ENGL 3100: Rhetoric: History, Theory & Practices
Visual Rhetoric: On a Daily
Hello again. I wanted to talk to you today about visual rhetoric and how it can be found just about anywhere in our daily lives.
Now, I talked briefly mentioned the term ‘visual rhetoric’ in my last blog when I talked about meme culture and how we use it today to conceptualize a narrative whether it be something digital or a real life situation to make our own references and jokes to share with people on the internet (most popularly on social media). However, I didn’t really tell you all what visual rhetoric exactly is. Well, here’s my interpretation:
Visual rhetoric is how we are persuaded by the things we see. From advertising to politics to the way you organize your bedroom or office space. It’s all visual rhetoric and says something about you.
What does that really mean? How does it work?
Okay, so basically whenever we see something we make a judgment about it. The judgment(s) we make are a result of our experiences, education, age, and exposure to life situations. Everything you have is designed visually. For example, the way you arrange your room says something about your personality because it’s based on your personal taste and preferences and people will notice that simply by looking.
How you design and layout your living space says a lot about your awareness to visual rhetoric, whether you realize it or not. The more you recognize which aspects of visual rhetoric are most appropriate in any given situation, the more advantageous you will be on a daily basis.
With all that being said, let’s take a look at my daily environment and analyze the visual rhetoric. (Make sure you comment with your thoughts about my daily visual rhetoric as well).
As you saw, I have a lot going on from day to day.
I start my morning in my dorm on campus. I usually stand in front of my dresser to turn my alarm off and put on my glasses. I have a stack of books on my dresser that I haven’t had a chance to read yet so I put them out to read in my free time (mind you since the school year started they’ve still remained untouched). I have my lotion, body mist, deodorant, tattoo healing cream (I have 3 but they’re in discreet places), vitamins (which I constantly forget to take), sunglasses, and a cup of tea (I was sick this past weekend but I’m feeling better: Yay).
Then I open the blinds by my desk and when I looked out the window I saw a red Mustang parked on a really funky angle.
Side note: the guy who drives that car always park crooked. The judgment I gained from that visual rhetoric was that he either doesn’t know how to park straight in the “slightly tighter than a regular parking space” spaces on campus, doesn’t know how to park straight at all, OR he just doesn’t care (reference meme below).
Next to start my day off I check my personal, student, and business emails. The photo you saw in the video was from my student email from UITS (University IT Services) saying that “Student @spsu.edu Email Accounts Will Become ‘Read-Only’ Sept. 11.” I absolutely had to take a picture of that for this assignment. I mean seriously? You made such a little change in policy a big deal to students from SPSU with the rhetorical message of “Hey you won’t be able to log in to your old spsu account anymore starting Sept. 11th, the same day that thousands of people died in the 9/11/01 plane crashes into the Twin Towers. Just thought you should know because, well, your school is officially nonexistent anyway.” I just sat there for a moment thinking to myself, Wow do they not have a communications chair or PR person? Who’s idea was this? I’m over the whole SPSU Lives on Forever phase but some people aren’t and I don’t know if they interpreted that email the way I did but I know there are some who did.
The rest of my day is fairly simple rhetoric:
- My roommate has her door closed but the light is on and music is playing, that’s how I know she’s home.
- A black Mustang with only one silver racing strip? A little different then what I’m used to. The person who drives that car is either really unique or skipped out on the rest of the paint job.
- In the Atrium building on campus after class: seeing students doing homework or eating, most have headphones in to imply the message of “don’t bother me. I’m busy.”
- I leave the Atrium and walk to the student center. On my way I see a registration sign blocking a directional sign. Basically meaning to me that registration is more important than knowing where to go on campus and that no one has taken down registration signs. The date has already passed.
- Inside the student center, was a POSTER SALE. The main sign outside was very disorganized and colorful. Somehow it worked to persuade me to see what they had though.
- When I walked past the door it was quiet and I lost interest even though there was one person walking in while I was strolling by.
- I picked up the newspaper to see what the latest news was on campus. Turns out more is happening than I thought and the layout of the front page had a lot of visual rhetoric. Mainly causing attention to the red alert and emergency call box images. As well as the fact that every title was in all capital letters.
- I went downstairs to exit the student center when it was raining outside. I noticed the student center hours of operation, a ‘tobacco free campus’ sticker, and a ‘slippery when wet’ sign so the university isn’t liable when someone falls from walking inside with wet feet due to the weather.
- On my way home after dance practice, I noticed a cute bunny. It sent me a visual message of fear when it ran away from me as I tried to capture a close up photo.
- I got home to my roommates dirty dishes. A rhetorical message to me that they were busy or didn’t care about the apartment cleanliness.
- When the day is over I cross out the date on my calendar as a visual rhetorical message to me of what day it is.
- The next day in the morning I looked at the fridge and my roommate took 7 shots the previous night of whatever alcohol. The irony is that we have all these emergency numbers in case something bad happens.
Alright. That’s done and over with. The real point that I’m trying to make to you is the importance of visual rhetoric…
Well, as I already stated visual rhetoric is about arrangement, color, style, and personality.
Let’s say you apply for a job online or in the store and you have to submit a copy of your resume to the company, your resume: electronic or hard copy, is a representation of your visual rhetoric skills. Most employers won’t even spend more than 30 seconds to look at a resume. This is because they were not persuaded by the design element of the resume. You have to make yourself stand out (but not too much). Remember that.
“What is Visual Rhetoric?” Curtis Newbold. The Visual Communication Guy, 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
Brittany Rosario. “Visual Rhetoric: On a Daily” Online video clip. YouTube, 13 Sept. 2015. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.