Envisioning Collaboration: Group Verbal-Visual Composing in a System of Creativity

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The dissemination of desktop publishing and web authoring software has allowed nearly everyone in industrialized countries to combine verbal and visual symbols into text. Serious multimodal projects often demand extensive teamwork, especially in the workplace. But how can collaboration engaging such different traditions of expression be conducted effectively? To address this question, Envisioning Collaboration traces the composing processes of expert graphic artists and writers preparing advertising campaigns to ...

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Overview

The dissemination of desktop publishing and web authoring software has allowed nearly everyone in industrialized countries to combine verbal and visual symbols into text. Serious multimodal projects often demand extensive teamwork, especially in the workplace. But how can collaboration engaging such different traditions of expression be conducted effectively? To address this question, Envisioning Collaboration traces the composing processes of expert graphic artists and writers preparing advertising campaigns to retain a vital national account. It examines the influences on individual and dyadic composing processes of what Csikszentmihalyi terms "the domain," in this case the disciplinary knowledge of advertising, and "the field," in this case the surrounding economic conditions and client, vendor, customer, and agency executive gatekeepers.

Based on a 460-hour participant-observation and intensive computerized data analysis, Envisioning Collaboration is the first book to meticulously examine collaborative creative processes at an award-winning advertising agency, including audience analysis, branding, collaborative "moves," power and conflict management, uses of humor, degree of mindfulness, and effectiveness. The findings indicate the role of concepts in generating common texts by artists and writers, the role of the visual in individuals' composing, verbal-visual rhetorical elements in processes and products, and which verbal-visual techniques were most generative. Findings are related to pertinent research in technical and business writing, rhetoric and composition, and some key research in visual design, communication, advertising, neurolinguistics, management, and psychology. The book concludes with a pedagogical/training unit incorporating "gateway activities" for effective verbal-visual composition and collaboration.

Intended Audience: Students, teachers, and researchers in undergraduate and graduate programs in technical communication, rhetoric and composition, business communication, advertising/strategic communication, graphic design, communication, and fine arts. Practitioners: technical writers, illustrators, and marketers; advertising copywriters, graphic artists, account executives, and managers; editors, trainers, and writing consultants.

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What People Are Saying

Charles Kostelnick
Envisioning Collaboration is a superb ethnographic study of how writers and artists work together in an advertising agency to create highly persuasive messages in words and images. Because advertising entails intense visual/verbal collaboration, it is a unique laboratory in which to study how word and image coalesce rhetorically. Meticulously researched and vividly written, Geoffrey Cross's text greatly expands our understanding of multi-modal collaboration and is likely to make a major contribution to the fields of visual rhetoric, design studies, and professional communication. (Charles Kostelnick, Professor and Chair, English Department Iowa State University)
Ronald T. Kellogg
The creativity of artists and writers is typically limited to the sphere of either visual symbols or verbal symbols. Here, Geoffrey Cross examines the fascinating collaboration of graphic artists and writers in the composition of advertising campaigns. His meticulous observations of individual and dyadic composing processes unveil the melding of verbal and visual modes of thought in the creation of award-winning advertising. Envisioning Collaboration offers a significant case study in a domain of considerable economic clout that will interest all students of human creativity. (Ronald T. Kellogg, Professor, Department of Psychology, Saint Louis University)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780895034007
  • Publisher: Baywood Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/17/2010
  • Pages: 254
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Geoffrey A. Cross, Professor of English at the University of Louisville, received the National Council of Teachers of English/Association for Teachers of Technical Writing 1995 Best Book in Scientific or Technical Communication Award for his ethnography Collaboration and Conflict (Hampton Press, 1994), and the Association for Business Communication Outstanding Researcher Award in 1997. His second ethnographic study of collaborative writing, Forming the Collective Mind (Hampton Press, 2001), received both The Association for Business Communication Distinguished Publication Award and the NCTE/ATTW 2002 Best Book in Technical or Scientific Communication Award. In 2005, he won the Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity Award in Humanities from the College of Arts and Sciences, University of Louisville. His research articles have appeared in several edited collections, including Landmark Essays on Bakhtin and Writing, and in journals including the Journal of Technical Writing & Communication, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Journal of Business Communication, Computers and Composition, Across the Disciplines and Research in the Teaching of English.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments

CHAPTER 1: Introductory Framework and Overview
Conceptual Framing
Contextual Framing
Overview of the Study and Completion of the Framework

CHAPTER 2: Ping-Pong, Part I: Collaborative Brainstorming of an "Insight-Intensive" Team
First Ad Concepting Session 2/14: Forming a Mental Picture
Summary of Artist-Writer Brainstorming

CHAPTER 3: Ping-Pong, Part II: Development, Elaboration, and Evaluation of Concepts by an "Insight-Intensive" Team
Neil's Composing Lines 2/14
February 15 Evaluation of Lines Meeting: Customer Supplants Client
Merging Pictures and Words: 2/16-2/22
Evolution of a Good Idea: The "Lawns are Our Life" Campaign
Tip-Ball Evaluative Meeting 2/22/02: "I'm Sure We'll See a Lawnmower in Here Real Soon"
Second Tip-Ball Meeting 2/27/02: "Romance the Product"
3/6 Tip-Ball Meeting: The End of the Lines and a New Assignment
Case Conclusion

CHAPTER 4: "We Had One Idea That We Liked a Lot": The Invention of a Preparation- and Evaluation-Intensive Team
The Copywriter
The Artist
Overview of Composing Processes
Preparation and Preliminary Ideas
Brainstorming Session

CHAPTER 5: Less Divergence than Convergence: Analysis of a Preparation- and Evaluation-Intensive Team's Invention and the End of the Hunt
Summary of Artist-Writer Brainstorming
Concept Development and Tip-Ball, 2/15-22
2/22-27 Tightening Up
Verbal-Visual Cognition: Assimilation and Accommodation in the Dyadic Mind

CHAPTER 6: Collaboration Envisioned
Initial Verbal-Visual Invention Predominantly Concerned with Visual
Rhetorical Elements in Verbal-Visual Composing
Comparison of Sequences of Invention of Artist-Writer Teams
Comparison of Collaboration Styles: Assertive vs. Supportive
Dyadic Self-Evaluation
The Pause That Refreshes and Other Varieties: Comparison of Pauses in Dyadic Composing Processes
Dyad's Conflict Management beyond Dismissal Pauses
Efficient Principles of Concept Invention: Verbal-Visual Topoi
Audience Analysis by Dyads, Artists, and Writers
Mindfulness in the Collaborative Efforts
Dyadic vs. Large-Group Productivity
Contribution of the Study to Existing Models of Verbal-Visual Collaboration
The Roles of Concepts and Layout in Group Assimilation and Accommodation
Questions for Further Research
Recommendations for the Practice, Training, and Teaching of Verbal-Visual Collaboration

Appendix: Methods
Data Gathering
Data Analysis
Mode of Representation
Locating the Ethnographer
Works Cited

Author-Subject Index

List of Figures

List of Tables

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