blackboard resources

last.updated 5.31.05


Visual Argument


On a daily basis we encounter visual arguments–from "buy this product" to "believe this ideological position." While we have a lot of experience at reading visual arguments, this assignment gives you the opportunity to produce a visual argument.

Epistemological Process

Choose an argument that you want to make; consider...

  • a position that you feel strong about
  • an argument that you may have made in writing
  • promoting something that you want to sell
  • creating a logo
  • developing a visual related to the web site you plan to create.

If you are having problems finding an argument, consult the instructor.


Writing Instructions

Once you have decided upon an argument, pre-write by making several sketches of what you want the argument to look like. Thinks about the various components you want to display:

  • a certain picture
  • words, symbols, shapes, or icons
  • colors

Also consider how you will arrange the components: Continually ask yourself, "How does placing X component here change the meaning?"

Figure out how you will "gather" the components. Most components will be available in the image editing programs, but you may have to search for specific pictures (e.g., Google images, Yahoo images, Corbis) or scan the picture yourself.

Once you have gathered the components, compose the text. As you compose the text use a recursive process and consider revisions.

After you have composed the visual argument develop a 250-350 word (single spaced) verbal explanation of the text. You will want to explain...

  • what the argument is
  • how the various components work to form this argument
  • where you would want to "publish" this piece
  • other possible interpretations of your visual argument
  • how you might change the text with more advanced knowledge.

Submit the hard copies of the 1) visual argument (color printed if color is used), 2) the final rough sketch, and 3) the explanation to the instructor at the beginning of class on October 24, 2005


In addition to the general evaluation criteria, the instructor will be looking for evidence of...

  • an understanding of how visuals work rhetorically
  • sophisticated use of visual elements (an argument that is not trite)
  • a connection between the argument and the explanation
  • thoughtful reflection about your rhetorical process
  • a sense of audience–how might certain audiences interpret the text?
  • appropriate use of design

last.updated 08.21.05