Five Visual Elements for Analysis

Here are the five elements we use for analysis of visual texts, including still images, videos, infographics, and an data visualization.  For our class discussion, please frame your own rhetoric to reflect your understandings of these elements:

1. Aesthetics — how does the piece look to you as the viewer?  Is it pleasing, disturbing, ineffective, what?  How would you describe it to someone who didn’t have your educational or social experience?

2. Characterization — who or what are the players that relate meaning in this piece.  How are they related to each other, to meaning, to the audience?  What is their purpose? What is the author trying to say through them?

3. Structure — How does the author organize the piece?  Does it seem effective to you? Think about how this structure impacts negotiated meaning of the piece.

4.  Meta-Discourse — what does this piece say in its sub-text(s)?  How does the piece comment on itself?  What does the piece says about the genre in which it resides?

5. Cultural Impact — what effect does the piece try to have on cultural constructs such as gender, race, class, age? Is it a re/mix or an original analysis of these constructs? Is its message negative or positive?

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