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Presentational Devices. LO: To understand how PRESENTATION can affect the meaning of a text . Presentational Devices

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Presentational Devices

LO: To understand how PRESENTATION can affect the meaning of a text

  • Presentational Devices

  • Presentational devices are things that are used in addition to the writing in a text. They form a very deliberate purpose. Writers use presentational devices to enhance the meaning of what they have written about. Most non-fiction texts will use presentational devices to present information that helps the reader to understand the writer’s argument or particular point of view.

  • Presentational Devices in the Exam

  • You will be asked to think about how the writers of the two texts you are given on Paper 1, Section A, have employed presentational devices. It is important that you can show that you understand how, and why, they are effective.

  • You need to show how the presentational devices enhance meaning.

  • Types of Presentational Devices

  • Illustrations and photographs: visual way to engage the reader’s interest. Can be used to impact on the reader’s point of view about a particular topic.

  • Captions: It is important to look closely at the caption, it can be used to inflect additional meaning on to the image.

  • Colour: Different colours can be used to influence how a reader feels – for example, red = danger / love.

  • Charts and diagrams: condense facts and statistics into an easily understood form. You can’t argue with facts!

  • Logos and Slogans: visual representation of an individual’s identity. The reader can see and accept what the company is and what they stand for.

  • Font Styles: Can be used to attract attention to the writing. Especially important if the writer uses a range of fonts.

  • Titles: Titles straight away inform us about what the text is about and can also be used to subtly show us how the writer feels about the topic.

  • Sub-headings Subheadings divide the material up into sections, but also they can cut an argument into easily understood sections, showing us that the order is logical and well thought out.

A Note about Presentational Devices

You should see presentational devices as integral to the success of any text. They have not been included by the writer or design team primarily for decorative effect. They help to enhance and extend the meaning of the text that the writer has produced. When writing about persuasive devices, you need to think about what they add to the text.

  • Describing Visual Imagery

  • Although our interpretation of visual imagery is subjective, there exists a methodology for analysing visual texts. In order to think about what a picture is showing us we can think about what is illustrates superficially, but also what it implies beneath the surface.



  • DENOTATION – what a picture shows us superficially.

  • CONNOTATION – what can be inferred from the image.

My Lai MassacreDenotation:Connotation:

Meet Joe BlackDenotation:Connotation:



The image: The image shows Steven Gerrard celebrating a goal for Liverpool FC.

The Caption: The caption is used to allude to the importance of Gerrard’s ‘vital’ goal but also implies that there is something more fundamentally wrong –‘just covering the cracks’ – at Liverpool Football Club.

Where might this appear? You might expect to find this in an article that is not primarily concerned with Liverpool’s performance on the football pitch, but is instead interested in the general state of well-being at the club overall.

The effect: The caption appears to relate directly to the writer’s purpose: it offers a further perspective on the topic that they are writing about in their text and attempts to control how the reader perceives the ideas in the writing.

Write your own caption...

Gordon Brown

Text: The first 100 days



The Greatest Cause of Premature Death in this Century

  • Why has the writer used this colour for this text?

  • Write a sample exam answer.

Sugar’s Top 10 Ways to Recover from a Broken Heart & Begin the Search Again…

  • Why has the designer chosen this colour?

The BugattiVeyron 16.4: A Wonder of the Modern World

  • Why has the designer chosen this colour for the heading?

Who does this logo represent:What does it symbolise?

Who does this logo represent:What does it symbolise?

Who does this logo represent:What does it symbolise?



Land, air, sea

Who does this logo represent:What does it symbolise?

Help people




Help line

Who does this logo represent:What does it symbolise?

Who does this logo represent:What does it symbolise?

  • Headings

  • Headings are another key element of a text. They work to provide us with an initial sense of the writer’s topic, but also their purpose. That is, headings are more than just illustrations of what will be contained in the piece, instead they can offer us an early insight into the writer’s perspective on a particular topic. You should look closely at headings to determine whether or not the writer is presenting their ideological perspective in addition to an indication of what they intend to write about.


  • How does this person feel about British Youth?


  • How does this person feel about Britain’s youth?


  • How does this person feel about America?

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