Visual Messages

The International Journal of Communication, Volume 10, 2016 has two insightful pieces for those interested in how mass audiences are influenced by campaign and news images:

Fonts of Potential: Areas for Typographic Research in Political Communication

Photojournalism: A Social Semiotic Approach

As noted in the above article and book review, visual shapes illustrate emotions, and merge with verbal meanings to create a holistic rhetorical message. Through the manipulation of simple shapes into a typopictorial design, and consequently the activation of existing mental associations, logos communicate prosperity, hope, and ideas that are relevant to people.

Press photographs have a narrative structure, and are part of an interactional system involving the relationship between the image, viewers, and the participants represented in the image. The compositional system involves framing, salience, and the reading path of the image.

In this structure, the nucleus includes the heading, the image, and a prosodic tail. The heading often relies on wordplay, calling on experiences of the reader to decode, while the image tends to depict represented participants in an eye-catching, aesthetically pleasing manner. The satellite is the caption text that consists of the experiential orientation and the contextual extension. The experiential orientation functions to clarify and sharpen our understanding of the image, while the contextual extension aims to extend beyond what is needed for readers to understand the image

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