CARP: Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, and Proximity

This was this week’s assignment:

Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 10.16.50 PM

This is another one of these assignments where I recognized just how abstract my subject matter of English really is. What is the visual way to display the difference between a simple concept like adjectives and adverbs? How can one display an understanding parts of speech while  using  contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity?


Who are my users and what assumptions do I make about them?

Just like the last few weeks, I would be presenting this resource to my own students, so it’s a group that I am intimately familiar with. My students in this class would be sophomores, between the ages of 13 and 17, with medium-low to medium English writing, reading & grammar skills. They should have a basic understanding of the parts of speech in English, as they would have been taught parts of speech at least once, in their freshman year, but most likely, they’ve forgotten the names and roles of the different parts of speech and are “due” for a reminder.

Why do you think your solution will work?

On page 201, Lohr passes on the advice of Robin Williams  (1994) to “make things really different” so they’ll truly POP. I was nervous about using a lot of the bold coloring in this assignment, specifically in the black background/white text of “answers the question”; however, when I had the image out without that detail, it truly just blended in too much. I felt like the bar gave some spacing to an extraordinarily plain image. Additionally, adding the underline to each of the details I was wanting to stress brought extra attention to what I was needing to get extra attention.

On page 203, Lohr also talks about the idea of repetition creating “a sense of harmony and unity. When you repeat similar colors in a display, or similar typefaces, you imply relationships.” I feel that while the fonts were the same, the coloring and size of the fonts did a good job of showing the relationship between the types of parts of speech (adverbs vs adjectives), the questions they asked, and the example sentences.

What did you learn from a “user-test”?

As I type this lesson up, I’m currently sponsoring a school “lock-in” sleepover, which means that I’m exhausted, but I’m fortunate to have a few different “test samples” of students that can look at this image. What they seem to understand is my examples of the question that adverbs and adjectives respectively answer. They seem to not be crazy about the lack of visuals in this image, but none can see to come up with any images that would enhance the image’s subject matter. 1 For the most part, they seem to connect the list, its order, and its white space and “pacing” to its ideas. Everything is aligned neatly, both lists form a pyramid (so they are consistent), they’re repetitive and balanced, yet spaced apart at the right distance.



Lohr, Linda, L. (2008). Creating Graphics for Learning and Performance, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.


  1. For example, “Since your sentences are about Singing in the Rain, you should add a picture from that show.” “Why?” “Uh… it would look cool.” “But would it display CARP?” “What is CARP?”
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