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Academic Portfolio: Rhetorical Analysis

Report Analyzing an Organization's Visual Media

Instructions: Work with one other student to analyze an organization's use of visual media. Visual media includes online and print material such as brochures, applications, and quarterly newsletters, social media channels such as Facebook page, Twitter profile, and YouTube channel, and website design and development.

Using Adobe InDesign, we generated a report which analyzed the The National Endowment for the Arts' rhetorical aims of its visual style, then chose two visual media samples to compare/contrast and explore any inconsistencies among its communication efforts across multiple platforms.

Biggest Challenge(s): The biggest challenge was having to combine theory and practice within one assignment. Not only were we required to analyze various forms of visual media individually, but we also had to make sense of the organization's message and determine how all of these various materials worked cohesively to effectively communicate this message. After nailing down the theoretical aspect of the assignment, we had to put it all together with Adobe InDesign using images as examples to support our arguments.

How I Overcame the Challenge(s): My partner's analytical skills complemented my own, and together we were able to use our unique strengths to produce a thoughtful rhetorical analysis. When it came to designing and compiling the deliverables, we sought help from fellow students with graphic design experience and background to learn techniques necessary for integrating text and image into a professional-looking report.

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Visual Media Genre Analysis

Instructions: Analyze a specific genre of visual media, with an aim to better understand the conventions and possibilities of that genre.

For this project, I chose to analyze comic books and graphic novels as a visual media genre. After collecting multiple sources and examples to use for my analysis, along with outside resources such as comic theorist Scott McCloud, I explored how the visual media genre has undergone the process of remediation - adapting from print to web environments, and treating the computer screen as a window or "infinite canvas" instead of a page.

Biggest Challenge(s): While I had come to enjoy reading classic franchises as well as less-popular storylines within the genre, it was very challenging to collect items from multiple categories (i.e. web vs. print, journalistic vs. entertaining, fiction vs. non-fiction, etc.) and determine how the genre as a whole has evolved from print to web and the implications of this evolution for creators, publishers, and readers.

How I Overcame the Challenge(s): I thoroughly researched each item I collected, taking notes and finding connections along the way. With the help of McCloud's books Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics, I was able to apply concepts that were unique to comic books and graphic novels as a genre. For example, McCloud lists various types of "panel-to-panel transitions," and how readers are required to use their imagination to determine what happens in the blank spaces between panels. In my report, I explore how such transitions are used, if at all, in the digital environment that allows the incorporation of animation within and between panels.

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