Visual Rhetoric


First read at bldgwlf

JG recently introduced me to the concept of visual rhetoric. I respect her and her work very much, so went to read up a bit – from what she described, it sounded like a very interesting branch of visual literacy. And it is! I haven’t read too deeply, but here’s a quick definition:

Visual rhetoric is a form of communication that uses images to create meaning or construct an argument.
Stanford PWR1

I’m not sure if the pic/campaign above is considered an example of visual rhetoric, but I think the message would have been a lot less impactful without that particular visual. E.g. if the visual had been of family members standing with the patient outside a clinic/hospital, it wouldn’t have caught my attention as much as the one above did. Perhaps it’s because the visual defied “logic” on several counts. Firstly, who ever makes a hospital bed to fit 5 people?! Secondly, it’s an exaggeration to say that the patient’s family members will also end up lying in hospital.

But maybe it’s partly true. In reality, family members of patients do end up staying over in hospital – or at least, they arrive early enough and stay late enough that they might as well just not travel to and fro. Even when they’re at home, their thoughts and feelings are often still at the patient’s bedside. And if the patient is the one keeping things running smoothly at home, then family members may well be lost and ‘sick’ without their pillar of support.

A visual like that speaks volumes.


About lilac butterfly

Live. Love. Learn. Laugh. Write. Draw. Colour. Blend. Play. Dream. Cry. Reflect. Pray. Sing. Worship. Bake. Cook. Rest. Give thanks.

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