Dragga and Voss

I didn’t write Dragga and Voss post in the first place, however, since Mr.Liddle said that article is very famous in his field, I should give a try. Words and picture reinforce each other. However, “seeing is not believing”, and there is a limitation of the rules of ethics of visual communication, we could not avoid all the distortions and deceptions. We need to bring humanity to technical presentation, therefore “ethical visuals must be as humanistic as ethical words”. However some time, due to the efficiency of the statistic, it is hard to humanize certain visual. And sometime humanized graph is not easy understanding. My opinion on the cruel pie chart and all the humanized graph related opinions: I think it is not very necessary to try that hard to make viewer comfortable. A statistic graph, people certainly expect it to be precise and understandable. Humanization is decoration. To be frank, examples in the possible solution are just ridiculous.

Here is a humanized bar graph:)



So, is it really make people feel better by humanizing the graphs.

Barton and Barton

This article starts with something really deep and I am not sure I fully understood. I think authors are trying to reveal the essence of maps. Map is a powerful way to display statistical data and in order to be powerful enough, we need to denaturalize of the nature. Rule of inclusion is the method to determine what to draw in the map and what not to. To apply this to the course or the final project, I think we should let the viewer focus on exactly what creator focus on, some time this is hard. Rules of exclusion suggest me to not put too much or too hard information in the map or other project which will lead viewers have hard time on understanding it.

During the reading I found an interesting fact that I just known a couple of years ago, that is every society think they are the center of the world and in their maps, they are all in the center. Here is how China’s maps look like.


My question will be what else in this article could apply to our final project design.

Maps with BnB

Barton and Barton set out on an epic adventure to discuss rhetorical purposes of maps. The long and dry wording ultimately lead to 2 main rules in maps; inclusion and exclusion. Inclusion, is what specific things need to be mapped, what aspects of this thing need mapped, and how do those aspects need represented. Exclusion, Barton and Barton describe this as the things that didn’t make the cut for the cartographer or whoever made the map. For exclusion they used the example of mid-century Europe, not making maps with the lower class in mind.

In relation to our applicable life, maps are on their way out, with GPS and digital/ satellite imagery dominating the navigation market. We really only see maps in primitive camping situations or attractions (zoo, theme park, downtown, etc). Anymore if you need to get from point A to point B, you pull out your phone and use the GPS on that. We are then greeted with a to scale, interactive map, giving us a simplified (or detailed) satellite view, as well as landmarks, businesses, and more all at the click of a button. This makes BnB’s article a little dated in my opinion. I do think, however, that we can pull some information from it to apply to other rhetorical situations. The rules of inclusion for example, picking what to use in your rhetorical situation can be the most important phase of the design element. Include critical points or design choices and maximize their importance instead of cluttering your rhetorical medium with as much stuff as possible. Quality over quantity if you will.


How could the Purdue Campus map be reworked to “sell” the campus to a prospective student looking for a campus to attend? Would this be ethical?


barton and barton

In this chapter Barton and Barton explore the rhetorical purposes of maps.  Most of the reading was a little much for my attention span but there is some good info in the article. Barton and Barton discuss how maps have been thought to only be used to inform, not persuade. They then spend the majority of the chapter explaining why this is not always true. They discuss 2 conventions that are used in producing maps. These are inclusion and exclusion. These two supposedly used to gain dominance over the people. Inclusion concerns the things that are put on a map and how they are presented. Exclusion on the other hand involves the things that are left out. There are two types, explicit and implicit. It may be that these things aren’t important or that they people making the maps do not want people to know certain information.

When thinking about maps in a rhetorical context and how they can persuade people the first thing that came to my mind was maps of an amusement park. Maps of an amusement park are there to help you find your way around. They also are very graphic oriented. They are built in a way that is designed to get people to the attractions that they want. The rollercoasters are graphically displayed rather than the name just there. I think that these maps do more than just inform. They also persuade the people to want to see more of the park because they are interested in a certain attraction by the way it is represented on the map.


My question is, what if all maps were created like amusement park maps? What kinds of things would you like to see on maps?

Barton and Barton on Ideology and the Map

In this chapter, Barton and Barton seek to explain the rhetorical purposes of a map and how human experiences influence how they are perceived. They begin with two examples, one from Huckleberry Fin and the other from Borgés about a mythical empire. In Huckleberry Fin, Huck states that they must be in Illinois because everything around them is green and that they cannot possibly be in Indiana because he does not see any pink around him. His assumption comes from the fact that he has seen a map many times with each state being a different color and took the ideology of the colors as facts of the real world. In the mythical empire example, the cartographers of the empire could make perfect maps but found that small maps were somehow missing something. To remedy this, they constructed a map that was the same size as the empire and were able to match every structure point for point. The map created by the cartographers fails the purpose of being a map because it covers the entire empire and cannot be used to find your way around. The authors continue on to explain that map sales frequently increased during times of war by those with military forces in other countries. These areas gained a stigma because the maps became known for being used by war efforts. The authors also discuss that maps have been criticized for being oversimplified to show tourist destinations and attractions.

The image below is of a fairly simplified treasure map. We can easily see that this map would serve a purpose, to find hidden treasure, but does not do so very effectively. The map is far too simple to be interpreted convincingly and does not show enough detail to direct the viewer to the correct spot. A few spots on the map also try to convince the viewer of different things. The skull rock, monster in the upper right corner, ship, and blowing cloud all try to convince the viewer (whether convincingly or unconvincingly) that the area they are in is a dangerous place. Modern viewers can also look at this map and see those same visual cues and immediately associate this map as one that is used by pirates from our experiences with movies and television shows.

Question: Are physical maps still relevant with our vast access to maps on the internet? Google maps has multiple styles of map that can be accessed, should we criticize these different forms of map for being too simple or complex?


Barton and Barton and Maps

In this reading Barton and Barton discuss a couple of different things having to do with maps. The two big main things that they discuss that I am going to cover are the rules of inclusion and the rules of exclusion. In terms of map making the rules of inclusion determine whether something should be mapped, what aspects of a specific thing should be mapped, and how should the mapped aspects be represented? One example from the reading is the Hachette World Guide in which the man who wrote it seemed to be overly describing how beautiful the mountains were and he basically considered any area that had uneven ground to be a picturesque mountainous place. For the rules of exclusion Barton and Barton talked about how studying what someone making a map chose not to put on the map can be just as telling and informative. In this section they talk about how in European cartography the people making the maps during a specific period in time seemed to not even bother including things or making maps for the lower classes that they deemed as not being able to understand or use maps.

I found this reading to be pretty dry and boring, but how Barton and Barton looked at and examined maps gave me a few useful details into how I could approach designing something. There examples about not trying to hard and overselling something because it serves a specific interest was very insightful and reading about the European map makers did give me a good look at how I should maybe not design something to specific and always be mindful that what I am making will inevitably be seen by people who maybe have no idea what the designed object is for but that doesn’t mean they should not be able to get any information from it at all. Below is a map of Middle Earth that when it was drawn used some of the inclusion and exclusion rules from the reading. There is definitely mountains and forests shown on the map but not every tree is shown and not every city or town, just the ones deemed most important by the cartographer for us to know or remember.


My question is this: can you think of ways that these principles and rules can carry over to graphic design or at least motion graphics design?

A Response to Barton^2

In the chapter “Ideology and the Map: Toward a Postmodern Visual Design Practice” in the book Professional Communication: The Social Perspective, Ben and Marthalee Barton explore the map’s underlying rhetorical purposes. To introduce this subject, they first declare that all visual graphics have a rhetorical purpose and are trying to convince the audience in one way or another. Except for maps. Maps were supposedly the only type of graphic that had the purpose of simply informing the audience and not trying to convince them of anything. Off of this assumption, Barton and Barton continue to spend the rest of the chapter explaining why this is not true, organized by categories that describe characteristics of maps that can contradict this assertion. For example, one argument they described was that maps used to be attributed to war as map sales increased during wartime. People focused on maps for wartime purposes and thus constructed this stigma. Although, they also use a more opposite example, saying that maps have been criticized for portraying locations in an exaggeratedly positive light. This is most applicable when speaking to tourist maps or maps identifying spots for sightseeing, as stated, since they only include the more glorious features of the place and often times even exaggerate these features through additional graphics.

I do believe that Barton and Barton make a significant point about maps containing bias and its own rhetoric, but I don’t support their claims completely. I agree that there is not a visual graphic that does not, in some way, have rhetorical purpose of persuasion or bias. Although, I think Barton and Barton were dissecting maps to a bit of an extreme extent. I do not believe that peoples’ affiliations and personal biases with the overall genre of graphic should affect the message that is trying to be portrayed and I don’t believe they should have focused on that aspect so heavily.

My question is, which would have a more significant impact on the audience when interpreting a map’s data – the graphical bias created by the map itself or the audience’s predetermined, personal bias? Why?