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OPTICS Strategy. O - Conduct a brief overview of the visual or graphic. “float” over the image. What is the primary focus?

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optics strategy
OPTICS Strategy
  • O - Conduct a brief overview of the visual or graphic. “float” over the image. What is the primary focus?
  • P – Key in on the parts of the visual by reading all labels and noting any elements or details that seem important. What is the interaction of the parts with the primary focus?
  • T – Read the titleof the visual so that you are clear on the subject it is covering. Does the title make sense? If there is no title – What would you call it?
optics continued
OPTICS continued
  • I – Use the title as your theory and the parts of the visual as your clues to detect and specify the interrelationships, to infer or interpret – What is not in the picture, but implied?
  • C – Draw a conclusion about the visual as a whole. What is it all about? Can you summarize in one sentence?
  • S – What is the source? Where did it come from? What is the bias / political leaning of the source? What is the audience? What is the context?
the first woman astronaut analysis
The First Woman AstronautAnalysis

Look back at The First Woman Astronaut ( Art Wood, 1974) cartoon and identify any of the 5 characteristics

  • Symbolism
  • Exaggeration
  • Labeling
  • Analogy
  • Irony

Are all of the characteristics in this cartoon clear? What could you add to this cartoon for clarification?

political cartoon dissection
Political Cartoon Dissection
  • Students will work in groups of 3 -5.
  • They will be given a political cartoon to evaluate.
  • Each group will identify the 5 characteristics of political cartoons within the cartoon.
  • Each group will present their cartoon to the whole class. You will display your cartoon and each group member will be responsible for helping to discuss the cartoon, and its characteristics.

Example: Source D, political cartoonThe following political cartoon appeared in an Omaha, Nebraska, newspaper. Jeff Koterba, Omaha World Herald, NE


Critical Reading of a Political Cartoon

  • Subject of the cartoon:
  • Major components:
  • Verbal clues:
  • Position and size of details:
  • Position of the cartoonist:
  • Persuasive Technique(Symbolism, etc):
  • Persuasive technique:
  • Primary purpose of the cartoon:
  • How details illustrate the primary purpose:
  • Indication of alternative viewpoints:
homework assignment typed
  • Choose a political cartoon (Must be from the current week and dealing with local or world political issues and print out the political cartoon)
  • Analyze the political cartoon for:
            • Subject of the cartoon:
            • Major components:
            • Verbal clues:
            • Position and size of details:
            • Position of the cartoonist:
            • Primary purpose of the cartoon:
            • Persuasive technique used (irony, etc. . .()
            • How details illustrate the primary purpose:
            • Indication of alternative viewpoints:

Also, research the historical and contextual significance of the political cartoon. Give a synopsis of how your research added to your understanding of the political cartoon. (1 paragraph)

  • Everyday when you come to class the assignment will be do.
  • You may also be randomly selected to present your political cartoon and information gathered. (Be prepared and have your information on a jump drive ready to present.
imagery analysis
Imagery Analysis
  • If there are people in the print ad, what do they look like? Is there something noticeable about their facial expressions? Their poses? Their ages, hair color, ethnicity, relationships to each other in terms of proximity? What might these different items, in combination, suggest?
  • What is happening in the background? Is there action on the background? If so, what is its relationship to the foreground. Is the background blurry or focused. Is there some sort of scenery or landscape in the background? Does it have a relationship to the person(s) in the foreground. When you are analyzing advertising in print, rather than video, background elements often play a more subliminal role.
  • What about the language used in the print ad? Does it essentially provide information or generate some kind of emotional response? Or both? What techniques are used by the copywriter: humor, alliteration, “definitions” of life, comparisons, sexual innuendo, etc.?

Political Cartoon Introduction-Mary Beth Scumaci

imagery analysis1
Imagery Analysis
  • What fonts are used, and what impressions do these fonts convey? Always pay attention to fonts when analyzing ads in print. They may not be the most noticeable element; however, after dissecting layout, fonts can work with the ad to reinforce or sabotage a print ad. Comic Sans and Times New Roman are very different fonts. They both carry their own feel. Never underestimate the power of a good font to complement art direction.
  • What about aesthetic decisions? If the print ad uses a photograph, what kind of shot is it? What significance do long shots, medium shot, and close ups have? What about lighting, use of color, and the angle of the shot. Every element is there for a reason.

Political Cartoon Introduction-Mary Beth Scumaci


Step 1:  Find 1 print ad and 1 commercial advertisement

Step 2: Cut out the ads (if print) and download if digital

Step 3: For each advertisement, create a PowerPoint presentation which explains the following:

  • Speaker, Audience, Subject
  • What items, if any, are being associated with the product?
  • How is imagery manipulated?
  • What appeals are being used?
  • What persuasive techniques?
  • What’s the tone?
  • What logical fallacies are present?
  • Determine the overall effectiveness of the advertisement.

Step 4: Prepare presentation, working on visual appeals

when first analyzing an ad you need to decide
When first analyzing an ad you need to decide. . .
  • WHO the ad is aimed at - describe them demographically and psycho-graphically
  • WHAT is being advertising and WHAT is specifically highlighted about the product (the benefits) in this ad?
  • WHY this helps sell a product
  • WHERE/WHEN this ad might appear in order to reach its target audience
  • Happy families - everyone wants to belong
  • Rich, luxurious lifestyles - aspirational
  • Dreams and fantasy
  • Successful romance and love
  • Elite people or experts
  • Glamorous places
  • Successful careers
  • Art, culture and history
  • Nature and the natural world
  • Beautiful women - men AND women like looking at beautiful women, so the thinking goes: men admire them, women admire what makes the men admire them.
  • Self-importance and pride
  • Comedy and humor
  • Childhood - can appeal to either nostalgia or to nurturing instincts
  • Do they appeal to:
    • Logos pertains to the logic and structure of the argument itself,
    • pathos involves the emotion aroused in the reader/listener through the text and image,
    • and ethos concerns the fairness and/or credibility of the advertiser/sponsor's character (as conveyed in the text and image).
language of advertising
Language of Advertising
  • Hat persuasive language is used?
  • What is the slogan and is it humorous or attention-grabbing?
  • What benefits of the product are being extoled
  • Does it persuade the audience to buy, buy, buy?
  • When analyzing an ad identify the key persuasive words and consider their effect on an audience.
look at the language of advertising
Look at the Language of Advertising

In his influential book, Confessions of An Advertising Man (Atheneum, 1988) David Ogilvy lists the most persuasive words in advertising as



These words act as triggers to interest audiences in a product. They are also overused, and may, these days, be counted as clichés.