Please send all journal submissions to the editor Simon Downs at email@example.com
Aims and Scope
The Poster is a forum for the study of visual rhetoric in the public sphere; a place to discuss how and why visual messages are thrust into the world and the media forms used to do so. This peer-reviewed journal stands as a vehicle for the ideas of media theorists; scholars of Cultural Studies and Cultural Materialism; for social psychologists of visual communication, for architects and designers of wayfinding schemes; for philosophers of Aesthetics and Politics, Society and Linguistics; for social scientists, anthropologists and ethnographers; for political campaigners and artist activists; for communications researchers and visual communications practitioners.
The poster-maker, the pamphleteer and the tagger aim to sway the popular heart and mind through visual public interventions. As new technologies rise; turning the public sphere into a transparent, ubiquitous communications medium and a global marketplace; is the privileged status of the poster doomed or are we seeing it transformed as part of a new wave of visual rhetoric? When the environment starts to become responsive to our very presence and aware of our individual nature what is the role of the 'traditional poster' delivering a classical rhetorical message? This journal aims to lead the debate.
The Poster is fully refereed and peer-reviewed through a rigorous review process conducted by our international Editorial Board and team of Associate Editors, selected for their ability to bring a unique insight into the applications of visual rhetoric in the public sphere and their academic strength as researchers and practitioners. Each contribution will be independently reviewed by a pair of reviewers, with a third reviewer being sought to abitrate in the case of an initial disagreement between the first reviewers.
The Poster stands as a privileged symbol of visual rhetoric manifest in the world, and as such visual rhetoric is at the heart of this journal. Once the poster was a simple beast and its role was that of a focused shout; a singular message delivered as powerfully as could be devised into the melee of the public sphere. As such, every rhetorical visual form intended to sway hearts and minds - from Luther's Thesis nailed to the church door in Wittenberg to that glorious symbol of Western civilization that is Times Square in New York City - could easily fall within the journal's purview. As the visual rhetorical impulse grows ever stronger, with every miniscule social group having the means and media savvy to visually project their case into the public sphere, the material nature of the poster is in flux. Things are changing and this change is the founding impulse behind the creation of this journal.
We offer The Poster as a forum to examine the role of the poster in its fullest and richest sense: as a social, graphical, aesthetic, philosophic and historic device inhabiting the junction formed by the visual rhetorical impulse and the social environment that the impulse acts upon. The physical form and manufacture of an artefact are often confused with its function. This journal will not be constrained by restrictive discussion of purely historic materials and forms. Rather, we will engage with an exploration of all forms of public-facing communication intended to persuade us by focusing our attention on a singular message. We invite contributions on the rhetorical forms themselves: historic and traditional poster forms, movie and game microsites, location specific mobile advertising, viral media, artworks affecting the public sphere, architectural wayfinding schemes, public display technologies, public interactive media, geographically targeted advertising. Moving beyond these rhetorical manifestations we seek contributions grounded in the theory and philosophy of such communications: public political interventions, the systems science of communication, the social reception of artefacts, the psychology of visual rhetoric and the anthropology of public messages.
We find ourselves in the midst of a communications revolution: the form of the poster has never been more diverse, the intention to deliver a message never more ubiquitous or yet more individually targeted.
Call for Papers
The journal is actively looking for both theoretical and practice-based contributions to its refereed content, but also recognises that many with an active interest and expertise in the area are from outside the academic sphere: to this end we invite those who contribute vitality to the visual rhetorical landscape to send in their work as non-refereed submissions.
The Poster has been founded as a forum to promote debates around the following issues:
- The ways in which visual devices are used to sway, persuade, provoke, unite and divide us.
- The impulse behind the use of visual means to make rhetorical points.
- The means that are deployed to make such visual rhetorical points.
- How the material nature and placement of the means affects the rhetoric.
- If it is even possible to effectively direct understanding through visual rhetorical means.
These are urgent issues in our increasingly mediated world. The act of making persuasive interventions is a massively multidisciplinary process: the effect of these interventions is of vital importance in promoting public dialogues and forming healthy political structures.
Political actions succeed or fail on their ability to engage with a heterogeneous mass of actors, uniting them in a common cause. Public health campaigns either function or people die. If successful communications shape global patterns of consumption, perhaps they could save the world? If visual rhetorical systems possess this persuasive power shouldn't we explore their limits and find the wisdom to use them well. In exploring these issues we are seeking textual and visual practice submissions on the following subjects:
1. What is meant by the terms 'visual rhetoric' and 'the public sphere'?
2. Why does the poster stand as a symbol for visual rhetorical practice, a privileged signifier of rhetoric, over and above every other instance of the visual which also persuades or affects behaviour?
3. What new forms have taken up the torch of visual rhetorical action?
4. Does the poster still have a role in the panoply of visual rhetorical media?
5. In a networked world who now owns and controls the means of rhetorical production?
6. What alternative/critical projects and strategies are possible and how will these new visual rhetorical manifestations operate?
7. To what degree it is possible to influence people's hearts and change people's minds through visual rhetorical means?
8. Is it possible to create a neutral information vehicle that informs in a non-partisan way?
9. Is there a difference between visual and other forms of rhetoric?
10. Do visual rhetoricians have a moral responsibility for the means they put at the disposal of their clients and the messages they devise?
11. Is it possible to create an analysis system appropriate to posters?
If you have an interest in any of these areas we would encourage you to make a submission. Submissions can be theoretical or philosophical in nature, from essays on industrial practice (e.g. successful campaigns, analysis of trends and methods) to visual artefacts from practitioners in the field of visual communication (e.g. Graphics, Illustration, Curation, Experience Design, Photography, etc.).