Analyzing Multimodal Projects
[Taken from the first edition of Writer / Designer]
“If you can analyze how a text works, you can often apply that understanding to the design of your own text” (Arola, Sheppard, & Ball 27).
Rhetoric: “the study of making texts that effectively persuade an audience toward change” (21)
Rhetorical situation: “the set of circumstances in which an author creates a text” (21).
- Author (25-26):
- How does the author (implied or actual) establish credibility?
- Does the author (implied or actual) have a certain reputation? Does the text work to support this reputation, or does it work to alter this reputation?
- If you know who the actual author is, can you find any historical or biographic information that will help you understand his or her credibility, character, and reputation?
- Will the audience trust this author? Why or why not?
- Audience (22-23):
- Who is the intended audience?
- Who might be the secondary audience(s)?
- What values or opinions do the primary and secondary audiences hold?
- Does the author appeal to these values or opinions in any way?
- Purpose (23-24):
- What do you consider to be the overall intention for the text? Why?
- Do you think there might be one or more secondary intentions? Why?
- Context (24-25):
- What is the medium? Why did the author choose this medium instead of another?
- Where did you find the text? What was the publication venue (book, newspaper, tv, web, etc.)?
- What were the historical conventions for this type of text? What materials, media, or publishing venues were available at the time?
- What are the social and cultural connotations within the text? What colors, pictures, or phrases are used? What technologies does the text use?
- How will readers interact with this text? Will they read it on their phone or tablet while walking down the street? on a desktop computer in a public library? on a laptop in their backyard?
- Genre (26-27):
- How might you define the genre of the text? Consider both a broad definition and a more specific definition.
- In what ways is the text similar to other texts within this genre?
- What key features make it part of the genre you’ve identified?
Your analysis of the text should consider how the design choices made by the author affect the rhetorical situation (31).
- “gives certain elements greater importance, significance, or stress than other elements in the text” (31).
- “the difference between elements, where the combination of those elements makes on element stand out from another” (33).
- “the way in which elements are arranged to form a coherent unit or functioning whole” (34).
- How elements are arranged relative to one another; horizontal and vertical alignment affect the ways in which “our eyes move across a text” (35).
- How closely elements (visual or aural) are placed to one another (36).