Major Assignment #3



Evaluation Criteria
Due Dates


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This assignment encourages you to go beyond only considering the words in a text -its linguistic content- and to also observe how visual elements, such as graphics, typography, color, and placement, contribute to meaning and persuasion.

Visual arguments surround us in life and online. In our daily lives, we are frequently confronted by advertising with very little linguistic content that is still highly persuasive. The Internet is a medium that relies on words and images working together to make meaning. Internet users must be particularly savvy consumers to understand how they are being persuaded by Web pages' linguistic and visual components. Internet users who are unable to detect how they are being swayed by visual rhetoric are still susceptible to this influence.

This project will help you to:

  • Come to understand that your audiences, your purposes, and your contexts should motivate your linguistic and visual choices
  • Cultivate your visual literacy
  • Learn some of the basic elements of document design
  • Prepare you for working in groups
  • Prepare you for your capstone project, composing a Web site


You must complete this project with a partner from our class. This project has two parts: a visual argument and a project assessment essay:

Visual argument
Your visual argument must:

  • Be primarily visual rather than linguistic. It can take almost any form: a painting, a drawing, a comic strip, a sculpture, a photograph, a video, a computer generated image or animation, a collage, etc.
  • Make the same claim that you made in your first assignment, your evaluation (or, if you're paring up and would like to change, present another claim for me to approve)
  • Support your claim through visual choices, such as typography, color, placement, graphics, etc
  • Appeal to a specific audience

P roject assessment essay
You will also compose a short essay (500-600 words) in which you analyze the process you used to compose your visual argument, composed of answers to the questions below. Use essay format for this. For your project assessment essay, you must:

  • Write about about translating linguistic claims into visual claims.
    How does your visual support your linguistic claim? See example
  • Write about the context.
    In what ways does your visual argument appeal specifically to the audience you identified? That is, how do your design choices persuade your audience? See example
  • Write about how you used the Four Design Principles.
    In what ways did you use repetition, contrast, proximity and alignment? (We will talk about these in class). Why? Did you violate any of these conventions? If so, why? You may wish to connect your discussion of contrast, repetition, proximity and alignment to your discussion of ethos, logos, and pathos.
  • Write about how you used Ethos, Pathos and Logos.
    Remember these? How did you appeal to ethos, logos, and/or pathos in your visual? Which of these appeal is the strongest? Why?

    Ethos: What does your choice of medium say about your ethos? How are does your design reflect your character? Do you convey your ethos through typography? Color? Some other way?

    Logos: How does your visual rely on logos? Can your readers easily understand your visual? Does your visual convey information efficiently? In what ways do you appeal to logos? Through typography? Color? Placement? Some other way?

    Pathos: How does your visual appeal to emotion? Do you convey emotion through typography? Color? Some other way?

  • Write about the process.
    What was the most challenging part of composing your visual argument? Why was it so challenging? Briefly describe and explain one of the significant revisions you made to your visual argument after your initial draft. What is the most effective aspect of your project? Have you deliberately adapted a standard form in an unusual or creative way? If so, why?
  • Write about the collaboration.
    What was one way that peer feedback helped you improve your work? How did responding to the work of others help you improve your own work? What were the challenges of working with a partner? Advantages?
  • Write about Project Management.
    How well did you plan your work on this project? What might you have done differently? (Warning: This is something that can't totally be put off until the last minute).

Assignment Requirements:

  • A clear claim involving a question of evaluation (like for the first assignment)
  • A visual representation of that claim which communicates not only the overall idea, but refers to grounds (we will discuss strategies on this more in class)
  • An essay that clearly answers all of the questions above


  • Font must be 12 pt. and one of the following: Times New Roman, Arial, Palatino, or Garamond.
  • Margins must 1 inch all the way around (headers are ½ inch)
  • All material from outside sources (direct quotations, paraphrases, etc.) MUST be cited properly using MLA guidelines. Remember that if you don’t credit the original source, you have committed plagiarism.
  • The paper should be no less than 500 words and no more than 600 (Going over the maximum I have set does not impress me!)
  • Follow visual formatting discussed in class.


Evaluation Criteria:
Like the first paper, this assignment’s point value (out of a maximum of 200 points) will be based on how successfully you meet the previously mentioned essay requirements. Papers that meet these requirements will demonstrate: a

  • A clear and specific statement of claim
  • Clear and effective visual representation of support to claim
  • Effective incorporation of the Four Design Principles
  • Effective incorporation of ethos, pathos, and logos in your visual representation of your argument
  • Appropriate identification and approach to the evaluation’s specific audience
  • Thorough, clear, and thoughtful answers to all the above questions in the essay

Due Dates and Point Values:

  • Statement of Claim: classtime, Monday, Oct. 28: 5 points
  • Rough Draft of Essay: noon Saturday, Nov. 2: 20 points
  • Rough Draft of Visual: classtime Monday, Nov. 4: 30 points
  • Peer Evaluation Worksheet: 15 points
  • Peer Evaluation Participation: 10 points
  • Final Essay: classtime Wednesday, November 13: 45 points
  • Visual Argument: classtime Wednesday, November 13: 75 points

    TOTAL POINT VALUE: 200 points

Adapted from M.W. Zoetewey

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