Manning and Amare begin their article by discussing three ways to think rhetorically about visuals regardless of data accuracies. The first visual strategy is evoking a feeling using something decorative. This would include things like typography. The second strategy is choosing an indicative visual that provokes action by. This would include colors that grab attention or signs that give directions. The third strategy is to promote understanding by using visuals that clear up relationships. This includes things like charts or graphs. I liked what the authors said about the relatively new hybrid of combining visual and textual rhetoric all for the purpose of promoting ethics. I think this is the most effective way to create new and interesting data visuals instead of trying so hard to set the two types of rhetoric apart.

Manning and Amare go on to discuss visual rhetoric in various frameworks. The first is a Piercian approach to visual ethics. In this discussion, the authors agree with Pierce and reject the utilitarian mindset of maximizing pleasure and assuring the immediate realization of truth by the audience. Instead, the authors express that it is the discovery and research that makes the truth more effective. As long as the long term goal of getting a point across is accomplished, some immediate misunderstanding or provocation into studying is acceptable. Manning and Amare discuss in their second point that making visuals pleasing aesthetically is important, but should not be the #1 focus. Trying to “spice up” a presentation can go very wrong by fogging up the important data or adding distracting sounds and colors. It is a rhetorical choice in itself to balance visual strategies and visual rhetoric.


This is my example which I think does a good job of merging visual and textual rhetoric.

My question is how could we apply Tufte’s ideas of humanizing visual data to the three techniques presented by Manning and Amare? If we can’t think of how to apply the concept to all three, which technique would it fit into?


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