Visual Argument

For my final class assignment – a visual argument – I have decided to create a piece on “emotional driving.”

According to teendriversource.org, sponsored by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, “Emotions, whether positive or negative, can have a powerful effect on drivers of all ages. This is particularly true of teens, who experience academic pressures and dramatic emotional changes.” I remember learning in Driver’s Ed that it was never a good idea to get behind the wheel when upset. This heightened emotional state often takes precedent over the calm, cool and collected demeanor you should have when driving. Your mind isn’t focused on the road and your surroundings but rather on whatever or whomever has caused you to be angry or saddened. Despite these words of advice and caution, I knew plenty of my fellow classmates who, when frustrated, would go out for a drive to “calm down.” For whatever strange reason, going eighty miles per hour on a back-road with a forty speed limit was “calming.” While I was never one to be that extreme, I am also at fault for having driven when overly stressed.

It’s important for people – I am going to focus on teenagers here in particular – to have an outlet. While some might exercise, go on a walk, listen to music, or vent to a friend, others turn to driving their frustrations away. When motor vehicles are thrown into the mix, it becomes dangerous. Not only is the driver’s life at stake, but those around them are as well because they are a hazard behind the wheel.

Dmv.org states, “If you are angry or upset or otherwise annoyed, whether due to something unrelated to driving or because of a driving incident, pull over or off of the road. Take a few moments to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and relax… just stay off of the road until you have time to settle down.” I believe this is smart advice, and as a teenager who is slowly entering her twenties, it’s advice I wish that I and my friends would have paid more attention to.

I want to spread the message that driving when emotional is a poor decision. Everyone always hears about driving under the influence of drugs, specifically alcohol, and the familiar mantra of no-texting-and-driving, but I don’t think “emotional driving” is emphasized enough. I plan to direct my project at teenagers between the ages of fourteen (the legal driving age in some states) and nineteen. High school is a time when pressure tends to be at an all-time high, and I think student-aged people need to hear this message the most.

Right now, I have gathered all of the pictures I plan to use, and I am in the midst of creating a short video. I am looking forward to showcasing my photography, videography, and audio skills through this project!

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Design Affects Educational Learning

I am taking an online Western Civilization II course through a community college back home. It started last week, and one of the seven weekly assignments was to watch this video on the Battle of Lützen in 1632.

…it was painful, to say the least, and not because the war wasn’t interesting, but because of the way the designer chose to format the video.

I took several screenshots to illustrate my point:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC5RusVOoZ8

Found on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC5RusVOoZ8

Found on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC5RusVOoZ8

Found on YouTube.

Personally, I think the choice of backgrounds were not efficient. Although the black-and-white pictures are informative in a visual aspect, they distract from the text which really explains what’s happening. At the same time, the designer picked fluorescent yellow, vibrant red, and black as font colors to accompany the already busy photos. I found that I could not read most of this video (and mind you, it was nine minutes in length).

The historical information found in this video is probably incredibly accurate, so I can understand why my professor chose this particular video as a learning tool. However, the designer did not create it in such a way that it could be an effective learning tool, and that is the root of the problem.

It’s interesting how CRAP, elements of design, principles of design, color, and type truly matter. Whether it be through a document, flyer, pamphlet, poster, or even a YouTube video, they all work together to either make or break a project. I figured this was just something to keep in mind as we begin our first major “Document Design” project!

Williams, Robin. The Non-Designer’s Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice. 3rd ed. Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press, 2008. Print.