In reading Chapter 1 of Writer/Designer, I found myself intrigued by the idea of multimodality—several elements working together to create a specific tone and message in a medium, such as a commercial or movie. I noticed that others paid attention to this, as well, with Taj Wilson’s post “The Magic of Multimodality,” for example. She says that, “being a film and television enthusiast, the idea clicked for me instantly.” I began to think of the things that I am enthusiastic about that could apply to this notion of multimodality, and I thought about my love for music. But not just the aural part of it—the visual part as well. Album art, CD or record inserts, social media themes, concert visuals. It all becomes cohesive in such a way that creates a memorable tone that agrees with the music that is being sold. Kristin Arola writes that an element “is the placement and relation of the elements in a text that offers meaning for the whole.” (12). In my example, these visual additions to the main element, the music, offers more significance to the music and therefore makes a larger impact on its audience.
One example is the album artwork for Cage the Elephant’s Melophobia. The artwork is a sort of drug-induced type of strange, which correlates with the oddness of much of the music on the album. Paired with a unique stage presence, there are elements working together to create something whole: the image of the album. The multimodality of the medium.
Of course, this can be applied to solely digital publication as well. Several artists, music-related or not, have used this thematic cohesion online, with website design and social media pictures and postings. There is a certain “vibe” that is unique to an artist, which can be marketable and beneficial for the image of their brand or style.
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Arola, Kristin L., et al. Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2014.