You are here

Drawing Logos

Primary tabs

A sample illustration from the RSAnimate series on Youtube.
Image Credit: 
Brief Assignment Overview: 

This assignment asks students to map out logos with the aid of visualized arguments and, ultimately, to create and explain their own vizualization of a textual argument that helps highlight the elements of logos within that textual argument.

Pedagogical Goals - Writing: 
Pedagogical Goals - Digital Literacy: 
Additional Pedagogical Goals: 

This assignments is designed to help students identify and employ logos through visual rhetoric.  By the end of the activity, which may take up an entire class period or multiple class periods, students should be able to effectively identify logos in a formal argument and replicate what they've identified in an informal visual argument.

Required Materials: 

If conducted in a classroom that is not enabled with technology for each student, instructors should provide basic drawing materials, such as crayons and butcher paper or markers and posterboard.

Students should also bring in or have access to a copy of a research summary or short writing assignment that asks them to anaylze a textual argument or source.

Timeline for Optimal Use: 
Full Assignment Description: 

First, the instructor should review or introduce the concept of logos to the class, emphasizing the reliance of a chain of reasoning on the enthymeme.  It may be helpful to outline a few simple examples, like the ones Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz use in Everything's an Argument (5th ed.):

“We’d better cancel the picnic because it’s going to rain.”  This statement assumes...

  • Picnics are normally held outdoors.
  • When the weather is bad, it’s best to cancel picnics.
  • Rain is bad weather for picnics.
  • A 70% chance of rain means that rain is more likely to occur than not.
  • When rain is more likely to occur than not, it makes sense to cancel picnics.
  • The weather bureau’s predictions are reliable enough to warrant action.

Once the class is comfortable attempting to identify both the chain of reasoning (explicit logos) and the enthymeme (implied premises), choose one of the excellent RSAnimate videos from the Royal Society's Youtube Channel.  These talks address a broad variety of topics, many of which may be applicable to the course content. Most of these talks are about 10 minutes in length.  

Before you start the video, emphasize that logos provides reasons for an argument, and thus always appears in claim and evidence format.  Tell the students you would like them to identify logos appeals within the clip.  You may choose to have them record their work on a worksheet.  I used a simple worksheet like the one below:

I.Hard Evidence

facts and statistics (claim paired with quantitative evidence)

personal testimony/experience

II. Soft Evidence

reason (claim paired with qualitative evidence)

common sense (claims that require no evidence, "self-evident" claims)

If you choose this format, it may be helpful to include empty spaces for CLAIM and EVIDENCE below each header so that the student can practice pairing the two.

Show the video, stopping as often as you feel necessary to allow students to write and process the argument they are witnessing.  I find it helpful to encourage thes students to recap the bare-bones summary of the argument at two to three minute intervals.

When the segment concludes, break students up into groups of three or four and have them choose several logos appeals they would like to present to the class. Keep the final "panaroma" illustration on the projector and allow students to identify and describe the logos claims they have chosen, tying those claims to the part of the illustration to which they correspond.

Once the students have shared their findings, ask them, in groups, to refer to a short analytical writing assignment that one of them has already completed.  (In my class, we use Research Summary 4.)  Instruct them to, as a group, create their own visual representation of the logos appeals in the original text using Photoshop.  Students may find it useful to separate out the illustration into panels so that each member can work independently on one piece of the puzzle.

Once students have created an illustration, have each group present and explain the logos appeal they have illustrated, as well as its context, to the class.

Below is a sample project created from this Perez Hilton article on Jennifer Aniston's upcoming nuptials:

This activity typically takes 2 class periods, although portions (image manipulation) could be assigned for homework.

Suggestions for Instructor Preparation: 

Usually, at least a quarter of the classroom is proficient in Photoshop, so it can be helpful to put at least one proficient user in each group.  The pedagogical payoff of teaching photoshop for a single exercise is slim, so other, easier image manipuation tools may be substituted if students are on the whole unfamiliar with the software.  Blingee, Draw Something, Online Flash-based sketch applications, or good ol' fashion art supplies may all be substituted.

Instructions For Students: 

Students should come to class having read logos material from the instructor's preferred rhetoric textbook.

Evaluation Suggestions: 

Students commonly confuse identifying a chain of reasoning with summary, so in evaluating presentations, it can be helpful to ask them to identify enthymemes in logos appeals they choose to discuss to keep them thinking analytically, as opposed to descriptively.

Course Description: 

I teach the Rhetoric of Celebrity, which I break down into three units.  Unit 1 deals with descriptive writing; Unit 2 deals with analytical writing; Unit 3 deals with evaluative or critical writing.  The activity above is most useful for analytical writing, although it might also be useful in a discussion on critical writing when teaching students how to counter a logos appeal by means of definition, evidence, quality, or policy.

Total votes: 591
Rate this lesson plan