What is your research essay about?
In this research thesis, social campaigns were analyzed in the context of psychology, semiotics and rhetoric. Investigation is made into how visual arguments are constructed in social campaigns to persuade a target group. The first part of the research describes the basic psychology theories of information processing and attitude and behaviour change. The second part outlines how images create meaning with the help of semiotics. The last part explains the rhetorical dimension of imagery, showing how rhetorical figures can be used to help create a convincing visual argument and as a tool for the designer and the art director to generate and formulate different visual solutions in the course of a creative conceptual process.
Which findings do you consider most important?
This research does not pretend to be complete, rather it forms a personal starting point and overview for these topics. It should stimulate the reader to further reading by reviewing existing literature about the scope and construction of a visual argument. It gives creative people a wider theoretical background to justify their design choices and a grounding in these important subjects. Psychology theories play an important role in defining the approach of a target group. The rhetorical figures give the designer/creative a wide scope of possibilities to create different visual arguments of the same topic. The argumentation used depends on the psychological findings/theories.
What was your personal experience in doing the research and writing the essay?
It was great to get the possibility to connect the knowledge of my former study as social psychologist and as a graphic designer/visual communication professional. It showed me that there is a close link between these two areas and that this mix of knowledge creates new opportunities.
Do you use the research findings?
I am still researching and reading about the topics of psychology and rhetoric. In future I want to integrate the knowledge more into my professional career towards clients and education.
How do you look back at the year at MaHKU?
It was an inspiring year, with motivated teachers and interesting projects. Finally it all depends of your own interests and motivation to get out most of it.