Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Target's Logo

Q: Choose a company logo and write about its qualities as a picture, symbol, and a sign.

As a picture, the Target logo does not invoke a literal association with an actual target. The circles are too perfect and the lack of a background immediately inform the viewer that this is not something that you are going to encounter in the real world, unless you happen to see a picture of it somewhere, say perhaps in or near a shopping mall. As a symbol, when looked at without the text that says "Target", it is clear that this represents a target. The layered red and white rings of varying sizes are unlikely to represent anything else. Someone might interpret this as an indication that they are on the right track, or that the correct path is ahead of them. As a sign, obviously the successful chain of retail stores has saturated culture with their sign through advertising and prominent placement outside of or near malls, that it effectively lets people know that a flyer with the image on it belongs to them, or that if they follow the sign, they will arrive at one of these shopping centers. Because they clearly thought their logo through strategically, there is no question about what it should be associated with. Had they picked a cube, or a pyramid, the association may not come as quickly, which might have negatively impacted the brand they created.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Blog Post 9/7/2009

Q: How are visuals and multimedia rhetorical? Explain.

According to Foss, Foss, and Trapp, rhetoric can be defined very simply as communication. Although they offer a lengthy description about how communication is broken down as symbols and signs that our brains interpret in certain ways, ultimately what they are saying is that rhetoric is the ability to communicate an idea from one person to another. Visuals and multimedia are an important type of communication in today's world because when we see certain images, our brain gives them certain meanings which are based in cultural context. For example, if we see a big octagonal red sign, we interpret that as stop. When we're driving, it means that we need to stop our car and look for traffic moving through an intersection. When we see a the same sign on a website, or in a book, it usually means that we need to take some extra time to consider something, or to not do something. For instance, a software manual might include a stop sign if there are additional steps that must be completed before moving on. Sometimes the portraits of people can carry special meanings as well. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. symbolizes equality and racial co-existence while a picture of Charles Manson, when used in conjunction with discussion of a certain policy might mean that it is dangerous, promoted inequality, or is might kill a person. The multimedia used to convey a message is as limitless as the human imagination, and the effectiveness is determines almost entirely by the author's ability to interpret social consciousness.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Looking Through the Sansa

Aside from my computer, the most used electronic device in the house is not the television, a radio, or a video game machine, but my MP3 player. I suppose that the MP3 player is the modern day high-tech, non-brand-name version of a walkman. Of course it's a walkman that can hold half of the albums I've ever bought on it at one time, which makes it a bit more useful when I go on one of my regular evening walks that lasts about an hour and covers about three miles. Rather than have bulky tapes stuffed in plastic cases that always seem to be falling apart, I instead can finish an album, or a song, and continue along my way, new tunes playing, an no worries about where to stash the tape I had been listening to.

And yes, I do realize that comparing an MP3 player to a Walkman dates me, but hey, at least I've been a computer geek all my life, as opposed to so many others my age who never actually considered using one until they were forced to for work.

So when I look at my Sansa (not Apple... thankfully not Apple), looking AT the thing is the simple act of figuring out how to make it function. Connect interface cord to the device and the other end to USB socket... copy songs to the device... go to settings and choose my memory card, reboot, and load up a bunch more songs... reboot again... wait for the database to refresh... wait some more for the database to refresh... place headset over ears... select music... select artist... look for album... What? Where's the album I want to listen to? I check the computer and realize that none of the MP3 files have the album name, so it's getting shuffled under unsorted. Fix the original files... plug in... load songs... reboot... wait. And this time there it is! The AT is taking the necessary steps to get it to play music. Now I can get past the AT and get to the THROUGH.

For an MP3 player, the THROUGH is simple. Once I hit play, I can listen to whatever I have loaded it with. I find that quite often this ends up being Collective Soul because just about everything album they've made in the last ten years is upbeat enough that it's beat and rhythm keep me moving. When it's not them, sometimes it's the Killers, or U2. It doesn't matter really, because once I get past the steps needed to make it work, it's a matter of enjoyment.