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Origins - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Origins. Conventions presume a chain of rhetorical acts that must begin somewhere, but often hard to pinpoint where. We can locate moments where conventions are beginning to take shape. T.

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  • Conventions presume a chain of rhetorical acts that must begin somewhere, but often hard to pinpoint where

We can locate moments where conventionsare beginning to take shape


Plot’s chart shows key features of present-day line or scatter charts, even though meteorology has developed its own modern visual conventions

How we read barometric pressure now


Visual conventions change as rhetorical purposes and production technologies evolve

  • Rockefeller Foundation Annual Report 1929, 1957, 1985, 2009

  • Computer interfaces through the decades

New disciplines need new conventions

  • Depending on the type of knowledge that requires visual representation, a discipline might invent new conventions or appropriate existing conventions from another field.

  • As disciplines mature, conventions are likely to become more abstract, more specialized and more firmly and formally codified

  • Conventions unfold in 3 modes – adaptation, transplantation, codification


  • Mechanical engineering (drafting) starts with conventions from architecture

Representations of objects become more abstract and isolated from context of use as mechanical engineering becomes a more specialized and sophisticated field.

Until we get this….


Conventions branch off from other conventions in brand new directions


  • Informal and indirect – imitation

  • Formal and direct

    • NISO: Information on Spines

    • AIA: Architectural Graphic Standards

    • IEEE: Visual Identity Standards

    • New Jersey DOP: Geologic Rock Symbols

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