See the South
In the 300-level Communications course, Corporate Publishing, our final assignment was to create an ad for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. The ad, to hypothetically be paced in an upcoming issue of Newsweek Magazine, was required to project high energy and fun to accurately portray the quirky and dynamic aspects of the museum. All of the textual content for the ad was explicitly stated. There were a variety of images of the museum to choose from and the tools of Illustrator and Photoshop were at our disposal to create an appealing advertisement that met the museum’s intended message. After creating the ad, we were required to compose a write-up, explaining our design choices.
Though the specifications set by the assignment were limiting in some ways, my rhetorical background gave me insight to decisions I still had the freedom to make when creating this advertisement.
There was a lot of text that had to be included on the page, but to make it stand out, I chose to put the white text on a black background. To reflect the kind of art in the museum, I chose a “modern” sans-serif font for the headline and used a serif font for body text for readability purposes.
To add visual interest to the advertisement, I used photographs we were given access to of the artwork and distorted them using Photoshop. My intention was not to showcase the artwork as much as it was to appeal to the interests of the audience who would be most likely to attend the museum. I made an assumption that they would be intrigued by distortion, considering a lot of the artwork in the museum in abstract. To supplement the discussion of the specific gallery in the description, I chose to include a picture of one of the pieces in its original form. The white text on the black background portrayed a feeling of clean-cut lines; I chose to emulate that in cutting the background surrounding the photo of the artwork and showing the clean-cut shape of Louisiana.
Though several design techniques were discussed throughout the semester, I attribute most of my design choices to my background in rhetoric. Corporate Publishing gave me more experience with Photoshop and InDesign, which helped me with the actual design of this advertisement and other assignments, but I would not credit my coursework in Corporate Publishing with leading me to making the choices I made. I wasn’t just looking at the advertisement as a marketing and promotional document. I thought about it as an argument made through the implementation of visual rhetoric. When I wrote the explanation of my choices, I was thinking about my decisions in terms of visual rhetoric, not necessarily what I’d learned in the Communications course. Considering the assignment in that light made me take it more seriously and think about each design choice I made more deliberately. Thankfully, the overlaps made my analysis applicable. I’m sure other students in my class without a PWR background completed the assignment successfully, but I’m sure we looked at it with a different perspective.
Looking at the assignment with a different perspective doesn’t make proofreading unimportant, but I am just now noticing I didn’t do that well enough. In the last sentence, I wrote “tract” instead of “trace.” Whoops!