Monuments and Memorials as Visual Persuasion: Using Design Principles for Assessment

By James Donald Ragsdale and Frances E. Brandau.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper identifies basic design principles which contribute to the visual impact of architecture. Visual impact refers to direct influences on the viewer as well as indirect social influences. It is argued that visual impact results in persuasion no less effective than that associated with verbal discourse such as a speech. The paper also demonstrates how basic principles of design account for the social influence of monuments and memorials. Washington, DC, a city of monuments, is the primary focus, with specific assessments to be made of the Washington Monument, the Lincoln, Jefferson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorials, as well as the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War Memorials. In addition to these items, the following monuments and memorials outside the continental US will be considered: Albert Memorial, London; Siegessäule, Berlin; Brandenburg Gate, Berlin; Arc de Triomphe, Paris; Trajan’s Column, Rome; Sir Walter Scott Memorial, Edinburgh; USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu; and Admiral Nelson Memorial, London.

Keywords: Basic Design Principles, Visual Literacy, Visual Persuasion, Monuments, Memorials

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.557-578. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.236MB).

Dr. James Donald Ragsdale

Professor and Chair, Department of Communication Studies, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA

J. Donald Ragsdale is the author of three recent books on the subject of structures as visual persuasion, especially the art museums of the US and Western Europe. He is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication Studies at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA, and Editor of the Southern Communication Journal. His primary area of specialty is the semiotics of visual communication.

Dr. Frances E. Brandau

Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA

Frances E. Brandau-Brown is a contributor to Structures as Argument: The Visual Persuasiveness of Museums and Places of Worship, edited by J. Donald Ragsdale. She has also published widely in such journals as Journal of Family Communication, Southern Communication Journal, and Communication Quarterly. Her primary area of interest is interpersonal and family communication. Frances is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Director of Graduate Studies at Sam Houston State University and President of the Southern States Communication Association.

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