Visual Rhetoric

So what is visual rhetoric?

  • Visual rhetoric is a form of communication that uses images, color, form (font, style, layout, etc.), and symbols to create meaning or construct an argument - but what does that mean? What are the parts of visual rhetoric that apply to your webpage? Here are some strategies for applying visual rhetoric to web design.

Creating Visual Rhetoric:

  • For this portfolio, you will be constructing a visual presentation, in the form of a team webpage, to accompany your argument made in your research paper and genre pieces. Let's first look at some different uses of visual rhetoric. What arguments are being made in each example? Is the artist/creator using ethos, pathos, or logos (or a mixture)? What effect will this likely have on its intended audience?

WOTD Examples

Activity: Get into groups of 3. Choose any web design winner from the WOTD list and analyze the visual rhetoric involved. (Please note that this is not a political exercise. Don't choose an web design because you agree with its contents, choose one that you find striking and effective for its intended audience. This is an exercise in critical thinking and analysis, not an exercise in playing favorites.) You'll want to consider:

  1. The colors - Is there underlying symbolism in the colors chosen?
  2. Visual organization - where is the focal point of the image? Why do you think it was placed where it is? What about the relationship between the main visual and the secondary visuals?
  3. Font choice - What message does the style of the font convey? What about the size, placement, angle, color, etc.? And what does it mean if there is no wording?
  4. Rating - What criteria is the WOTD evaluated on?
  5. Finally, is there an argument being made? Who is the audience for this visual rhetoric? What kind of rhetorical appeals does it make (ethos/pathos/logos)?
  • Presentations: What did we find? How can we apply this to our own visual rhetoric?