Purpose for Graphic Design: Rhetorical Analysis III

A discussion from 2006 by Wikipedia user Joeadair focuses on how the Graphic Design page lacks a properly explained section for the purpose of Graphic Design. He plainly put into terms that we (Graphic Designers) design for two reasons: to organize information and to compel an audience. He states, “Although they often merge, the social ramifications of the latter, and its inherent complexity, are what I’d like to see addressed.” He hopes editors come to terms with his suggestion to make the specific field of Graphic Design seem more like a convention rather than a natural necessity—with clear monetary purposes anyone would be able to remember. Moreover, if the goal is to compel an audience, then we are really “psychologically compelling people to do things they might not have done.” Joeadair uses didactic writing throughout his argument. He focuses on moral concerns (meaning) in a way that is informative, yet also credible because of his experience as a Graphic Designer and political communicator. Joeadair establishes credibility through use of proper grammar, punctuation, formatting, and stylistic choices in comments, talk page suggestions, and his wiki user site. I see this editor using strategies such as ratiocination, anthypophora, and contrarium. Now I will analyze back-and-forth dialogue between the other editors and Joeadair, while paying adamant attention to these rhetorical devices.

Ratiocinatio – Reasoning (typically with oneself) by asking questions. 

Anythypophora – A figure of reasoning in which one asks and then immediately answers one’s own questions (or raises and then settles imaginary objections). 

Contrarium – Juxtaposing two opposing statements (=antithesis) in such a way as to prove the one from the other.

The first editor to respond was Oicumayberight. This user disagreed the Wiki page needed clear-cut purposes, though she did suggested Joeadair’s information go on the Communication Design page–the  place for ”a broader scope of design.”  Oicumayberight intended to dissuade Joeadair from pursuing the addition of purposes to the Graphic Design page.  This user’s last sentence is rather understandable, as the logic she uses strongly suggests there are infinite purposes for communication, so there should be no special mention to it on this particular design page. Joeadair came back disagreeing with the user’s “clinical” and “simplistic” assumptions, undermining Graphic Design’s unique goal to sell something.  Therefore, purpose is important to mention in the understanding of this specific field—perhaps not as clearly put as Joeadair came to point, but convinces the audience that there is truth in his claims and reason for his action. There is an importance in seeking out meaning by all the contributors, and yet most of them seem to be asking the same questions.

After another response from Oicumayberight, an editor named Adam Christpopher responded with some fresh insight. This user has a red color for his username (unlike past users) which I instantly recognized as a symbol for respected members of the Wikipedia community. He mentioned Graphic Design’s purpose is malleable; that it is the process worth including on the Wiki page, and “Graphic Design is communicating a sentiment or feeling.” This editor is not a designer, so he argues from an outsider’s perspective. He doesn’t seem to understand the connection Joeadair’s made in the first post of his experience with Graphic Design to political decisions on drilling being made in his hometown. As an editor, Adam Christopher completely disagreed with Joeadair about there being a specific purpose to Graphic Design. He is affective in making this point because “the term Graphic Design as we use it is not even about visual communication, JUST communication.” And not all communication is followed by payment or exchange—rather, purpose is the creation itself, the actions and reaction from audiences, and effectiveness with standards in the practice of communication. So purpose is considered an emotional tangent by Joeadair instead of actually being considered to the page. Although this user argues for his opinions and experiences, other users argue the other side, ultimately leveling out a sort of reasoning understood by all the contributors as experiental knowledge rather than practical on the field of Graphic Design.


Work Cited

“The Forest of Rhetoric.” Silva Rhetoricae. Bringham Young University, n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2013. <http://rhetoric.byu.edu/&gt;.


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