Reflection Piece

Narrative Theory
The narrative of the Bio is deliberately structured to apply Aristotle’s concept of causality, whereby the first half constitutes the complication where the “knot is tied”, and the second half unravelling, where the “knot is resolved”.

The structure can be also likened to Tzvetan Todorov’s theory as interpreted by L. Cohen that a good narrative should have:
1. Equilibrium: Smiley baby
2. Disruption: Baby tossing
3. Recognition/facing the problem: Learn communication
4. Repair: Cartooning & Computer Science
5. New equilibrium: Applying communication for a cause
Ceteris paribus, applying these narrative theories is likely to yield better reception to most raw information, as a bio tends to consist of.

Signifiers Of Genre: Title, Image, Colours & Font
According to Ferdinand de Saussure, a Swiss linguist, we associate meaning with each presented piece of media, or media text, as a system of signifier -> signified, otherwise known as Semiotics.  Using this approach, we look into how the meaning is derived from the various parts of this blog’s design.

Identity Construct: Site Title & Font
The challenge was to create a genre identity befitting a cartoonist and creative media professional.  Among my many passions is a love for animals.  The name “ianimals” is a natural combination of “Ian” and “animals”, the chosen genre.   According to Bazerman (1988, p319), genre theory is a “socio-psychological category which we use to recognize and construct typified actions within typified situations”.  A font choice resembling the Singapore Night Safari logo, for the subliminal association with the animals, which in turn can be deemed a genre.

Identity Construct: Picture
The cover picture itself, taken at the Singapore River, was curated to clearly depict the animal genre, as well as my “cartoonist” genre, hence the stunned “deer in the headlights” look on the otter’s face is a signifier that humour is expected.  A medium-close-up shot is also chosen the same way it is used in film, to capture a reaction, supposedly a funny or dramatic one for the otter.

Identity Construct: Content
According to Eisenlauer and Hoffmann (2010), online narratives are multilinear.  Hence, each post is a visual story in itself, yet somehow connected with the overriding narrative – “the journey of a animal loving cartoonist”.

Villalobos’ five rules of design have already been worked inevitably into each wordpress theme.  Still, repetition is presented within the affordances of the posts – similarly formatted pictorial mini-stories comprising a heading, one picture, and a funny caption.  Alignment – the width of each picture is also lined up in each post as well as in the pages, a skill every publisher is familiar with.

Eugenie Siapera’s (2012) note on multimediality is extended to provide continuity between the text on the Intro Video page, which starts the narrative, to each video’s beginning, middle and end, ensuring each mini-narrative has a revelation of some sort to conclude.

For alternative genre designs, see also: