Visualizing Understanding: using informative graphics to further learner

I created an informative graphic by visually re-presenting the information from a text that can be found in my text set. When it comes to visual representations of text-based information, it is important that I be conscious of how I choose to juxtapose visual elements. I also need to be conscious of whether or not the visual theme is supportive of or in conflict with the information being relayed in text. By this I mean, it was important to me that I took a good amount of time to see how the shapes, graphics, text, font, and color choices worked together.

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My infographic visually maps out the seven different types of female characters that occur in Shakespeare’s plays. Each character type is displayed with: its own title, a brief description, and an example of a character from the text. All this information occupies its own circular space that is tagged with a modern day person or pop culture character that might best embody the traits of the character type. When organizing the content—deciding which character types to put next to each other—I followed the order they appeared in in the text, although since visually it split into two rows, I layered the more prevalent character types over the lesser known ones.

In the seventeenth century English society was patriarchal and all the roles in the play were performed by men. For this reason I chose a more masculine color scheme of dark gray and turquoise. Due to the fact that the topic is directly about women, I chose a more feminine font to offset the domineering gray. Keeping with the juxtaposition of masculine and feminine, you can see that each blurb or character type is shown in its own circle—which plays to the feminine—and each circle is separated by arrow shapes with hard straight lines—playing to the masculine. While the visual balance of masculine and feminine seems rather arbitrary to the actual content of the text; the masculine elements must exist in the infographic with the feminine aspects in the same way that without the males that exist in Shakespeare’s world, the women would not be able to either.

The same idea of balancing masculine and feminine was used when situating the images of celebrities. The pictures are of women, so I placed them in a square more masculine shape. The squares are then are juxtaposed next to their corresponding circle, maintain the balance. When it came to choosing the images I found myself having a difficult time. I wanted to choose impactful character representatives, but also found myself in controversial quicksand with the choices I made. Complications and implications can arise when using real people to represent fictitious roles. Reflecting on my image choices, I can see that using modern day fictitious characters would be a better and less dangerous choice. While I want this to be impactful and meaningful and tied to real life models and issues, it seems more tasteful to make that choice in the future.

Composing this informative graphic, helped me gained a deeper understanding of how to make my subject relevant and current in my students and in my mind. When composing my infographic, instead of a focus on image and print—after doing a “close reading” of my own infographic—my infographic focuses (covertly) on the idea of gender roles by working with contrasting masculine and feminine elements visually. While the content of the text is mainly focused on women, the larger social theme is gender roles or perhaps equality. The various portrayals of women throughout Shakespeare’s writing, deepened my understanding of gender roles and how impactful the archetypes are to society and pop culture. Recreating the text in a visual for allowed me to situate the content next to itself—instead of looking at it in a linear way, like the original text. This allowed me to step back and examine it as a whole. This allowed me to visually understand how information connected to or separated itself from other elements of the text. Visually this allows me to better consider how character types operate on their own, and how they exist around each other. I gained a great deal of appreciation for the level of analysis that can be applied to creating something (like an infographic) that often times seems simple, although it has many layers and complex thoughts put into it.

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