A05: Visual Rhetoric

Visuals ONLY!

As an example of a visual argument analysis, we’ll examine just ten seconds worth of images from a 2-minute video that promotes a social good.

While the producers depend on:

  1. music to set the tone for their work, and
  2. sound effects to enhance the verisimilitude, and
  3. dialog to convey the character interactions, and
  4. voiceover narration to deliver the subject matter,

we’ll restrict ourselves in class, and you will restrict yourself as you work on your assignment, to the VISUALS ONLY.

Lecture Page and Video Stills

Your Challenge

Before our TUE FEB 14 class (the deadline is 11:59pm MON FEB 13), you’ll select any visual you like from the library of  Ad Council Public Service Announcements at YouTube:

30-second Ad Council PSAs

and use it to produce your own visual analysis: a non-formal piece of rhetorical writing you will format as a Time-Stamped report of what is seen on screen second by second in as much detail as you can provide.

In class today, we’ll preview one or more videos to familiarize you with visual analysis and prepare you for making your own Notes to complete A05.


  • Find a visual argument worth your while among the PSAs produced by the Ad Council.
    • You don’t want your analysis tainted by soundtrack, sound effects, dialogue, or voiceover narration.
  • Write your Analysis of a Visual Argument post using techniques practiced in class.
  • For a sample visual analysis, study the Lecture page titled Analyzing Visual Argument in which your instructor breaks down 10 seconds of video.
  • Structure your analysis as a timeline detailing what occurs second by second. (There needn’t be 30 entries; sometimes an image stays on screen for several seconds without much change; let the changes be your guide.)
  • Organize your observations with Time Stamps, indicating what happens every second (or every few seconds) but WITHOUT SHOWING SCREENCAPS.
    • Describe the visuals in sufficient detail that readers can visualize the scene without seeing them.
    • Using screencaps to show the images defeats the purpose of the exercise, which is for you to communicate in words what the directors are showing.
  • For help on determining whether or not you’ve provided enough detail, link to Visual Argument: How Much Detail?


  • Title your post Visual Rhetoric—Username.
  • Publish your definition essay in the A05: Visual Rhetoric category.
  • Put it also in your Username category (submenu of Author)
  • Be sure to UNCHECK the 123 UNCHECK THIS BOX category.


  • DEADLINE: Midnight SUN (11:59 pm SUN SEP 18)
  • Customary late penalties. (Late less than 24 hours 10%) (24-48 hours 20%) (48+ hours, 0 grade)
  • This analysis will become part of your Portfolio and will therefore be a component of your 75% portfolio grade.
  • Major Portfolio Argument (Complete Portfolio is 75% of Course Grade)