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Rhetorical Image Analysis Essay

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Entering college comes with a new sense of freedom to do whatever a person wants. Partying and drinking, be it legal or illegal, is one of these freedoms. Its common, even encouraged and pressured that while out we partake in drinking and getting “wasted”. This has become a common stigma about college, and binge drinking has become a serious problem on all U.S. college campus. In an attempt to bring awareness of consequences of binge drinking Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board released a series of Public Service Announcements and launched a website to educate its target young audience to be careful while drinking. The public service announcements use very specific image and text placement, typography, and color to make their message evident in the still PSAs.

In general when a person looks at something they scan left to right, top to bottom, or at least primarily in English speaking areas, as that is how we read. With this being so, the first things our eyes sees is (what appears to be) a young woman’s bare legs, slightly separated from knee down, and her underwear around her ankles. She is placed in a vulnerable looking position on a bathroom floor to express the terrible act that just happen. This image is large and takes up most of the ad’s space. The designer of this clearly wants the image to be seen as important and a driving point in the PSA. However, what appears to be the most important are the words that are farther right on the ad, but cover part of the girl’s legs. The texts message about how the girl didn’t want this, but couldn’t say no is what appears to be the most important message of the entire ad. The block of text on the bottom is supporting text and considered less important on the ad so it therefore on the bottom.

It seems chronologically correct to be in this format with the website on the bottom since we read top to bottom. This was effective in keeping the PSA’s flow natural. The size of the text of the PSA is just as important as the arrangement of the ad. The website’s font is smaller than the text about the girl’s situation; this brings attention to emotional part of the ad first instead of the organization. It was an effective way to demonstrate the importance of the ad. However the explanation for the poster, the block of text below the larger, is smaller than the website. The designer seems to be planting the website into the reader before reading this section in case the reader gets distracted or bored, while this is an understandable attempt to get the audience to explore more on the website I believe it to be weakening to the Ad. The prevention and explanation of this PSA should be printed slightly larger to draw more attention to how the reader can stop something like this from happening. Font is the second factor in typography analysis. The designer used strong, bold font for the ad use expressing the seriousness of the PSA. It’s much more effective than more plain or whimsical text, however, the text is all the same.

The words seem to be almost running together. While overall the typography of the PSA is strongly effective, a bit more verity in the ad could draw more attention to it. Color is perhaps one of the biggest strategies the designer uses to convey the message of the PSA. The color turquoise is used as the leading color in the ad. The woman’s underwear, the tile on the bathroom floor, even the color behind the website is all shades of turquoise. The color turquoise is a form of communication between words and the heart. Turquoise is believed to help with clear thinking and decision-making, seeing as the PSA is about being aware and making smart choices it is a very appropriate color. The color is also supposed to bring things into focus in when multitasking; this is heightened by being completed with the white-wash tile and white text. Just as well turquoise is a color of emotion and empathy, making us more in-tune to our own feelings, needs, and emotions.

By placing the color throughout the ad and behind the website’s text connects the whole picture together. It brings a sort of coherency to the ad, making it seem professional and tied together. Choosing turquoise was smart and the most fitting for the ads message. The pressure from our peers to drink or be labeled a social outcast is a large one. It leads young adults to binge drinking and making irrational decisions that they otherwise wouldn’t. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board public service announcement about the danger of drinking was largely effect in its advertisement to express their message of safe drinking. The designer(s) of the ad use well thought out placement of images and text, typography, and color to make the ad as effective as possible.

Work Cited
Empowered By Color, (2014). The Color Turquoise. [online] Available at: http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/color-turquoise.html [Accessed 22 Oct. 2014].

Stebner, B. (2011). ‘She couldn’t say no’: The shocking state date-rape ad pulled amid anger over suggestions that drunken victims are to blame. [online] Mail Online. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2071890/She-say-Pennsylvania-Liquor-Control-Board-pulls-controversial-ad-blames-date-rape-victims-victims-friends-receiving-hundreds-complaints.html [Accessed 22 Oct. 2014].

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