Visual Analysis

by mmcgrat4

Figure 12

5. What is the composition of the image?

The figure is composed of a bright green rectangle that serves as a sign. Inside this rectangle are two black squares with yellow and white writing. The upper square says “Spylepedal” and then “Toilet flush pedal,” while the bottom square shows a large yellow arrow pointing down.

2. What social, political, and cultural forces affect the image?

This sign is formatted in the common European Union format, which immediately makes it stand out in any situation. This formatting provides ethos to the sign, which seems more authoritative because it looks official. Font, bright green color, relation between the text and the arrow, and size all cue the viewer to this conclusion. This sign is primarily written in Norwegian, and the EU produced it, so this picture was taken in a governmental location in Norway. The culture of Norway affected the language of the sign, and the EU’s involvement impacted its appearance.

4. What kinds of details, symbols, and codes send messages in the image?

The sign’s arrow pointing down means whatever idea the sign is supposed to convey, it should be directed downward. The words “Toilet flush pedal” indicate the sign is located in a bathroom, and give context to the direction provided by the arrow. Therefore, the arrow is pointing towards a lever or pedal below the sign, which is used to flush the toilet. The bright color of the sign grabs the attention of the reader and helps convey the intended message.

6. Do you think there might be any tension between the image’s intention and reception?

Yes. The EU is home to a plethora of languages, and works to ensure easy access to its different locations and cultures. Therefore, the two languages present on the sign will sometimes be completely useless. Then, the only message the sign provides is a downward direction, and the context of being in a bathroom. The intended message may still be received, but it is possible that different cultures from other countries might have different restrooms, and the pedal could be interpreted to have a different meaning.

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