Author Archives: Donald Jordan

Painting Wholesale Business of Art In Bulk

Art in Bulk is a well reputed painting art producer in Xiamen, China. We are able to deliver well known oil painting on canvas at the best price. We’ve skilled artists of numerous painting subjects as well as art styles to do famous painting reproduction.

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All of portrait works of art are hand-painted on linen canvas in top quality by our pro artists who are are pro’s at creating family portraits, wedding portraits, pet portraits and so forth. You’ll be able to send us the photographs via email or mail the pictures.We will send you a digital pictures to confirm when the artists complete the oil paintings. As soon as you approve, the oil painting gets delivered to your door. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you are enthusiastic about commissioning a portrait or if you have any question. We stand by our work and that’s why we have a 100% satisfaction promise.

Let our experienced portrait artists convey this message for you with a high quality 100% hand painted portrait in artistic style, corporate, academic or government portrait painting to hang in boardroom, your workplace ,your bed room,your family area or workplace. Our portraits painting consist of Family portrait, children portrait, baby portrait, pet portrait, Corporate and Executive Oil Portraits, Government portrait painting etc .. An oil portrait painting of your beloved or pet painted from picture by artist is a specific present for birthday, Christmas, wedding, anniversary and special events. Imagine! You can now have a Magnificent true-to-life oil portrait painting of you or someone close to you created just for you – at a fraction of price made by innovative and well trained artist. It can be a family antique – passed down from generation to generation. We were paint the portrait for British imperial family, Europe’s congressman,famous singers and some celebrities.

Our mission would be to provide the best value works and service for portraits painting from picture and wholesale vendors, galleries and museums, hotels, dining places, interior designers, and buyers as well. With our outstanding products and support services, our company has been successfully cooperating with our frequent clients from over Europe, United states and others 20 countries, providing them the tailor-made cooperation plans.

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Your most treasured image can be turned into an oil painting portrait on canvas which not only brings a memory back to life but probably become a treasured heirloom of the long run for you and your family. It’s so easy – you send us your favorite photograph and one of our artists will reproduce it in oils to a standard of reproduction which can be guaranteed to delight you.

Charcoal drawing ideas for beginners

Today, I’m gonna be showing you how I make a charcoal drawing of this super hot guy. I love to teach drawing and mixed media projects to beginner and really artists of all levels. Now I actually have posted this. This is one of the very first projects I posted on my channel, but it was so many years ago that no one has seen it really.

So I wanted to take this old footage, and it’s the perfect timing to showcase this project because my new book on drawing and finding your style is coming out, oh, hopefully in the next month or so. So, stay tuned for information about that. But what is so great about this project is that it really shows the versatility of using charcoal. So when you’re doing super realistic faces, it’s so important not to show any hard lines. We don’t have lines that outline our faces. You can see here the outline. You just have a series of highlights and shadows and you’re gonna learn all about this in my new book and how to take photo references and interpret the shading and highlights so that when you’re drawing you can actually take all that information and plug it into your drawing to make super realistic pieces.

So what’s cool about charcoal is that it’s so smudgy and loose, and if you notice there, the text that came up on the screen was super fast, but I actually stuff a sock with loose charcoal and I pat it around the area to make the general regions that are light and dark. So, in this way, you’re automatically avoiding those harsh lines that can sometimes (laughs), I was talking to you, that sometimes show up when you’re using an instrument like the one I’m using now which is just a good charcoal pencil. So if you’re just using charcoal like that, or a pencil or graphic pencil, you’re getting these harsh lines that do not exist in reality. And so what’s awesome about charcoal, or using really soft graphite and a blending stump, is that you’re just getting those gradations of shadows which is what you need to use to create to make a super realistic face or just a face, it doesn’t have to even be realistic, that has a lot of dimensional.

So you’re taking your 2D paper and object and really transforming it into a three dimensional looking face. So you can see the nose is coming forward towards you and you can see the cheekbones and how chiseled they are. And the ears are these folds that undulate in and around, and all that is is a manipulation of lights and shadows and putting them in the right place. That’s all that is. And drawing realistically is so much more about using the information that you’re looking at and staring at in your reference and recreating that accurately on your paper.

It’s not so much knowing where the features go, although obviously that helps. It is literally about your observational skills and really seeing on your photographic reference what is where and going from one spot around the face slowly, slowly starting wherever you want, that’s not even important, and just interpreting and recreating the darkest darks, the medium tones, and the light. And trying to capture that all. It’s such a different skill than just simply building a face that’s realistic. It’s all lights and shadows. So you really spend most of your time, you’re drawing this way, staring down your reference and really (laughs) oh, I’m just waving to you with my yucky fingers, really just trying to interpret how light is that light and having your value scale. And I’ll put a card, I’ll link to another video that I put about value scale, and using the entire breadth of your value scale.

Order drawing

So you wanna make sure you have the blackest blacks in your drawing and you wanna make sure you’re using all the gray tones, all the way up to your whitest whites. And so using the entire value scale, it gives your drawings the maximum punch. Really, really powerful. And it’s super easy because all you really need is a good eraser. So right now, I’m erasing this charcoal out to create the highlights on his nose, and the lip shine, and all of the little in between places.

And the reason that charcoal is so fantastic, as you can see right there, all you need is some charcoal and your finger. You can do all of this blending with a finger. You don’t need any fancy tools. And I’m using different hardnesses of charcoal to get the different effects. So the charcoal that I’m using right now for the details around his eyes is a little bit harder than the charcoal that’s in the sock, which is super loose charcoal.

So that is something that I’m varying. And then I’m using my blending stump to smudge that around. And then the last tool I’m using is that charcoal pencil. So that’s the hardest of them and obviously it comes to a small tip so that’s ideal for doing details and stuff like that. But it’s just really crazy what you can create with a very, very limited number of supplies. So I challenge you to maybe go to your local art store and pick up a couple pieces of charcoal in varying softnesses. And you can also see that I’m using a little bit of a paint pen as a cheat for the whites in the eyes. That’s just me resorting to my typical mixed media supplies. I am a mixed media artist so I tend to do lots of cheats. You may consider it cheat, I consider it just being efficient. (laughs) So, if you want extra sparkle or extra white, you can always add, use your tools that are in your tool box to make that effective.

So yeah, I challenge you to go to Paintmyphotos gallery. Grab a couple shards of charcoal portraits and see if you can grab a reference that you like. Working with a black and white reference is easiest because you’re literally just looking at the lights and the darks. And see if you can recreate it using the different values in the value scale. So black all the way up to white and everything in between. You can get a couple blending stumps to help you with blending. And you need a really good gum eraser.

You see right now with his ear, I’m carving out the highlights in the ear folds, and then I’m putting back in the darkness, and I’m using my blending stick to get that definition. So if you do this project, let me know in the comment section or if you have a favorite charcoal technique, drop it below in the comment section as well. I will post a playlist for you if you wanna learn more realistic drawing hacks. And don’t forget to subscribe to get my free weekly tutorials in both drawing and mixed media.

How Much Does A Portrait Painting Cost

Expense of a painting relies on the size and number of people to be painted. A huge canvas will definitely cost more than a small canvas. A four person family portrait will definitely cost more than a two person portrait.

Plenty of people realize the significance of an entirely customized art work and portrait. They are aware of how a must have it is to present some other person or yourself a gift which will last not just a long time, but a lifetime and beyond. Whatever the reason for thinking of commissioning a custom portrait, you’ve probably considered how much it can cost you financially.

Paint My Photos has been in custom portrait business since 2002 and we are artists based company, which means you buy direct from artists. Order from us can save you at least 50% of the cost. Trust me, you don’t deserve to pay that much money. Moreover, you don’t need to worry about the quality, paintings are done by professional portrait artists, our artist team is a secret source behind many top art galleries. They commission art from us and sell thousands dollars.

How Much Does A Portrait Painting Cost

This question is asked time and time again throughout the internet as it’s a critical one.

Here is a price list from Paint My Photos:

Portrait Price List
Paint My Photos Portrait Price List

How much does a custom made family portrait cost?

Cost of a painting or a portrait largely depends on the reputation of the artisan as well as the quality of his work. So, offering an exact quote is complicated. However, you can go with online services like, which takes your digital photos and transforms it into a hand-painted portrait depending on your specifications. It’s a reasonable price service, particularly if you compare with traditional artists. Furthermore, it is hassle-free, high-quality and the portrait is delivered right at your doorsteps.

Once considered a relic in the photography era, the art of portrait painting is building a comeback think of it as a selfie that takes weeks to complete.

Charged Hearts

Charged Hearts, a new media work by Ottawa artist Catherine Richards, uses the heart’s iconic status to materialize the waves and particles that produce electromagnetic currents – the physical but unseen substrata of the electronic age. The choice is apt, for the heart is both a metaphor for passion and the emotions and one of the most well-known parts of the body’s electromagnetic fields.

An ambitious and brilliantly conceived project bringing together a variety of scientists and technicians under the direction of the artist, Charged Hearts exists both as a gallery-based installation and a Web site game. Richards traces the interconnections of electromagnetic impulses as they occur within three systems: the weather, the body, and the new virtual worlds commonly known as cyberspace. These premises are embedded materially in three key objects. First, the Terrella, a nineteenth-century artifact first used in experiments to replicate the patterns created by the Northern lights. Second, in the anatomically correct glass hearts that glow with a gas plasma triggered by the electrical activity of charged ions. Thirdly, in a computer printer, which stands to the side of the piece but connects the installation to the World Wide Web.

The luminously charged gases in the Terrella and the hearts sit on separate raised podiums atop a Plexiglas tier. On the centre podium raised slightly higher than the two stands flanking it, is a glass cube containing the Terrella tube, sparkling with a bluish light in its simulation of the earth’s north and south magnetic pole. Technically it is the Terrella that produces the electrical charge that connects the two hearts. Located on separate platforms to the right and left of the centre podium, these hearts are in bell jars inside glass cases. The cases are open to one side so that hands may enter and hold the jars containing the hearts. Slightly larger than life, these hearts emit a pinkish purple glow when the fluorescent powders on their inside surface are bombarded with electrons.

Picking up the glass heart triggers changes in both the Terrella and in the hearts. The heart in the jar seems to pulsate in the hands, its light intensifying, weakening, moving with every torque of your wrist. There are no wires connecting the hearts to the Terrella, only a coil of copper wire on the bottom of the jars. Yet, by picking up the heart in a jar, you become a part of this loop connecting body to glass heart to Terrella – and finally of course to the Web site. If there is another participant touching the other heart, you enter into the circuit together. The interactivity is oblique and somewhat organic because there is, intentionally, no clear indication of the causal lines connecting one thing to another. In this way, the installation challenges push-button notions of interactivity, which place the user in a privileged and fictive site of agency. In Charged Hearts our bodies, like our subjectivities, are caught in a matrix of coterminous interacting elements.

Because the hearts are handheld objects Charged Hearts has a tactility that is both pleasurable and carries with it real risks. Dropping the hearts may cause them to explode into pieces. Because of the materiality of the objects, oddly cold and clinical despite the glow, the installation falls within the tradition of other media works that come out of sculpturally-based electronic arts, such as Norman White’s Hapless Robot. Giving the user the “smart card,” in reality a piece of cardboard, with your own “personalized access code,” both allows the user access to the Web site and pokes fun at the interactive promises of cyberspace, asking again, “Who is in control?” By stepping on the platform and partaking, your presence is registered – a reminder of the potential power of these systems to monitor the movements of citizens and consumers with every swipe of a charge card.

Likewise, Charged Hearts, the Web site ( is no ordinary game. Developed in collaboration with Martin Snelgrove, a computer programmer, it eschews conventional video game formats, which are mostly competitive in nature. However, it does share one feature – at its locus it is a game of survival. Created from a scanned medical image of the top valve of the heart, this pumping, pulsating little miniature greets you when you log in. You are asked to name your heart, and you are given a statistical readout on its condition. The game is not to win points but to keep your heart alive, an avatar for your very self, which you can only do by moving it around the screen and bringing it into proximity to other hearts. No heart stands alone – literally. You must request that other “hearts” come into your sphere in this virtual space, itself a simulation of the complexities of love and other forms of social interaction. Their presence may assist you, boost you, or damage you depending on the rate of their own activity, and the cumulative effect of all of the hearts gathered together. The only other way to rescue an ailing virtual heart is to recharge yourself at the gallery site, a ploy which indicates the artist’s own proclivity for the physical over the virtual.

In this concern with life, death and survival in the late twentieth century, Charged Hearts is the successful alter ego of Richard’s last major piece, Curiosity Cabinet at the End of the Millennium (1995). In Curiosity Cabinet, the spectator entered into a gigantic copper cage in an attempt to insulate the self from the cumulative charge of our present electromagnetic field. In so doing the spectator became an object on display, much like a museum piece or a curio in a nineteenth-century cabinet. Curiosity Cabinet explores the luxury of escape and the nostalgic fantasy that we can isolate and protect ourselves. In contrast Charged Hearts highlights the pleasures and dangers of life in the midst of these very real, yet invisible fields interrogating the consequences of living in an environment thoroughly penetrated by electronic gadgets. You would never consider sticking your finger in an electrical socket. Richard’s installation suggests that this is exactly our present condition. The move to more “wireless connections” only masks this environmental shift. Charged Hearts plugs us in, traces our movements, and compels us to consider our future survival within this technologically saturated life-world.

Extra related content articles: Oil Painting News

Garden of Nirvana

Garden of Nirvana equates women and flowers, with odour being the experiential link. Steele cites the writer Octave Uzanne, who compared a woman in lingerie to a flower, “whose innumerable petals become more and more beautiful and delicate as you reach the sweet depths of the innermost petals. She is like a rare orchid, who surrenders the fragrance of her mysteries only in the intimacies of love” (p. 117). Interest in the “fragrant mysteries” associated with women’s clothing is classically known as “perversion” in the sexology and psychoanalytic literature. Freud, for instance, conceded the vital connection between sexuality and olfaction in the animal kingdom, yet relegated it to an inconsequential status in humans. In the evolutionary scheme of development, humankind had risen up onto two legs, thus diminishing the role of smell; to link sex and smell again carries with it the danger of regression, of the re-emergence of the animal, in short, the threat of psychosis or neurosis. (5) Neglecting to distinguish between the proper objects of disgust and desire elicits condemning nomenclatures such as infantilism and coprophilia. Yet, as Steele and others have argued, defining conclusively what constitutes “normal” and “deviant” behaviour is an impossible task, one hopelessly compromised by ideological and other biases. Not the least of which is the sexist rhetoric used to situate and enforce gender relations: women who fail to live up to the fragrant mystery of Uzanne “are traitors to the ideal of femininity and objects of disgust.”

Historian Alain Corbin traces the contemporary intolerance towards odour back to the Enlightenment and the development of an “olfactory vigilance” in regards to bodily emanations and civic space. The project of modernity has also involved a rationalization of the senses, according to Constance Classen, David Howes and Anthony Synnott, in which vision was prioritized to such a degree that “olfactory silence” was a direct outcome. The conflation of desire and disgust promulgated in Garden of Nirvana thus taps into two centuries of odour anxiety, both in the personal and public realms. Hirakawa violates not only the assumed predominance of the visual in the ideology of the gallery, but also one’s sense of private space and identity. The enforced intimacy is confrontational – the odour is unavoidable, one cannot help but to breathe it in. In some ways the piece positions itself as a litmus test of sensitivity and sensibility: How quickly does one react? Is it prudishly or pruriently? A decision based on instinct or intellect? Regardless of the response, odour is the key element in confusing the segregated domains of the biological and the social, the sensory and the semiotic.

Besides the allusions to fetishism, one might also be inclined to reflect upon Garden of Nirvana in the context of Buddhist practices. Does the installation trivialize nirvana as a ribald “heaven” of “getting-into-women’s-pants” or does it have more subtle implications? Nirvana describes the state of final emancipation, a state beyond attachment. Literally the term means “blown out,” a combination of the Sanskrit “van” (to breathe or blow), with “nir” (the negation). It encompasses a blissful experience of knowing the absolute, which is distinct from quotidian consciousness, yet undefinable. Being “blown away” thus evokes the obliviousness of care, induced by intoxication, joy or ecstasy of the state of nirvana.

Relevant to this installation are Buddhist spiritual practices that have deployed the outrageous to collapse dualist distinctions between the sacred and profane. A popular Zen story illustrates a method of seeking enlightenment in the most repugnant of objects: when a master was asked “What is the Buddha?,” he answered “That pile of shit in the courtyard.” There is a tradition within Buddhism of meditation on what is “disgusting” – corpses, skulls or feces – in order to cultivate dispassion. Yet at the same time, nirvana, in Tantric and Zen traditions, can be found both through the deliberate heightening of the senses as well as through the ascetic control of them. In bringing the focus to what is conventionally “disgusting,” Garden of Nirvana can be contemplated as a clash of tasteful and distasteful objects, ugly and beautiful experiences, desirable and repulsive sensations. The Buddha, reputedly, never articulated what nirvana was, only what it was not. Both underwear (by being concealed) and odour (by its ethereality) are provocative metaphors for the state of nirvana, which exists everywhere yet is invisible. Scent thus constitutes an intense sensory presence that circumvents iconographic prohibitions within Buddhist tradition.

Uncover More here Canvas Art Blog

Oil Paint Artists By Name

In the event you curious enough to present custom-made oil painting to one of your close associates then it’s good to go on the internet and locate a best artist in the market. You may as well select artisans online to create custom-made art pieces and they will deliver it to your door in 7 days. You’ll have to provide the picture of person or puppy that you’d like to be colored in acrylic and it’ll quickly reach your home.

You with thankful to know that it is very easy to alter background scenes in oil paintings. You can easily add more seasonal parts to your art to work out customized look. The art fans believe that custom-made canvas artworks are considered the smart choices for a present when they start to steer amazing charm by having an enticing appeal in the area. Your effort to paint different portrait with oil painting will definitely be loved by your good friend who is going to receive it as a gift.

turning photographs into paintings

So, you are interested to create a few terrific oil paintings? You will discover a long list of suggestions for paintings, it is likely depicting a journey regarding any existing great moment of your lifetime, a portrait of the small pet, a humorous picture of your kid doing a bit of odd activities, picture commission as well as an thought inside your soul. It does not have to matter will be the plans for your own portrait; because you will always select a guy who will give style to your wishes. Artists carry this excellent inventiveness with their blood and they have an understanding of the tact of composing masterpieces.

Actually, there are numerous points to learn about customized art along with their raising appeal. Even though the artworks demand very good care from owners when compared to the digital prints however they lead an inventive charm in the living area. They might deliver a valuable area in the heart of the individual that benefit from it as a great gift. When art receive proper care, they are exactly like brilliant memories for life-long. You can create an eye-catching effect of a person’s furry good friend and / or it can be a ingenious portrait of your personal child. Certainly, your child will cherish to view it when he grow up.

Photographs are definitely the some of the finest innovations of technology yet; somewhere in your heart, we fancy the artworks. There’s lots of crazy guys and women across the world who have been still engaged to transform their snapshot to work of art. If you are also one of those innovative personalities but aren’t willing to put the styles into correct shape then this post really is useful for you.

Offering a custom made portrait artwork to some of your close homeboys on birthday, Special occasions as well as other special event of life is definitely a wonderful idea. You could also do painting of things or sketch down the beauty of a city which is usually liked the most by the your friend. There are plenty of suggestions for making personalized oil paintings and if you hire a pro to perform your desire concepts, it is going to undeniably be a really good success.

Francoise Nielly studio

Do you really love Francoise Nielly’s paintings? Do you desire to buy a portrait painting produced by artist? I am not sure if Francoise consider commission job? But in the case she do, i bet the cost are going to be very expensive as most of her artworks are selling $10,000 to $30,000. That being said, pretty much, it is almost not possible to let Francoise Nielly paint your portrait, though, guess what, our talented artists can! We can paint your photo the same as Francoise Nielly do!

Francoise Nielly is undoubtedly an artist seen as an complicated and complicated techniques making charming and crucial energy and strength.

In Francoise Nielly’s work, she doesn’t use any modern technology and employs only oil along with palette knife. The shades are occupying roughly on the canvas and become a highly highly-effective work. Her portraits encapsulate strength of tone as a unusual method of seeing life. The belief and form are simply starting factors.

Francoise Nielly Gallery

Francoise draws lines to find natural splendor, emotion, while keeping focused of memories. Each portrait brings together a sense of delight and sadness. Whenever we discover this kind of sensuous, expressive and overwhelming drawing, we understand that attention can touch deeply in a look, from a gesture, in position that becomes ones methods for being. The shades are why Nielly’s paintings so realistic and natural and it is impossible not to love her subjects. Plenty of can be the inspirations, which in turn dance inside of these types of sensibility, and most is usually the interpretations which may be shown. ?Have you wondered yourselves how vital it may be to have shades? Have you ever thought of how important it will be to manage such type of colors?

Nielly displays a protective exploration toward touch and results in being an instinctive and wild goal of expressions. In the event you close your eyes, you wouldn’t normally expect a face, having colors, however if you simply give it some thought thoroughly, everything acquires a form by means of our needs and desires. The most troubled soul could have colors, which might be unseen but always alive. Lots of individuals consider that in a portrait, there’s always a equilibrium that runs away, however in my estimation, every symbolism is imprinted in their face. Eyes come across sins and passion, a smile opens peace as well as a decisive lie, and dazzling colorings reflect options without so much movement.

In her own way, Francoise Nielly gives an individual’s face in each of his works of art. And then she paints it again and again, with slashes of paint all-around their face. Moments of life that come up from her works are born by a clinch with the canvas. Color choice is formed just like a projectile.

Works of art by creator Franoise Nielly have a very good discernible strength that originate right from each composition. Having acquired palette knife art techniques, the artist uses thick strokes of oil on canvas to blend a unique abstraction in to these figurative portraits. The paintings, which have been based off relatively easy black or white photos, feature excessive light, shadow, detail, and dynamic neon colors. As per her biography on Behance, Nielly usually takes a risk: her artwork is sexual, her shades free, exuberant, stunning, also beyond expectations, the cut of her knife incisive, her colors pallete incredible.

A major difficulty of rhetorical-design analysis

A major difficulty of rhetorical-design analysis is the determination of the actual effects of design artifacts. What defines the effects of a poster, signpost, book cover, or business card? How can the effects of designed objects be described and categorized? Can the effects found in particular objects be generalized? Are there any experts for defining design effects? The determination of effects is crucial for the formulation of design rules and, fundamentally, for a rhetorical understanding of design. There is no straightforward method, given that the visual effects of design objects are manifold and highly context-sensitive.

Materially, the visual impression of an object varies according to perspective, light conditions, or position. Even more obvious are the subjective factors causing an indeterminacy of effect. How a designed object affects a viewer depends on her taste, interests, and values, on her actual disposition and needs as well as on her previous knowledge and experience. Furthermore, the socio-cultural and historical context affects people’s perception and interpretation of such elements as color, textures, and motifs. Visual trends, zeitgeist and technological developments (for example, printing press, photocopy, desktop publishing) lead to changes in visual perception and the impacts design artifacts can have. While some of the design effects are fairly constant over time and cultures, most are informed by fashion and other socio-cultural influences and will, sooner or later, be modified. What used to provoke or even shock people (for example, because it appeared pornographic or brutal) can be attenuated by habituation or a change in moral standards. Images that used to convey severity or heroism might appear awkward or exaggerated now, and what looks modern today is likely to assume an old-fashioned or nostalgic touch in the near future. The more enduring effects are presumably based in the human cognitive system and can perhaps be explained with the physiology and psychology of perception or through evolutionary biology. Darkness and the color black may always and everywhere have had a frightening effect on human beings. This unsettling effect of dark designs could perhaps be traced back to the fact that human beings are not able to orientate in darkness, which–from an evolutionary perspective–is a disadvantage. That neon colors can be used as an eye catcher or in order to warn people could be explained by the fact that the human visual apparatus is particularly sensitive to them and because we were first confronted with their warning function in conjunction with poisonous animals and plants.

The calming effect of a design in panorama format possibly originates in the imitation of an open landscape in which, according to Savanna Theory (Lidwell et al. 2003), human beings feel safe, calm, and comfortable, since here possible dangers can easily be surveyed. The question of why human observers are affected in one way or another by certain visual features is not the object of visual or design rhetoric. For the observer–as well as for the designer as practitioner–it is important to know which stylistic means are required in order to create specific effects, but not to provide explanations for the underlying modes of perception. Design rhetoric is interested in the relation between a design effect and the specific design features related to it–regardless of whether the means-effect relation is universal or context-sensitive. In the section on pinning down design rules, more will be said about the relation between formal means and effect, which can be paired in a design rule.

Two Research Projects

The intersections of design and rhetoric were the subject of two research projects in the Communication Design Research Area at Bern University of the Arts. The first project, Visual Rhetoric in Commercial Graphics (2007-2009), funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), studied the visual effects of graphic design in advertising and other commercial fields of visual communication (Schneller 2009). It involved an exploration of the rhetorical view that graphic design and its modes of effect can be described by rules, that is, that for nearly any visual effect a set of stylistic means can be determined through which the intended effect can be created with some probability of success. One main result was a list of design effects and rules most commonly used in commercial graphics, such as magazine ads, posters, book and CD covers, business cards, and package designs. Each rule combines a design effect with a set of formal means (typography, form, color, technique, proportion, material, etc.) that help achieve the intended effect. The design rules were explored and determined by a rhetorical design analysis of existing graphic artifacts. After theoretical analysis, a practice-based research method was developed and applied. The validity of the design rules was tested by first creating graphic design variants according to specific design rules and by then examining the actual effects of the designed objects on observers.

The second SNSF-funded research project, Visual Rhetoric 2: Rules and Scope in Public Transport-Information Design (2010-2011), built on the first project and examined, in cooperation with Swiss Federal Railways, the rhetoric of an arguably effect-free field of visual communication: information design (for a detailed project presentation, see Schneller 2010b; Schneller and Scheuermann 2012). While the effect orientation of commercial graphics is quite obvious, pieces of information design, such as signposts or timetables, do not seem to be created with a view to influencing people; they merely inform us about directions or train departures and seem to purely convey information, without aiming at persuasion. Nevertheless, the project made it clear that even informing people has to be understood as an effect that information designers can–and should–aim at by using appropriate formal means and, in addition, that information design ideally does more than just inform people. It was shown that public transport information design typically involves a clear, reserved, simple, and clean appearance (logos), but that it should also look attractive and procure a sense of security and comfort to the traveler (ethos and pathos). Just like in the previous project, the first step was a rhetorical analysis of information-design artifacts and design manuals that resulted in a collection of design rules (intended effects and formal means to achieve them). The second step was to create and empirically test a set of design variants. The specific methods of analysis, effect-oriented creation, and empirical testing of design artifacts applied in the two research projects will be presented and scrutinized in the following sections.

Design as Rhetoric: Focus and Hypotheses

The design-rhetorical approach adopted in the Bern University of the Arts research projects can be characterized by five main hypotheses. First, it advocates the idea that effects of design artifacts can be analyzed by conceiving of design as a rhetorical process. To call a process “rhetorical” means that a piece of speech, or an artifact, is in general produced with a view to evoking certain reactions in an audience and that this is achieved by following specific rules or strategies that help bring about the intended effect. This does not mean that every design effect must be created consciously. Rather, effect orientation and (purposeful or tacit) rule application is supposed to be part of the basic ability of the designer as practitioner (Schneller 2010a). Just like speech, designed artifacts can be seen as attempts to catch the attention and goodwill of a public, to entertain, amuse, shock, or surprise, to create feelings, to influence opinions, values, or actions. However, design rules deal with the relation between the compositional structure and the immediate impulses presented in the design object. This way, they differ from effect studies in rhetoric and related fields such as advertising and consumer psychology where the primary focus is on conative effects (impact on volition, intentions, behavior, and actions) as well as long term effects such as attitude change, purchase behavior, memorization, or psychodynamic processes (Kazmi and Batra 2008; Giles 2003). Of course, some of the immediately perceptible effects of design objects can play a role in the determination of further conative and post-communicative effects. Although not sufficient for producing such secondary effects, design effects can provide “hints” pointing in their direction. A comfortable design might thus make a user or viewer feel comfortable and in doing so influence her purchasing decision, while a calm design might be suitable to provoke calming effects and consequently make viewers drowsy.

The second general hypothesis asserts that there is no such thing as effect-free or non-rhetorical design (Kinross 1985; Atzmon 2010; Schneller 2010b; Schneller/Scheuermann 2012). Every design affects or stimulates people, sometimes heavily, sometimes in subtle or perhaps almost unremarkable ways. Every act of shaping a design object involves a choice of shape, color, size, and proportion, and this choice will create differences in the appearance and impact of the object.

Third, the rhetorical dimensions logos, ethos, and pathos can be used to define three categories of visual effects. Similar to speech, design artifacts influence us not only on a rational (or functional) basis (logos), but also embody a character or act on our values (ethos) and stimulate our emotions (pathos).

Fourth, the relation between specific formal means and their visual (haptic and other) effects can be described in terms of design rules. Design effects are bound to laws of perception, viewing patterns, design traditions, movements, and fashions that shape and restrict the possibilities of the designer. An example for a design rule runs as follows: if you want to create a calm effect, use sans serif or roman type, low contrast, matte surfaces, open and symmetrical arrangements, and accentuate the horizontal. These rules can be actively or passively followed by designers in order to produce the effects intended with a designed object. It might seem that in advertising, the strategy is to break the conventions of seeing in order to surprise consumers rather than to simply follow design rules. Nevertheless, the sheer possibility of deviation reinforces the idea that there are rules at work. Many ads could perhaps be attributed to the use of second-order rules such as: if you want to catch attention or surprise, then break other rules such as “Be clear” or “Show things as they are.” The specific use of formal and semantic deviations is indeed a typical rhetorical phenomenon. Visual rhetorical figures and tropes such as hyperboles, metaphors and ellipses are defined by specific deviations from the norm, for example, addition, repetition, omission, or transformation (Ehses 1986).

Fifth, there is an overall rhetorical principle that guides the range of possible deviations, called the decorum or aptum. It controls the adequacy of effects and measures rule application (or breach) relative to the context of a design artifact.