Due to the fact that I am traveling out of town this weekend, the genres of writing I have observed may seem a little different than most. As I engage in a 4.5 hour car ride, I am afforded much free time to read the words surrounding me on my drive—but don’t worry, I am the passenger, so such distractions are not dangerous. At first, I didn’t think I would be able to find enough genres of writing while traveling on the highway through Michigan, and would need to wait to do the assignment until I found wifi and could browse the Internet—but I was wrong. As I sat in the car, I noticed much more writing surrounding me that I was previously ignorant to.
Bumper Stickers: Many cars passing by are decorated in bumper stickers. The bumper stickers differ, but many of them are religious or political. Due to this, I would categorize these pieces of writing within the category of religious/political speech. The bumper stickers use a variety of colors, fonts, and even photos to spread their message and attract an audience. Since they are placed on the outside of cars, it appears they are seeking by-passers who many be intrigued with their message and further research it. For example, if the driver of another car is neither religious nor interested in politics, viewing the promotional writing on the bumper sticker may cause this driver to actively seek out and gather more information on the topic.
Road Signs: The signs along the road are kept short and sweet. Their target audiences are the drivers on the highway, so they must be kept short in order to keep from distracting the driver. The signs are not in full sentences, nor do they use forms of punctuation. They typically break up a sentence into its simplest components, so that the general idea is expressed. For example, instead of saying why a road is closed or offering a formal warning, a sign may read, “Road Closed Ahead.” The genre of such writing would be informational, as its purpose is to inform drivers on upcoming roads, conditions, and exits.
License Plates: While many license plates are made up of random letters and numbers, others are strategically planned out. Along the drive, the numerous amounts of cars ensure that you will come across at least a few comical license plates. The audience of this writing is other drivers or individuals that pass the car, along with the driver itself. While others are commonly reading the license plates as they pass, the owner of the car ultimately created this personalization to his or her car—for their own enjoyment and others’. This genre of writing would be categorized as personalized, and commonly comical writing. As for modes used, since there is not much room for other aspects aside from the writing itself, the use of literary skills is applied as individuals cleverly shorten and combine words to read a specific way.
Maps: Although not using a traditional paper map, and have opted to take advantage of Google Maps, there is still writing involved. The genre itself would be categorized as an overall map, and aims to help individuals get from one place to another. The writing is descriptive, but also concise. Again, individuals reading this genre of writing are typically on the road, and can’t keep their eyes off of the road for very long. Additionally, while the writing has to be short, it also has to be useful enough to guide a driver to their destination. Due to this, maps will specify what turns to take, the names of roads, and minuet details to keep their audience on track—the drivers. Maps use a large visual aspect in their presentation, along with important research. The maps must know all directions—especially if they speak directly to the user. By the use of photos and audio, they help a reader clarify their location and ensure they are staying on track.
Food Wrappers: I never thought too much about the writing present on bags of chips or boxes of chocolate—we are clearly having a very healthy and vegetable filled car ride—but some packages help to tell the story of their product. Specific brands, whether they’re made organically, from a family-owned company, etc., add a story about what they’re selling. The audiences of such writing are both buyers and prospective buyers, as the writing helps to convince individuals to purchase the product. The genre of this writing is typically persuasive or personal, as the writing aids in ensuring buyers that they are receiving the highest quality products, and are commonly paired with a background of the company itself. Some writings also include websites or online aspects to find out more information about the product or company, encouraging readers to connect with them on multiple different platforms.