How to Write Visual Rhetoric Essays

Visual rhetoric is as simple as understanding a concept in an image and writing to persuade a reader of that concept.

Visual rhetoric uses a combination of imagery and the written word to bring a particular concept into reality. The imagery utilized can include a wide variety of media such as photography, movie clips, graphs, newspaper clippings, web pages, charts and more. Visual rhetoric explains how a particular image brings a certain concept to a reader, forming a relationship with the image to make a concept stronger. Learning to write in the visual rhetoric medium is as simple as understanding a concept in an image and writing to persuade a reader of that concept.

Choose your image and study it to understand how the overall concept can affect the public.

Choose an image for your rhetoric essay. Pick from a variety of media including photography, newspaper clippings, movie clips, charts, graphs, etc. Once the image has been chosen, study the image and decide how the overall concept is attempting to affect the public.

Analyze the image and write a list of the different ideas encompassed by the concept.

Write a list of the different ideas that are to be incorporated in the paper. There is a list of questions in the critical thinking section of the Bedford Handbook that may aid in trying to understand and incorporate as many ideas into the overall concept as possible. These questions include looking into the first impression of the image, the elements that are immediately noticeable, the subject of the image, the colors and dominant textures, the foreground of the image versus the background, what role words play within the image and what questions the image draws to mind.

Outline the paper and begin writing.

Determine the purpose of the image. Write an outline of the paper to group together like ideas and to create a strong overall paper. Highlight the purpose of the image in the introductory paragraph. Follow the introduction with impressions of the image and the elements that are immediately noticeable. In the next section, discuss the subject of the image.

Continue writing about the image and draw a conclusion.

Follow the initial impressions of the image with a discussion of the makeup of the image--colors, textures, foreground versus background images, etc. Close the paper with the role of the image and what the image means to society.

Reread and edit the paper.

Reread the paper to make certain that the words used to describe the image are eliciting the desired response. Go over first impressions and final impressions and be certain that the material throughout the text draws readers towards understanding the concept of the image. Edit the paper for content and grammar and make edits.

Emily Lynn began writing in 2007. She worked for her campus newspaper, "The Pleiad," as an assistant sports editor, news editor, senior editor, contributing writer and layout designer. Emily has also published in "Women's Lifestyle Magazine of Greater Kalamazoo." She is a graduate of Albion College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a focus in creative writing and journalism.