Project 2: Analyzing Visual Rhetoric

Terms You Should Know

  • Stakeholder: a party who has varying levels of interest, investment (both financial and non-monetary), influence, and concern in the activities, projects, mission, and/or outcomes of an organization/company.
  • Stakeholder Goals: aims that intend to persuade and inform others of the stakeholder’s interests, missions, and messages often communicated through visual or textual argument, or a combination of both.
  • Visual Rhetoric: the use of images as argument (how we are persuaded by and make meaning of what we see), arrangements of aesthetic elements (space, color, texture) on a page for rhetorical effect (persuasive impact), the use of typography (fonts), and/or the analysis of images and other visuals that already exist.
  • Rhetorical Appeals: strategies used in the art of persuasion to include Ethos (appeal to credibility or morality), Pathos (appeal to the emotions), Logos (appeals to logic and reason), and Kairos (appeal to timeliness).
  • Rhetorical Fallacies: appeals that manipulate and distract an audience with faulty logic, twisted judgment, detraction of a writer’s credibility, or jumbled language that plays on an audience’s emotions.


The purpose of Project 2 is to recognize and understand the visual choices stakeholders make in designing images that best represent their goals, which encompass their interests, missions, and message. Whether an image is designed for an advertisement, public service announcement, flyer, brochure, billboard or website, stakeholders deliberately intend to persuade their audience by using effective rhetorical appeals. A rhetorical visual analysis is a strategy to make meaning of what you see, to separate parts of an image from the whole, and to make connections as to how the image communicates its messages and meanings in a way that aligns with the stakeholder’s goals.

Project Assignment Components

Project 2 has five parts that progress the visual analysis process:

  1. Focusing your research by responding to guiding questions as your early draft.
  2. Formalizing your research by writing your intermediate draft.
  3. Practicing peer review skills by responding to your peers’ intermediate draft.
  4. Mapping your revision plan to making your visual analysis stronger.
  5. Finalizing your visual analysis.

Each project component will target specific learning outcomes, describe the assignment, and identify the assignment weight and assessment criteria. Each project component will be introduced and supported by in-class activities and homework assignments. Project 2 is worth 25% of your final grade.