The Write Major Blog

April 10, 2020

In this fourth installment of our Explore PWID series, Professor Jenn Wingerter introduces us to visual rhetoric — a design-focused course that teaches students how to visually design information for specific audiences, purposes, and contexts. Students typically take this course their sophomore or junior year. 

1. What is visual rhetoric?

Visual Rhetoric is a course designed to teach students how to understand the rhetoric of visual language and how to visually design information for specific audiences, purposes, and contexts. Those skills can then be transferred to a variety of industries and organizational uses.

2. What kind of writing, editing, and design occurs in Visual Rhetoric?

Visual Rhetoric is a design-focused course. Students learn that there are a variety of ways to implement visual design principles and have the opportunity to provide editing feedback to their peers based on those visual design principles. Visual design is a language in and of itself, and students get the opportunity to “write” and “edit” in the language of visual design.

3. Why do we teach this course?

It is essential that students be able to take any piece of information and lay out that information in a way that will visually meet the needs of the document’s user. The way that information is designed and organized can make or break the effectiveness of a document regardless of how well the information is written.

4. What is the day-to-day like in the classroom?

Students will typically interact with the course content in one of two ways:

  1. Students will experience a short lecture followed by the opportunity to work in groups to apply or discuss the lecture and textbook content. 
  2. Students will complete visual design homework assignments that they present to their peers. Students love the opportunity to see how their peers have implemented the same visual design principles in unique and varying ways.

5. What projects do students complete in this course?

Students design many smaller projects and a couple large projects in order to become proficient in their design skills. Some of the smaller projects include a business card, motivational poster, postcard, flyer, and tv channel schedule. Larger projects include the design of an infographic and a mobile app.

6. Who would enjoy this kind of work?

Anyone who loves to be creative would enjoy Visual Rhetoric. Also, any student that likes to find the most effective way to portray information for a specific audience and purpose would also enjoy this course.

Want to see what our students write, edit, and design? See some work from our students on our student portfolio page.

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