Carlos Salinas

Toward a critical rhetoric of images: Design/writing within a corporate web site 2000

Carlos Dominic Salinas

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2000 pp: 225
  • Advisor: Sullivan, Patricia
  • Source: DAI-A 62/11, p. 3767, May 2002
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Mass Communications (0708); Business Administration, Marketing (0338); Design And Decorative Arts (0389)
  • ProQuest Document Number: 304639879
  • ISBN: 0-493-46236-8
  • UMI Number: AAT 3033160


    This study develops a configural theory for the strategic design/writing and critical reading of images, using the case of Nike’s 1997-1998 web site to center the discussion. Images are theorized as configurations: as designed/written artifacts, rhetorically figured, representing particular ideologies and values, and projecting their maker’s ethos. I argue that the explosion of corporate presence within the Internet and World Wide Web, our culture’s increased reliance on and preference for “visual communication” and the emergence of image intensive web writing on corporate sites necessitates that we reject functional theories of images common to technical and professional communication in favor of my critical rhetoric. I use (post) critical methodologies to situate my study as a rhetorical case analysis, and derive my theory in part from the research situation, viz., from the Nike corporate case. My configural theory also derives from cultural studies, graphic design, and poststructuralism, and my discussion of those theories suggests a method for critically reading images as well as a heuristic for strategically design/writing them, which I articulate as a scheme to use in my subsequent image analyses. My image analyses show how images from Nike’s web site function as configurations, and suggest design techniques that can be used for the production of images. These analyses also suggest that technical and professional communication needs more research into the production and consumption of images.