An Experiment in Multimodal Writing

Old dogs have a hard time learning new tricks. If they have a motivating master who nudges them on to try and try, they sometimes learn their tricks after all. Jana PFLAEGING taught me the charm and powers of writing a visual essay and I’m very proud we succeeded in bringing this off very smoothly and elegantly for our special issue on the rhetoric of multimodality. NB (and needless to say): I didn’t draw a single line, only an illegible scribble. I’m sure the both of us learnt a great deal, most of all that it’s very useful to practice what you teach, i.e. present research multimodally. In the essay, not only do we propose a rationale and method for measuring graphic design, we also demonstrate it and present the results in infographics. THANKS Jana, for the great graphics and this exhilarating experience; the enthusiasm I felt for the project jogged my writing speed tremendously. Here is what the abstract says:

This essay seeks to substantiate and illustrate the tenet that formal-structural elements in graphic design carry rhetorical functions. Based on a National Geographic feature article, the piece demonstrates methods for ‘measuring’ layout, colour, and typography and shows the results in infographic visualizations. At the same time, the study showcases the epistemic value of these visualizations. The perspective adopted puts the double-page centre-stage.

PFLAEGING/STÖCKL 2021, ‚Tracing the Shapes of Multimodal Rhetoric – 
Showing the Epistemic Powers of Visualization‘. in: Visual Communication, Special Issue ‚The Rhetoric of Multimodality‘

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