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Visual Rhetoric in Design Activism

Seliger, Marja;


The study investigates visual rhetoric through literary review and two case studies. Visual rhetoric is understood as argumentation and persuasion using pictorial symbols and images. The on-line media allow multimodal communication and invite people to participate in public debates as activators or supporters. Today anyone can reach global audiences by posting pictures and messages in Internet. The concept of vividness of information is introduced to analyse visual rhetoric in communication. Vivid information can cause strong emotional reactions, whereas less-vivid information causes more analytical responses. The study shows emotional reactions caused by political cartoons. When visuals are distributed globally, interpretations multiply and reactions become controversial. The art of rhetoric includes also logical reasoning and convincing audiences with facts. In visual rhetoric that means using less-vivid information, e.g. graphs to visualize numerical information. For design activism on-line communication facilitates interactivity, participatory actions, co-designing events and collaboration. When knowing the rules and ethics of global communication it seems that on-line platforms give versatile possibilities for design activism.


Palavras-chave: visual rhetoric, communication design, political cartoon, argumentation, persuasion,


DOI: 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0087

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Como citar:

Seliger, Marja; "Visual Rhetoric in Design Activism", p. 599-604 . In: Tradition, Transition, Tragectories: major or minor influences? [=ICDHS 2014 - 9th Conference of the International Committee for Design History and Design Studies]. São Paulo: Blucher, 2014.
ISSN 2318-6968, DOI 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0087

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