You Know Communication is Key
Most of us understand the idea of rhetoric, which is the process by which we choose words to communicate our ideas in specific situations. While the term often gets a bad rap (“that political speech was full of empty rhetoric”), on a fundamental level, rhetoric is more robust than that. It’s about understanding who you’re talking to, what their values are, and what they bring to the conversation. It’s about having a deep understanding of your content. It’s about presenting yourself in a way that creates credibility and trustworthiness.
As professionals, we are constantly managing our rhetoric: we write emails to clients and we consider how best to phrase our messages to be respectful. We construct our website content to speak to our audience on their level, so they recognize we understand their needs and to show we can provide solutions or products to meet those needs. We edit and proofread our documents to avoid errors that might make us seem hasty or slapdash.
But Visual Communication is Equally Crucial
Did you know, however, that the same amount of rhetorical consideration should be given to images? Visual rhetoric can be tricky, though, because often meaning in images are more implicit and more complexly layered than in text.
Consider this picture; we’ll call him Hugh.
On its face, this image of Hugh may seem straightforward. But the man smoking the pipe is more than just a random dude wearing knickers and a golf hat. Your audience may or may not know that in the 1500s, Queen Elizabeth passed a law requiring working class men to wear these flat wool hats in an effort to stimulate the Irish-English wool trade (the nobility and wealthy were exempt!). It wasn’t until the 20th Century that the style was appropriated by the upper class for golfing and driving. The look on his face and his fist clutching his lapel could be construed as expressions of contrition, secrecy, or diffidence. In addition, the image forces a color palette of greens and browns. And finally, most will recognize Hugh as clip art, which is from a library of pre-made pictures, often free with most word processing software. The cartoon-quality and its relative ubiquity (everyone has this image of Hugh on their computer) evokes a general lack of sophistication.
Would Hugh be an appropriate image to use to deliver information about a brand, product, or service? Possibly, if you had a pipe and tobacco shop, you wanted to communicate an historical-yet-humorous British vibe, your brand colors were already green and brown, and you didn’t care that the pipe and tobacco shop in the next town over is probably using the same image. But more likely, Hugh isn’t really going to provide an accurate rhetorical meaning for you, because Hugh wasn’t made with your specific pipe and tobacco shop in mind.
Hayman Studio Can Save You from Hugh
The breakdown of Hugh’s image is an example of how detailed our team gets with our Visual Asset Review. The creative team at Hayman Studio are experts in reading (and composing) rhetorically precise images. Are you struggling to present your brand visually? Are you uncertain whether your logo, the images on your website, or other visual assets in your marketing materials are doing the work that you want them to? Are you having trouble coming up with new visual assets to bring the bang of your new product or service?
With Hayman Studio’s Visual Asset Review, we collect all the iterations of your brand’s visual assets. We evaluate their effectiveness. We perform an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses and establish opportunities to make changes for improvement. We can put an actionable plan together to maximize the value of your existing assets, to compose new ones – or to reimagine and refresh your brand entirely.
Call Ryan today (717) 843- 8338 or email [firstname.lastname@example.org] to schedule your Visual Asset Review – we’re excited to review your Hugh.