They say a picture paints a thousand words, but pictures go beyond just that. Sometimes they force an emotional response.
Consider the Snake Campaign from Playland, an amusement park in Vancouver.
This print ad features a horrified man on a background split between two scenes: on the left, a jungle landscape, on the right, an outdoor amusement park.
In front of the amusement park scene, the man clutches the handle of his roller coaster safety bar as he seems to be hurtling from a high drop on the ride. In front of the jungle scene, the man’s hand is nearly clutching an enormous snake that has slithered itself over his neck and waist. The snake and safety bar are precisely symmetrical, harnessing the man in for a ride he wishes he hadn’t taken, while playing on people’s nightmarish aversion to snakes.
The message? Playland is a place to scream yourself silly: “Fear Made Fun.”
People like pictures. A lot.
Why? For one thing, pictures help our brains process and retain information.
According to John Medina, author of Brain Rules, people can often remember more than 2,500 pictures with at least 90 percent accuracy several days after seeing them. When comparing pictures to oral presentations, researchers found that people listening to an oral presentation could only recall around 10 percent of the details. But when an image was added, recall rose to 65 percent!
The brain also processes images faster than any other form of communication. A team of neuroscientists from MIT found that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds. So whether you’re writing a report, brainstorming ads, or creating handouts for a seminar, be sure to prioritize pictures!
Here are several ways to incorporate images in your next project:
Since pictures are so efficient, an image almost always exceeds an explanation.
A diagram of a machine, a blueprint of a building, or a map of your facility will do much better conveying a concept than paragraphs of text.
An image can be a great way to introduce a chapter or a section of your presentation.
To add clarity, try placing text on top of an image (like a magazine cover, which features a signature photo with overlaid text) to create a nice header. Many online editor tools exist to help you with this, or even basic tutorials from Photoshop.
Since colors are a form of imaging, using color coding in brochures, catalogs, or store displays can help viewers make sense of your information.
Color-code sections of a binder with predominantly red images in one section and green in another section to delineate subjects. Color code inventory or training manuals to keep people and products organized, or use colors to organize workflow boards to convey urgent tasks versus those that are on-going.
Looking to spice up a flyer or brochure?
Lots of text is distracting to an audience. Instead, try replacing bullet points with a photo or icon that represents the message you want to share. A yellow triangle with an exclamation point works for highlighting caution areas. A speedometer can be used for acceleration. A bulls-eye can be used for sales targets. Be creative and have fun with icons!
Like any campaign, consistency in tone and photo content will naturally boost the message you bring. Adding thoughtful, seamless photography can help you maximize the impact, clarity, and beauty of each piece you produce.