The dissemination of desktop publishing and web authoring software has allowed nearly everyone in industrialized countries to combine verbal and visual symbols into text. Serious multimodal projects often demand extensive teamwork, especially in the workplace. But how can collaboration engaging such different traditions of expression be conducted effectively? To address this question, Envisioning Collaboration traces the composing processes of expert graphic artists and writers preparing advertising campaigns to retain a vital national account. It examines the influences on individual and dyadic composing processes of what Csikszentmihalyi terms "the domain," in this case the disciplinary knowledge of advertising, and "the field," in this case the surrounding economic conditions and client, vendor, customer, and agency executive gatekeepers.
Based on a 460-hour participant-observation and intensive computerized data analysis, Envisioning Collaboration is the first book to meticulously examine collaborative creative processes at an award-winning advertising agency, including audience analysis, branding, collaborative "moves," power and conflict management, uses of humor, degree of mindfulness, and effectiveness. The findings indicate the role of concepts in generating common texts by artists and writers, the role of the visual in individuals' composing, verbal-visual rhetorical elements in processes and products, and which verbal-visual techniques were most generative. Findings are related to pertinent research in technical and business writing, rhetoric and composition, and some key research in visual design, communication, advertising, neurolinguistics, management, and psychology. The book concludes with a pedagogical/training unit incorporating "gateway activities" for effective verbal-visual composition and collaboration.