Different Types of Writing

I decided to spend my thirty minutes taking a walk around Ann Arbor. Thirty minutes on the Internet looking for different types of writing seemed a little too overwhelming, so I decided to spend time looking in places I don’t normally actively observe it.

When I walked out of my house, the first piece of writing I saw was a bumper sticker that read “LOVE”, but in the place of the V was a big red heart. I think the heart is the most essential part of the sticker. It doesn’t exactly look like a V, but I was still able to easily decipher the sticker’s message. The heart also makes the word love even more full of love. Finally, it seems to be the selling point of the sticker. Few people would buy a bumper sticker that simplistically displays the word “LOVE” in black letters, but with the heart, the sticker becomes a much more marketable product which utilizes many modes: spatial, visual, and linguistic.

The next writing I saw was advertising for the liquor store on the corner. The storefront is messily littered with large banners displaying deals on various liquor products. The target audience is clearly college students looking to get drunk and I don’t think the storeowner put much thought into the rhetorical situation of the advertising. Consumers, especially college students, are going to buy liquor regardless of whether or not an establishment has good advertising. It’s demand is very inelastic (yay Econ major). But the storeowner realizes this, and as a result, chooses not to spend an excess amount of time or money on advertising for his store, so in actuality, it seems like the proprietor has analyzed the rhetorical situation very well.

I eventually reached South U and was exposed to a plethora of different forms of writing. The most striking one was the neon sign. Flashing lights are everywhere as soon as you turn the corner. Such signs don’t display very much content, but it seems that such signs are intentionally insubstantial. They only display a word or two and are meant to quickly grab one’s attention knowing that attention will soon be lost. Like the bumper sticker, they take advantage of spatial, visual, and linguistic modes, with particular emphasis devoted to the spatial and visual. The spatial and visual modes are the primary reason anyone pays any attention to the linguistic.

Overall, writing is all around us, and all writing is unique in its rhetorical situation. As a result, each example takes advantage of different modes in order to convey its intended message. It’s interesting to think how purposeful each bit of writing is, and that all writing is far more complex than simply the sum of the words which compose it.

2 thoughts to “Different Types of Writing”

  1. Max,

    Very cool of you to walk around and take advantage of all of the writing and advertisement that we come across everyday. Way to take this exercise to the next level! I am impressed by your analysis and consciousness of the different modes that the different genres applied and how this impacted (or not) its advertisement power. Also, I appreciate the point that you made about writing being more complex than the words that it is composed of. I completely agree with you and think that this is a great point to be aware of.

    Great job!

  2. What a great idea. The thought of taking a walk for this assignment hadn’t crossed my mind, and I’m almost tempted to try this on my own some time. Your observations are quite thoughtful and just enjoyable to read; you managed to make a potentially dry assignment thought-provoking. I particularly liked “all writing is far more complex than simply the sum of the words which compose it”. In working on multimodal projects, this is something I’d like to carry with me.

    Also, I may or may not have written this comment listening to “Flashing Lights”. I appreciate your use of links!

Leave a Reply