Thesis or Theme:
In Understanding Visual Rhetoric Jenae Cohn delves into the wonders of visual rhetoric that impact our decision making in our everyday lives. Visual rhetoric is present in the advertisements we see when we try to decide something to eat, the colors of the buildings we visit to make themselves more appealing, and the signs on our roads to grab our attention.
if we limit ourselves to words in our arguments, we may not successfully reach our audiences at all.
Here Cohn asserts that visual cues hold an essential power over our brains that is key in persuading and directing another individual. In a split second, an image or a visual cue may allow the reader to better understand something than it can be broken down into by words. Cohn drives this point home by giving an example from a menu where explaining the effect given by the visual actually takes a lot longer than just looking at the image, and when you are in a hurry you want to process information as quickly as possible.
Cohn then dives into how different forms of visual rhetoric influence us as well. Lines may be used to show us where to focus our attention, like where we should walk or where we should keep out of. Size is also another straightforward visual rhetorical strategy where what you want the viewer to see will be big while less important information will be smaller and more obscure. Color can be used to pull at a viewer’s emotions, using red may be a way to signal that something is dangerous or intense. However, it is also interesting to note that this is not the case in a place like China, where red is a lucky color. This means visual cues also rely on contextual knowledge of the viewer. Visual rhetoric meant to influence one audience may have a very different effect on another audience. These elements highlight how the combination of different visual stimuli allow us to understand and interact with the world, along with being pulled in every which direction along the way.