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SGarza: June6EhsesMishraAndMcCloudDefineVisualRhetoric

Hanno H. J. Ehses deals with how visual problems could be better handled by designers whom in general rely too much on intuition instead of taking a more complete look at how something could be expressed well. "The object of rhetoric is eloquence, which is defined as effective speech that makes it possible to determine the attitude of people in order to influence their actions," (165). In other words, visual rhetoric or just rhetoric in general relies on evaluation of audience in order to sway them to behave the way the speaker wants them to. This is often called manipulation, but it's more subtle than that as almost all human reasoning is based not only on reason, but on emotional, historical and pragmatic motivations (165). The paper goes on to give definitions of terms used often in categorizing visual rhetoric such as hyperbole, denotative, connotative and has several evaluations of posters advertising a performance of Macbeth. "The real problem continues to be that of bringing together the abstract construction principles with original ideas within the confines of a specific task," (176). While this chapter dealt with more media rhetoric, this problem is one in all forms of visual rhetoric.

Mishra examines how pictures, particularly scientific illustrations, can be ambiguous and misleading. The argument made is that, visual representations can be very useful tools in communicating ideas and are sometimes the only way information can be conveyed as a whole. However, education may make the images biased against the audience they are intended for (ex. physicians may not be able to draw the makeup of a body to the point high school biology students would understand it) and while visual rhetoric is taken as anything seen that is created to represent an object or the relationship between them, the truth is more difficult (181). "Pictures are paradoxes" (182) and while visual rhetoric is the key to overcoming barriers of thought, there is interference in the interpretation of the visual as well. Illustrations and visual rhetoric is necessary to attract respect for learning, but cannot be seen as a one-to-one correlation with reality (189).

McCloud? deals with how comics can be used to better communicate realities. The idea of the chapter was that icons (an important form of visual rhetoric) are not realities, but merely a way to represent something. The more abstract a cartoon or idea is made to be, the wider appeal it will have. This was demonstrated by the image of a man being taken to a more and more abstract level and finally, as an emoticon. At the emoticon level, the visual rhetorical appeal is at its best because it represents a much greater portion of the audience by being simplified and no longer representing only a specific person.

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Page last modified on June 06, 2007, at 09:59 AM CST