A general intro: Apart from my blog series on document design, I will also comment on issues related to language planning in higher education and other sectors of the South African community. This stems from 15 years of experience, especially in the field of language planning practice.
At the moment the language issue at Stellenbosch University is a hot topic, given the approval of a new language policy which gives a stronger position to English as a language of learning a
So often the bad document design of institutions and companies also reflect badly on their image. The important principle here is that the moment you open your mouth or put your pen to paper you are projecting an image of yourself. The tension then is between your desired image and the image that your readers actually construe from the document. We have all had experience of this, for instance with some of the bad documents that we are confronted with from public institutions
In this article (written in Afrikaans) I argue for the role of the publisher in ensuring the quality of communication. In the article I refer to a case where the topic of homosexuality is approached in a less than favourable way, especially as far as the content is concerned. The article can be read here.
So often when we talk about document design, we discuss the interaction between text and graphics as if these two elements are different aspects of the document. But in that distinction lies one of the pitfalls of document design: Not understanding that the text is also a graphical element, that we do not simply read the text, but that we also see the text as a picture. Even though you as the reader cannot really read all of the following example, you can still see the text
Then you might be putting yourself at risk "twitter ... 1. to utter the successive chirping notes of a bird, make a bird's continuing small noises ... 2. to chatter in light inconsequential fashion, talk busily of small or negligible things ..." (Webster's Dictionary) Over the past year or two a number of controversial Twitter-feeds hit the media. Two high profile Twitter-cases come to mind: the trigger-happy president of the United States, Donald Trump, and the South African
Knowing how to focus on your reader - that's the thing! We so often forget when writing that we are writing TO someone! There is actually a real person on the other side of the document, and even though we may be producing a piece of mass communication, it is always some individual who will engage with the document, try to understand it, have feelings about the message, develop an image of you, the writer, to mention but a few things. So when you write, always think of your
Creating personas in your communication Even though your communication may be addressed to a large number of people and not an audience of only one, they are still real people with attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, feelings and all the other things that make up the human state. They each have a personality, and these personalities are like fingerprints - they all differ. And of course, then there is you, the writer. Also a human being with your own attitudes, beliefs, knowledge
Source credibility is everything The ANC - a once proud party, the party of Albert John Lutuli, Oliver Reginald Tambo, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, all of these proud leaders creating a strong image for a strong entity with an equally strong message. How will we judge the communication originating from this institution in 2017?
The keyword in that last sentence is originating of course, because our judgement of the quality of any communication starts with