The grid never changes. It is always the interior that changes, and that is what makes the thing come alive. — Paul Rand
Constraints give us focus. In graphic design, we use grids as an instrument for ordering text and images on the page and screen. Similarly, rhetoric, the art of using language to communicate effectively and persuasively, offers constraints to help us focus on designing information that effectively communicates to our users.
Admittedly, rhetoric has negative connotations. Google “rhetoric” in the news, and it’s all politics and deceit. But beyond our preconceptions and rhetoric’s dirty laundry is a useful methodology for designing purposeful and effective websites.
Since the time of Aristotle, five principles have guided the parts and functions of intentional and effective communication; these principles are referred to as the five canons of rhetoric. The following definitions and explanations consider written and visual communication, although traditionally these principles concern verbal communication.
These five principles are timeless; they guide effective communication across mediums, as well as languages and cultures. In following posts, I’ll share how these principles can be applied to web design. My next post will focus on the topics of invention and how to choose the best available means of persuasion in the context of planning a website.
Mule creates delightful interfaces, strong identities, and clear voices for useful systems and nice people.
Also, We are funnier than all other designers.