Humanizing Visual Design : The Rhetoric of Human Forms in Practical Communication book cover
1st Edition

Humanizing Visual Design
The Rhetoric of Human Forms in Practical Communication

ISBN 9781138071513
Published April 3, 2019 by Routledge
298 Pages 115 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $160.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This book analyzes the role that human forms play in visualizing practical information and in making that information understandable, accessible, inviting, and meaningful to readers—in short, "humanizing" it.

Although human figures have long been deployed in practical communication, their uses in this context have received little systematic analysis. Drawing on rhetorical theory, art history, design studies, and historical and contemporary examples, the book explores the many rhetorical purposes that human forms play in functional pictures, including empowering readers, narrating processes, invoking social and cultural identities, fostering pathos appeals, and visualizing data.

The book is aimed at scholars, teachers, and practitioners in business, technical, and professional communication as well as an interdisciplinary audience in rhetoric, art and design, journalism, engineering, marketing, science, and history.

Table of Contents

1. Foundations for Picturing Human Forms: Conventions, Historical Context, and the Confluence of the Fine and Applied Arts
2. Human Forms in Action: Agency and Empowerment, both Individual and Collective
3. Animating Visual Narratives with Agency: Temporality, Pictures, and Human Forms
4. Figures in Cultural Context: Envisioning Identity with Human Forms
5. Emotional Appeals in Picturing People: The Rhetoric of Equanimity and Distress
6. Humanizing Data Visualization: The Rhetorical Dynamics of Designing Data with Human Forms

View More



Charles Kostelnick is Professor of English at Iowa State University, USA


"The Visual Rhetoric of Human Forms in Practical Communication is destined to become an essential book for anyone serious about the study of the human figure in functional communication. Drawing on a wide range of historical and contemporary images, Charles Kostelnick argues persuasively that human figures in design are essential to understanding processes and stories." -Marguerite Helmers, Defining Visual Rhetorics