Visual Rhetorical Analysis

Visual artist Eugene Cubillo presents his social advertising poster promoting environmental conscience, called “Things You Can Do To Reduce Global Warming” and directed at children. The poster has a lot of written information, as well as bright and funny images and sends the message that children are able to take care of their planet, despite their age. Although Cubillo uses simple graphics and funny-looking scripts, he emphasizes on the children’s responsibility for their planet and their capability to “take a stand” (Cubillo).

Format and Kind of Image

The poster is done in a cartoon-like manner that suggests fun and an easy-going approach. The colors are bright and the font is appealing for the audience of younger age because it is versatile and not boring. In the center of the poster, there is an image of Earth, so it is clear that the message has something to do with environmental issues. In the top left corner, there is an image of a smiling guy, with his finger depicted in foreshortening pointing at the viewer. It should have a more immediate effect on the viewer because everyone will feel that the message concerns him or her, as well as anyone else. That cartoon character sports a short hairstyle with shaven temples and a goatee. It should inform about the sense of coolness, as such hairstyles and trendy facial hair are usually the signs of coolness for young people. His broad toothy smile further emphasizes the idea that the poster and what it promotes is great, cool, and worth following.

Audience

This poster is an advertisement for a social cause that is aimed to raise awareness among children about ecological issues and a threat of global warming. Although, the message is directed at anyone who is able to follow a simple set of rules, directed to improve the ecological sitution, and the target audience is children. The author’s idea is to show children that despite their young age, they are also responsible for the planet’s environment and, what is more important, they are also able to make a difference if they stick to the guidelines. The poster has only five simple guidelines. Whereas a youngster needs an adult’s help to plant a tree or replace regular light bulbs with CFLs, children can easily switch off the lights and electronics, recycle some household wastes, and ride a bike instead of a car. Cubillo makes an emphasis on “taking a stand” (Cubillo).

Emotion

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The poster is aimed at a two-fold reaction. By using funny cartoon-like characters and multicolored fonts, the poster targets children and teenagers. The use of hand-lettered font and hand-drawn images suggests fun and is targeted at a young age. When the attracted viewer begins to read the text of the poster, he/she will notice that it offers him or her to “take a stand” and save the planet “in your small way” (Cubillo). It suggests that children are grown up enough for something responsible and important. It flatters them that they are not treated as children. On the contrary, children are able to make a difference and help adults save planet Earth. Therefore, the audience is influenced by the serious tone of the poster.

The poster’s appeal can be powerful because it appreciates the effect the children can have on vital issues and already places a high value on children’s input. It is a powerful psychological trick and scientific data reveals that “when faced with opposing verbal arguments, a reader or listener will usually accept the one that reflects or reinforces his or her already-held opinions and assumptions” (Hill 28). Inasmuch as children are aware of their importance and it often irritates them that adults do not noticce it, the poster might impact children greatly.

Composition and Layout

The layout is simple and revolves around the central image of Earth. The viewer, first of all, sees the blue globe with green continents and ‘love’, ‘earth’, ‘save’, ‘earth,’ ‘protect’, ‘love’ spelled on it in a jumbled fashion. Getting the first signal of the danger to Earth, the viewer skips the images of a light bulb, a litter bin, a switch, a tree, and a cyclist wearing a helmet. The viewer’s eye is lead to the top left cornet, where a smiling guy points his finger at the viewer and invites him/her to join a good cause and save the planet by doing small every day gestures.

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Basically, the composition of the poster is the one of a letter. It starts with an address at the top of the poster, beginning with “Hey Kids!”. Then Eugene Cubillo tells what it is all about and in the center places pictures and instruction that children should follow, such as “change a light bulb,” reduce, reuse, recycle,” “use the ‘off’ switch,” “plant a tree,” and “drive less and drive smart” (Cubillo). The background is white and the text is easy to read.

Text

The message, “So take a stand and help save it TODAY before it’s too late. In your small way, you can ensure Earth’s survival!” suggests that children are able to have an impact on environmental issues. It does not matter how old a child is, he or she can do their share and contribute to a good cause. By providing explanation for each activity, such as using the off switch or changing a light bulb, Cubillo demonstrate the children in a clear way, that is well within reach to stop behaving, as if resources are not expendable.

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