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The Many Visual Perspectives of Writing


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The Many Visual Perspectives of Writing

  1. 1. The Many Visual Perspectives of Writing Kelly Daisy Ida Frost
  2. 2. When you’re asked to turn in a writing assignment to a teacher, I’d imagine it would look much like this. Black text on white paper is the assumed and many times required format.
  3. 3. However, when we read a piece of writing, we are not only affected by the demeanor of the words…
  4. 4. but also by the way that they look.
  5. 5. The aesthetic choices we make with our writing, makes us feel a certain way, therefore attaching itself by association to the meaning of the words on the page.
  6. 6. Especially since writing has become digital, our expectations for how it should look and our options to do so have grown.
  7. 7. The point can be made that pieces of writing, such as college assignments, are kept formatted and plain to keep track of length and avoid any distraction from the ideas by which you are being graded.
  8. 8. This is a fair argument.
  9. 9. But, ANY format sparks an emotion, even the black text on the white paper.
  10. 10. And after a while, it’s time to step outside the box
  11. 11. There is a negative stigma attached to the use of images within writing that we want to be taken seriously.
  12. 12. Yet by discouraging the emphasis on the way words look on a page and the use of graphics along with those words, we ignore how much more information can be obtained through visual literacy.
  13. 13. What is Visual Literacy? Clearly defining what visual literacy actually is becomes difficult when we see how much it applies to the way we see the world, but for the purposes of this presentation, I turn to the field of document design.
  14. 14. Just as chefs are judged on the visual aspect of food preparation, the field of document design shows that writing is thought of in a similar light.
  15. 15. doc⋅u⋅ment de⋅sign [n. dok-yuh-muhnt di-zahyn] “Document design is the field concerned with creating texts, that is books, of prose, graphics (including illustrations and photography) and typography for purposes of pamphlets, posters and others that integrate words and pictures in ways that help people to achieve their specific goals for using texts at home, school, or work. It is the bringing together instruction, information [and] persuasion.”* *
  16. 16. In the past, it was common to see pictures in adult literature for the same reason stained glass in churches depicts the stories from the bible; reiteration so a greater population can comprehend the ideas.
  17. 17. McCloud's Understanding Comics defines seven distinct categories of combinations of words and pictures 1. Word specific, where quot;pictures illustrate, but don't significantly add to a largely complete text.quot; 2. Picture specific, where quot;words do little more than add a soundtrack to a visually told sequence.quot; 3. Duo-specific, where quot;both words and pictures send essentially the same message.quot; 4. Additive, where quot;words amplify and elaborate on an image or vice versa.quot; 5. Parallel, where quot;words and pictures seem to follow very different courses-- without intersecting.quot; 6. Montage, where quot;words are treated as integral parts of the picture.quot; 7. Interdependent, where quot;words and pictures go hand in hand to convey an idea that neither could convey alone.quot;
  18. 18. More can be expressed when the “look” of the words is taken into consideration. So the question for you is… How can this be utilized in your school assignments?
  19. 19. A simple break from habitual centering and an incorporation of small images is one place to start. Here are some examples…
  20. 20. So I hope I’ve inspired you to start considering the many visual aspects of writing. Technology is increasingly offering us more and more options for our text and making the right choices with those options can allow you to do more with the words on your page.