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Visual Rhetoric for Student Writers. Purdue Writing Lab. Overview. This presentation will cover Definition(s) of visual rhetoric Why visual rhetoric is important today Visual rhetoric and Text Color Graphics Overall design. What is Visual Rhetoric?. Definitions and applications

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Visual rhetoric for student writers l.jpg

Visual Rhetoric forStudent Writers

Purdue Writing Lab

Overview l.jpg

  • This presentation will cover

    • Definition(s) of visual rhetoric

    • Why visual rhetoric is important today

    • Visual rhetoric and

      • Text

      • Color

      • Graphics

      • Overall design

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What is Visual Rhetoric?

  • Definitions and applications

    • Use of images as argument

    • Arrangement of elements on a page

    • Use of typography (fonts, etc.)

    • Analysis of existing images and visuals

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Why is Visual Rhetoric Important?

  • We use visual thinking as a major part of our cognition (thinking process)

  • We live in a visually dominated world, so…

  • We must be able to read, dissect, and produce effective visuals

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Why is Visual Rhetoric Important?

“Visual thinking pervades all human activity,

from the abstract and the theoretical to the

down-to-earth and everyday…”

Robert McKim, Experiences in Visual Thinking, 1980

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Visual Rhetoric and…

  • Text elements

    • How type functions and choosing fonts

    • Headline versus body text

    • Text and the Web

  • Color

  • Visuals and graphics

    • Clip art

    • Illustrations and diagrams

    • Graphs

    • Photographs and manipulated images

  • Overall design

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How Type Functions

  • “Personalities” of type

    • Formal and informal fonts

    • Consequences and font choices

      • Consider effect of font choice

      • Personality and appropriateness

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Choosing Appropriate Fonts

  • Font choice will build or harm ethos (author’s credibility)

    • Context and purpose of document is important

    • Cultural and visual associations of fonts should fit document

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Headline Versus Body Text

  • How text functions

    • Type of text dictates font choice

      • Emphasis and attention

      • Information

    • Sustained readability

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Text and the Web

  • Differences between print and the Web

    • Accommodating users and browsers

    • HTML standard fonts

    • Screen readability

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Color and Contrast

  • Most basic and critical choice

    • Black text on white background shows high contrast and is most common

    • White text on black background is not ideal

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Computer Screens and Color

  • Pixels and colors on screen

    • RGB values

    • Color saturation

  • Cultural associations of color

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Clip Art

  • Using packaged clip art

    • Avoid the “cartoony” effect

    • Choose clip art that truly fits the purpose of the document

    • Match design schemes

  • Consider creating images

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Illustrations and Diagrams

  • Purpose to inform

    • Conveys specific information

    • Relates to content in document

    • More than an accent

  • Striving for clarity

    • Avoid clutter

    • Choose selective pictures of reality

    • Break up large amounts of information

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  • Choosing how to represent quantitative information

    • Pie charts and showing parts of a whole

    • Bar graphs and numeric comparisons

    • Line graphs and plotting changes

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  • Found images versus captured photographs

    • Copyright

    • Composition and quality

  • Achieving effects with photos

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Overall Design

  • Creating paths for the eye

    • Striking, eye-catching elements

    • Finding information easily

  • Design as rhetorical organization

  • Consistency in design

    • Avoid “kitchen-sink syndrome”

    • Pitfalls of pre-fab templates

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Stepping Back

  • Is your design clarifying your information?

  • Is your design unique enough to make it stand out?

  • Is your design readable from its intended distance?

  • Have you checked for typos and errors?

  • When designing for the Web, have you checked your design on different computers and in different browsers?

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Additional Resources

  • The Non-Designer’s Design Book and The Non-Designer’s Web Book, both by Robin Williams

  • Color Index by Jim Krause

  • Idea Index by Jim Krause

  • What is Graphic Design? by Quentin Newark

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For More Assistance

The Writing Lab at Purdue

226 Heavilon Hall