Archive for Books, Textbooks

Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects

Arola, Kristin L.; Sheppard, Jennifer; Ball, Cheryl E. (2014). Writer/designer: A guide to making multimodal projects. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

abstract (from the Bedford W/D website)

Creating multimodal projects can seem daunting, but Writer/Designer streamlines the multimodal composing process and makes it manageable for students. Designed to work in any college course, this brief, accessible book is here to help students whether they are creating a poster, a webtext, an animated video, or any other kind of text. Write/Design assignments guide students through the process of researching the right genre for their project, finding the tools to work with different media, drafting with mockups and storyboards, and presenting their final projects to the world. Online examples, tutorials, and activities in e-Pages take advantage of what the Web can do, showcasing real multimodal compositions from both students and professionals.

additional materials

Cover of Writer/Designer

Cover of Writer/Designer


"visualizing composition"

Ball, Cheryl E., & Arola, Kristin L. (2010). visualizing composition (2nd ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press. [password required]

description [the ‘cover’ blurb]

ix visualizing composition is a concrete introduction to the fundamentals of multimodal composition. Each tutorial moves through the following three steps:

  1. Define. Illustrated definitions help you visualize principles of layout, design and composition: element, contrast, purpose, text, framing, audience, alignment, context, emphasis, color, proximity, organization, and sequence.
  2. Analyze. Guided readings of real-world texts—such as photographs, movie clips, comics, and animation—model how writers of different texts put theory into practice.
  3. Respond. Interactive assignments invite you to make your own rhetorical choices—determining font face or color, image hue, and the placement and organizational of visual and textual elements—and to write about the impact those choices have.

Note: This is the second edition of ix, the CD-ROM Arola and I co-authored in 2004. In this version, 9 of 13 tutorials (broken down by terms associated with rhetorical design choices) have been completely revised, with new and more multimodal examples and analyses.

"Picturing Texts Website"

Ball, Cheryl E. (2004). Picturing Texts [Website]. New York: W.W. Norton.

abstract [from site]pict-texts-website
Redefining composition to include conscious attention to images and design, Picturing Texts is a writing textbook that teaches how to compose visual texts as well as how to read them. This Web site is a repository of useful materials for working with the book. It includes online readings, with suggested focus and respond sections [coordinating with the structure of the print book]; guidelines for writing for the Web; links to resources on the Web that will help students do the kind of work invited by Picturing Texts; and more.

This website accompanies the writing/composition textbook Picturing Texts (Selfe, Cynthia; Faigley, Lester, George, Diana; & Palchik, Anna; W.W. Norton, 2004). I wrote the content for 7 interactive chapters and 3 sections of ancillary materials for the website.

accompanying materials

see also

"ix tech comm"

Ball, Cheryl E. & Arola, Kristin L. (2005). ix tech comm: visual exercises for technical communication [CD-ROM]. Boston: Bedford–St. Martin’s.

abstract [from CD cover]ix-techcomm
ix tech comm offers a new way to visualize technical communication—because there are things you just can’t do in a book. Each of the 9 exercises moves through the following three steps: (1) Illustrated definitions help students visualize key concepts: text, purpose, element, context, audeince, color, contrast, emphasis, framing, alignment, proximity, organization, and sequence. (2) Guided analyses of real world texts—such as an X-men plane schematic, a bicycling safety PowerPoint presentation, and an illustrated recipe—model for students how to put theory into practice. (3) Interactive assignments invite students to make their own rhetorical choices—changing colors, determining alignment and typeface, and rearranging the elements of a web site’s navigation—and to write about the impact those choices have.

accompanying materials

  • link to CD-ROM’s accompanying website
  • email from teacher who uses ix: tech comm

"ix visual exercises"

Ball, Cheryl E. & Arola, Kristin L. (2004). ix: visual exercises [CD-ROM]. Boston: Bedford–St. Martin’s.

This CD-ROM introduces visual rhetoric theories to students and teachers using rhetorical terms with which they are already familiar. It includes visual readings and assignments that students in cultural-studies-focused writing classes are likely to encounter (e.g., advertisements, photographs, comics, illustrations, interactive web movies, etc.). The CD contains nine sections (i.e., “ix”); each section has approximately 20 unique screens of content. Total screen count is approximately 200.ix


  • Update 01/09: Over 95,200 copies of ix have been distributed.

accompanying materials

  • link to CD-ROM website
  • review of CD from “next/text: what happens when textbooks go digital”, a subdivision of the Institute for the Future of the Book (linked to Internet Archive version; site has moved since 2005)
  • review of CD in Computers and Composition
  • email from teacher using ix

"Picturing Texts Instructor's Guide"

Ball, Cheryl E. (2004). Picturing Texts instructor’s guide. New York: W.W. Norton (pp. 1-114).

The Instructor’s Guide, which accompanies the Picturing Texts (Selfe, George, Palchek, & Faigley, 2004) composition textbook, suggests starting points for working with the discussion questions, advice to give students about the writing prompts, syllabi for several ways of using the book, and other ideas for working with Picturing Texts.

accompanying materials

  • a review in C&C Online
  • a review in Kairos
  • This is a closed-access, print publication. For a copy, please contact a Norton sales rep.