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VISUAL RHETORIC

Or, Fancy Terminology to Make You Sound Smart While Explaining Why Things Look Pretty or Cool

Alignment
Use this word to describe the way words and images are laid out on a page.

Alignment

Balance
Balance means balance. Youre smart, you can understand that. No one aspect or part of a page is significantly heavier than the others. (Unless, of course, its supposed to be more important visual rhetoric is just like grammar! The rules are not strict.)

Balance

Balance

Color Theory
Color Theory is simple its based on the color wheel. Colors directly across from each other contrast. Colors next to each other blend.

Color theory

Color theory

Contrast
Contrast is not just black and white, and its not just something you can increase on your photos to make yourself seem more skilled. Its a part of color theory, and any opposing colors on the color wheel can contrast.

But Wait! Contrast 2.0


Contrast is not just about colorsthere can also be visual contrast based on size (as in the different type-sizes on this poster), typography, shape, and more. Consider also the idea of expectations sometimes a visual design contrasts with preconceived notions of what that design should look like.

Spatial contrast

Focal Point
A focal point is the main element on a page that your eye is drawn to you may have heard this term used on home design shows. In a room, a focal point is the thing you look at first when you walk ina zebra couch, a velvet Elvis painting, a fireplace Its the same thing in visual rhetoric. (In fact, that is visual rhetoric.) What do you notice first?

Focal Point

Negative Space
Negative space is the space around or not being used by the focal point.

Negative Space

Negative Space

Proximity
Proximity refers to the amount of visual space between objects on a page. Lots of space between objects can indicate that they are unrelated, while objects placed close together are more likely to be related. Chuck Norris and this dog are far from each other and dont even seem to be in the same imagemaking this poster (text) hard to understand (and just plain ugly).

Proximity

Proximity

Repetition
Repetition of shapes, images, or colors creates visual unity. And it usually looks pretty cool.

Repetition

Repetition

Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds comes from photography. To test if a visual text uses the rule of thirds, draw 2 horizontal lines dividing the image into thirds and two vertical lines dividing the image into thirds. To successfully use the rule of thirds, the focal point must occur at one of the intersections of the dividing lines. Visual texts using the rule of thirds tend to be more visually interesting than those that do not (though not always).

Rule of thirds

Rule of thirds