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?


Dombroski: Celebrex Analysis

In 2005 a very questionable ad from Pfizer Pharmaceuticals for their pill, Celebrex. The ad itself is a very diluted and watered down ad. Generally it’s not a bad thing, but the way this ad did it was a very distasteful route. They hid lots of the warnings and “fine print” in a text based outline illustration. It made the ad look fun and creative, but when you read the words and hear what they’re saying it is actually pretty disgusting that they’re masking the risks in the way that they are. Dombroski essentially analyzed this ad and made it abundantly clear how terrible the ad is, on both an ethos and pathos level.

Things I disliked about the ad. The color palette was blue and white. This was done without a doubt to encourage the consumption of the drug. The warnings and side effects hide pleasantly in a sea of relaxing blue. A more appropriate color would be red to denote dangers or issues. The background music only helps the blue and happy animations in the background. The illustrations being made of words camouflages the meaning of not only the words, but because you’re so focused on the moving text you don’t get to process the audible words either.

The following link goes to a video of a fake drug ad, which helps see all the truly terrible ways drug companies hide side effects of their drugs to help push them onto people.

Spoof Drug Ad

Objectively, do you think Pharmaceutical Companies achieve their goal of making an ad that sells their product? Regardless of ethos?

Manning and Amare on Visual Ethics

The article opens up into 3 categories for ethics to be displayed. The first category is for the visuals to provoke feelings. These are called decorative elements. The 2nd goal is the provocation of actions, these are called indicative  elements. The 3rd goal is promotoing understanding, and these are naturally called informatives. They also sort and categorize 6 different ethical approaches of analyzing images. These are listed as follows: Categorical Imperative, Utilitarianism, Hedonism, Golden Mean, Golden Rule, and Veil of Ignorance. These are brought up to relate mostly to written and oral communication. Manning and Amare move back into visual graphics by stating that retaining ethos goes far beyond simply knowing the audience. They make a Tufte-esque claim with talk about unnecessary chart visuals and how they don’t contribute to the graph and they are essentially unethical. They work on building a system proper to measure ethos in graphs.

This article was a more realistic take on “humanistic” graphics and ethical graphics. The reading from Voss for Wednesday addressed the issue, but it did it very poorly and in a way that was borderline ridiculous. Manning and Amare do a good job at taking an approach to ethical rhetoric opposed to just ethics as a whole.

In the graphic below, would you class it as an Informative or a Decorative graphic?

Dragga and Voss

For today’s reading we disect Dragga and Voss as they more or less crucify how data graphics are created today. They believe there’s no human attachment to data graphics anymore. They use an example of 2 pie charts about lumberjacks, oddly enough. They had a mountain of other examples, but the lumberjack one stuck with me, as I went on a Monty Python kick last week. At the end of the examples and article they provide some fun ways in which they could humanize the graphics more. Most of the graphs they provided were very wordy and complex, I’m not sure if that was intentional, but I would associate that with a humanity driven graph, as the human presence is more rooted with text.

I don’t fully understand how anything technical or digital can be “humanized”. I guess having a more technically inclined background opposed to English and Rhetoric stunts that understanding. The way I picture the humanity aspect of a graph is how well it can relate to a viewer, and how well it does with conveying that message. Graphs with lots of text, images, and lines (to me) are more “humanized” as there is a larger visible human presence, that doesn’t mean that the graph is better though. The way to make an idea more “humanized” would be the body encompassing the data graphic, not the graphic itself. For instance a scientific paper wouldn’t be fitting for a persuasive argument. Misusing formatting itself would be inhumane as it would dull the reader and reduce pathos.

What are some ways would humanize this graph, if any?

Kostelnick vs Tufte: The Clarity Conundrum

The article for today’s reading is a direct response from Kostelnick to Tufte and how he uses graphics for data display. To break down the broad spectrum of data visualization, Kostelnick separates data graphics into 4 groups. The first group rhetoric of science. His hinge pin word for this section is Clarity. Clarity by his definition is essentially how effective your graphics are at communicating their data. He makes the bold claim that clarity is more important to the actual researchers and statisticians opposed to the actual animator or designer.He then calls Tufte out and rips into Tufte’s data display tactics. Kostelnick doesn’t think that making the data as minimalistic as possible is the right way to go. Though it leaves only the essentials for reading the data, there’s an added chance for ambiguity, added guides or content can help keep miscommunication to a minimum if it’s used wrongly. The next rhetorical application is call rhetorical adaption. This essentially refers to designers having to appeal to a wide array of viewer backgrounds. This is also where Kostelnick seems to agree with Tufte on “chart junk”, which is decorative and useless visuals which detract from the data. The next rhetoric he covers is social rhetoric which is essentially any form of rhetoric used by a specific body, or how that body has been trained to handle that form of rhetoric. Lastly we get to what he calls “Rhetoric of Participation” which is in reference to the increasing availability of technology and information. That leads to a wider access to infographics and data. This section also had a plethora of examples of data visualization.

Below I have a satirical infographic about polar area graphs. Can you think of an instance when one of these would EVER be the best way to visualize data? Why?

Tufte on Visuals

We open this article to a fairly gruesome tale, appropriate for the Halloween season, of a man named John Snow (not from Game of Thrones) who discovered Cholera was indeed spread through contaminated water and not the air. In this discovery he saved lives, and this is due to the way he analyzed and solved the problem. Tufte says that Snow created a dot map of the well and those who died. This visualized the Data and helped in discrediting the popular opinion that Cholera was in the air, because there were many deaths outside the area-of-effect. Consequently, those who died had a connection to the well. Tufte does argue that Snow’s map wasn’t perfect, because it doesn’t compare the data given. I would argue against Tufte, in that his map compared the AoE of the airbourne illness vs the actual deaths due to Cholera. Essentially, Snow did well with looking at the data as a whole and isolating the data relative to the problem. He looked at cause and effect and compared popular belief to the effects he drew on, and realized there wasn’t much correlation.

I pulled from this it’s important to not be biased in  your research, and ensure that you’re not only providing the required data, but you’re doing it in a way that is ethical, factual, and honest. Back to Tufte’s scenario, whoever passed the idea that Cholera was airbourne was responsible for those deaths. Because his statements were rooted in theory and not truth.

How are you using Tufte’s 4 points in Case Study 2?

Here we have dot map of murders in the US.

10/28 Material

We had 2 readings for this post. Firstly, Communicating with Animated Infographics. This reading broke down infographics into 2 main types. One type being those Depicting Statistics. These are infographics who’s soul purpose is to illustrate data and numbers. The other is Animated Explanations. These are, just as they sound, and explanation of an idea. The provided video link didn’t work, as the video privacy had been changed from public. So I can only guess as to what the rest of the article discussed. The 2nd reading was Themes for a Good Infographic and dealed with some of the key components an Infographic should have to be effective. The biggest section to me is one we played on a lot with our in-class examples, and that was the section explaining how an infographic should work on it’s own. It’s also stupid useful because our 2nd case study will be strictly visual, so we won’t have any audio to support our work, which is what many of the in-class examples we did last week used, and when the animations were muted, they became exponentially harder to understand. Making an infographic “self-sufficient” will not only make it easier to understand, but it will make it quicker to understand, meaning you can work that much more data into your infographic.

Both these readings are helping reaffirm positive theories and ideas I have about infographics, many of the ideas the articles hit on are common sense, but they’re so basic, that reading them is almost necessary because they’re so small they are easily over looked.

For my example, I’m using a video from my last project, this video is a game trailer, which illustrates the background for a game not yet out. It does so through an infographical (today, that’s a word) story. It uses animations of processes and narration to convey the message. Though it doesn’t quite stand on it own, I think that it’s easy to draw conclusions based on the text and animations.

What are some other ways infographics are supported other than sound? The precedent set in class during our in-class examples was primarily narration.