pang of annoyance or a small spark of happiness. 

For instance, whenever i see the Freemason’s insignia, i can’t help but feel a bit..unsettled? It’s not that i’m afraid of the Freemasons, but being the mysterious and lowkey group that they are, i can’t help but wonder what they stand for and what they do that must be kept so secretly.




Post #6: Rhetoric of the Image

In the ‘Rhetoric of the Image’ by Roland Barthes, he discusses the importance of how an image relays a message. From the way he described it, it seems like the meaning behind every image is like a subliminal message of sorts – there’s some things we understand right away from looking at an image from conditioning (just by being in the environment/immersed in a culture) and on the other hand we may look at an image and miss the underlying message it may hold. Barthes talks about three different ‘messages’ in which we may pick up on information an image may hold; you have linguistic message, which is pretty much the written form of the message (like caption bubbles, titles, dialogue, etc), there’s the denoted image, which is the image in a ‘natural’ state – no deliberate signifiers to tell you what to think or what the message may be about but simply a photo that allows you to pull the meaning out of it yourself, and lastly, there’s the rhetoric of the image – the visuals may have a certain look or design that is symbolic of something the audience may be familiar with.

I understood what Barthes was saying for the most part and a lot of it made sense – when you look at any visual (particularly for advertisements), you can immediately draw some type of meaning from it, or see where it may be going as far as representation goes. I feel like this somewhat goes back to the discussion of how all images must (or cannot) be rhetoric; it definitely varies from one person to another as to what a visual may symbolize, but it’s almost impossible to declare that there’s an image with no meaning (since there can always be a meaning taken out of an image). This passage was a good read for thought – I kind of realized that all images had a meaning, but it was an unconscious act; i didn’t immediately try to decipher the message or uncover what it might have meant.

Post #5: To what extent is visual art rhetorical? (LCVA Trip)

Visual art can be interpreted in so many ways, especially when you look at it through a rhetorical perspective.  An artist may make something to represent a feeling or emotion, or they may make something for the fun of it. Whatever it may be, the artist effectively conveys the point they want to get across with their final end product – or at least they intend to;  sometimes you get lost in translation. Art is ultimately and open-ended question – there is no right or wrong way to interpret it. The artist can try to steer you in the direction they want you to go, but the choice is truly up to those in the audience – much like rhetoric. In addition to that, for a moment in time, rhetoric was heavily debated as to whether it could be classified as so depending on it’s use – likewise, visual arts could be under the same umbrella; does it serve as a function? Does it go beyond being symbolic? Was it made just to be aesthetically pleasing or does it actually have a purpose? Much of the same questions arise when it comes to art.

20150910_122951One of the paintings that’s clinging to my mind right now is one of the Howard Finster paintings. The art style is rather kitsch in my opinion, and the gaze of what i assume to be Howard himself is a bit disconcerting.  The fact that there is text all over his face takes away from it in my opinion, but, taking into account what Foss said about the artist’s statement, i can somewhat see where Howard was going with this piece. Some of the text speaks of not judging others and how the artist (?) has seen visions of other worlds and how he guides people into the beyond. Based off of that, perhaps his eyes are telling a second story of where he’s been and where he could take you and the cloud beings next to his head are beckoning you to come with.


20150910_123212The second image that was intriguing was the “Rabbit Family” by Carl McKenzie. It’s a very odd way to depict a rabbit family – the first thing to come to mind when i think about rabbits is how fluffy and cuddly they are along with their little twitchy noses. Perhaps McKenzie was showing another side of what he thought rabbits were like or should be – with blood-chapped lips and sunken eyes. I think this is o.k. if you look at it at a rhetorical perspective – there’s more than one thing you can take from this piece and true the intent behind this piece will probably always be up in the air.

Post #4: Visual Rhetoric vs. Marketing Products/Ideas

Phillips and McQuarrie

  • A visual metaphor is a picture or image that takes on another meaning when the context is altered to stand for something else; for instance, the Tide advertisement had the fluffly, plump clouds that were riding the sky replace the actual detergent in the beaker.
  • Typology is the way you ‘decipher’ the words or slogan when it comes to visual rhetoric. Typically, it’s the play on words in which we are already familiar with or it could be a common saying that takes on a different meaning – depending on what the visual is implying.
  • Taking a rhetorical approach to advertisement really helps the audience think a bit; by adding some creativity to an advertisement through means of rhetoric, it shows that the producer of the ad can be witty, funny, and they can think outside the box. Depending on far they reach, it will help broaden an audience since the application of rhetoric shows that they are different, they have a mind of their own, and unlike any of the competitors out there, the producer of the ad knows how to get the audience’s attention


In the article, a football coach by the name of Lou Holtz, used the visual metaphor ‘litter on a stick’ in order to get his point through about billboard signs. By saying ‘litter on a stick’, you automatically get the imagery of trash being tottered high above in the air on some type of pole, and of course it doesn’t sound pleasant. Another way of taking a rhetorical approach would be repetition; since this moniker was all over town and constantly in sight, it really drew the people’s attention and stuck with them. Another great word and technique would be delivery -depending on the size and content of the billboards, you will have only that split moment to snag a person’s attention.

This ad for Lay’s Potato Chips plays on the meaning operation in which McQuarrie explains that cognitive processing is required to comprehend the picture. The man is holding the potato chips as if they were casino chips while the quote above states “2 to 1 you can’t eat just one.” This implies that perhaps, you’re gambling, or risking the chance that perhaps he’s lying and you’ll try to prove him wrong by trying just one chip. The image also plays on the fact that perhaps the potato chips are as addicting as gambling; just one chip will not satisfy your hunger for more just like the more money you have won’t stop you from gambling.

Post #3: Reflections on the Humanities

I enjoyed what Mr. Mark Edmunson had to say in his ‘Ideal English Major’ piece and the ‘Humanities Past, Present  — Future’. They both invoked some type of yearning for me – I know why i’m pursuing English as a major but now I feel like I have more reasons to follow through.

In ‘The Ideal English Major’, i thoroughly enjoyed how he explained that people who pursued the English Major were people who lived ‘another life’ through the stories and books they have/do read. I’ve changed my major several times already, striving after other majors that i thought would make the most money instead of pursuing what i love, which is reading, writing, and language. Reading what Mr. Edmunson wrote reaffirmed my love for what i like to do, and comparing it to the other majors like economics, it’s just great knowing that i’m going after something that excites me – I don’t have to sit in certain classes learning about things that i’m not passionate about.

In his Humanities piece, I gained a little more insight on how i should go about learning. I shouldn’t allow others to form my understanding by their understanding. It’s somewhat hard to explain, but when you seek out information, do not take what you get at face value.  There’s so many outlets where we could seek out information and all that we know is actually multifaceted. It doesn’t hurt to second guess even your own view – if you settle down with just one opinion or source, how do you know if that is truly true? genuine?

Both pieces were really good and gave me something to think about. They both have inspired me to add a little pep in my stride as go about my academic career. I want to do more besides regurgitate back what i was given, but explore a bit more than what i have and no longer settle for the basic.


Post #2 Theorizing Visual Rhetoric

Bernhardt Outline

  • text should vary with visible cues as white space, illustrations, variation in typeface, and use of nonalphabetic symbols, such as numbers, asterisks, and punctuation.
  • visible features within the text makes emphasis easier and understanding easier to come by
  • visually appealing text makes it easier to recognize cues
  • essay format follows the norm, but outside of the classroom, things such as advertisements does not follow the ‘rules’
  • non-visually informative text is typically in the form of essay
  • essays tend to be structured with little differentiation when it comes to sentences, punctuation, style, and format (visually)
  • First law of Gestalt ~ pragnanz (equilibrium) – items in a visual field strive for balance with the other items in the field
  • Second law of Gestalt ~ good continuation (good figure) – visual perception works to pull figures out of the background, to give them definition against the undistinguished field in which they are located.
  • Third law of Gestalt ~ Closure – having to fill in the gaps since the lettering/wording or visual aid of the text was lacking
  • Fourth law of Gestalt ~ Similarity – when a set of text resembles each other when it comes to  shape, size, color, or/and direction
  • Visual differences makes the text more exciting

Overall, i really liked what Bernhardt was saying when it came to the visual aspect of text. Simply changing the size, font, color, and adding some headings makes a difference. Essays can be good, but when you are trying to reach an audience with a point, you may need to change it up in order to really grasp their attention and make the reading less monotonous.


Foss Outline

  • Having Rhetoric go hand-in-hand was met with much opposition when the idea was initially brought up
  • It was thought that Rhetoric Critics were not trained well enough to really handle the visual aspect (Braden)
  • It was thought that ‘nonlinguistic symbols’ represented a rhetorical dislocation and a break from clear connections with central theoretical core
  • Visual Rhetoric as an artifact tends to be broad in meaning and can be used for both utilitarian and aesthetic purposes
  • Images must go beyond being a symbolic sign in order to be qualified as visually rhetoric
  • The rhetorical response to an image is what forms the rhetorical perspective
  • The rhetorical perspective as a function is not necessarily synonymous with its visual imagery as a purpose

I read this over and over but the writing was a bit verbose and I found this hard to truly understand. What i was able to make out of this was that a lot of the ‘rules’ we would assume rhetoric would have is not necessarily so and that there is, instead, a special way to go about writing and evaluating rhetoric. It seems like there’s a lot you must take into consideration and many who consider themselves experts in the field of rhetoric fail to see that. Hopefully i am able to understand what Foss is saying once we talk about this.




Just another Longwood Blogs site