Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reading Response: Visual/Verbal Rhetoric

The War of Words (logomachy)

The reading, Visual/Verbal Rhetoric from Gui Bonsiepe, gave concrete definitions and answers to the relationship between information, the viewer/audience and the designer. It explained how the Greeks divided rhetoric into three categories; the political, the legal and the religious, with the objective of obtaining a definite decision, implanting an opinion, or evoking a mood. There are two aspects to every sign; shape and meaning. Bonsiepe explains that, "...classical rhetoric is no longer adequate for describing and analyzing rhetorical phenomena in which verbal and visual signs (word and picture) are allied." He gives three categories of figures that explain how to visual/verbally use persuasion and analysis (in practice and theory) through; Syntactic Figures (meaning), Semantic Figures (reference) and Pragmatic Figures (dialogue) [see below]. It is good to contrast persuasion with information because, "...communication is not limited to this; informative assertions are interlarded with rhetoric to a greater or lesser degree. If they were not, communication would die of sheer inanition." " 'Pure' information exists for the designer only in arid abstraction. It takes concrete shape through the process of rhetorical infiltration." Bonsiepe also notes that advertising is addressed information which means that the the informative content is secondary at best when directed towards the audience. Raw information is hard to digest and must be expressed in a different manner in order to significantly persuade.

"If ten rhetorical figures and five normal sentences appear in a text, it may be said to have a persuasion grade of 2."

The second reading, Type + Image, reiterated the Rhetorical tropes discussed in the lecture on Friday (i.e. simile, metaphor, personification, metonymy, synecdoche hyperbole, antithesis, allegory). It explains that language is a systematic means of communication ideas or feelings through signs (sound, visual gestures, marks) and that visual symbols and images are used in the same way as literature and everyday language. The classification system set up by the Greeks is useful to designers and should not be overlooked when trying to persuade an audience. "Discover all available means of persuasion in any given situation either to inform (rational appeal) to delight or win over (ethical appeal) or move (emotional appeal) an audience." -Aristotle

"The purpose of graphic design is to convey thoughts ideas and feelings between people."

Visual/verbal comparison = a comparison that starts with verbal signs and is continued with visual signs

Visual/verbal analogy
= a relatum [one of the objects between which a relation is said to hold] expressed verbally is paralleled by a similar relatum expressed visually

Visual/verbal mentonymy
= a relatum indicated by verbal signs is visualized by signs in a real relationshop to the verbal relatum (cause instead of effect, tool instead of activity, producer instead of product)

Visual/verbal chain = a topic begun in words continued and complete visually

Visual/verbal negation = verbal signs negate what is shown visually

Visual synecdoche = a relatum expressed verbally is visualized by a part representing the whole, or vice-versa

Verbal specification = a visual sign accompanied by only as much text as is necessary for its comprehension

Visual substitution = one visual sign replaced by another because of its formal characteristics

Syntactic climax and anticilmax = a purely visual figure

Visual/verbal parallelism = visual and verbal signs representing the same relatum

Associative mediation
= one verbal sign out of a series is illustrated by a series of
visual signs, which lead, in turn, to another relatum of the verbal signs


As a Reference:

Transpositive figures (departure from normal word order)
Apposition (explanatory insertions)
Atomization (treating dependent parts of a sentence as independent)
Parenthesis (enclosing one sentence in another)
Reversion or anastrophe (dislocation of a word or emphasis)
Privative figures (omission of words)
Ellipsis (leaving ut words which can be supplied form the context)
Repetitive Figures
Alliteration (repeating an initial letter or sound)
Isophony (repeating sounds of similar words, or parts of words in a series)
Parallelism (repeating the same rhythm in successive clauses or sentences)
Repetition (repeating a word in various repetitions)

Contrary Figures
(based on the union of opposite relata)
Antithesis (confrontation in a sentence of parts having opposite meanings)
Conciliation (coupling of contradictory relata)
Comparative figures (based on comparisons between the relata)
Gradation (words in an ascending order of forcefulness)
Hyperbole (exaggeration)
Metaphor (transfer of a word to another filed of application in such a way that a similarity of any kind between the two fields is assumed and given expression)
Substitutive Figures (based on replacement of the relata)
Metonymy (replacement of one sign by another, the relata of both being in quantitative relationship)

Fictitious dialogue
(speaker asks the answers himself)
Direct Speech
Conversion of an objection into an argument in one's own favor
Asteism (irrelevant replies to a question or argument)

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