Updated: May 5, 2021
Have you ever heard the expression, "a picture paints a thousand words?"
It's so true. Words can limit our ability to communicate ideas. Even a split second glance at an image has the ability to convey volumes of information. Whether you are a marketer, graphic designer, or a business owner, it is important to understand the tactics that add power and clarity to your communication.
Creating Dynamic Images with a Singular Focus
Graphic artists have many tricks of the trade. Some blur the background of the image to draw our focus to one element. Others add texture to flat graphics by adding text shadows or blending elements.
But on an even more conceptual level, you can communicate boldly and clearly with signs and symbols. Wanting to simplify your message - while adding complexity? Here are three techniques you can experiment with in print marketing to amplify your visual messages:
On the most basic level, signs are the combination of a word and a picture to create meaning.
What comes to your mind when you see a bright yellow triangle or an image of a dog with a slash through it? Signs convey simple, universal ideas that audiences can understand immediately. Even the colors themselves have inherent meaning!
Like a cross and skill poison symbol, signs can stop people in their tracks. Signs are especially helpful when communicating with mass audiences at a glance. Keep them simple and vibrant to amplify your visual message.
Typograms refer the specific type of typography used to express an idea visually.
For example, the word "half" shown with only the top half of each letter showing might imply an eraser effect. The word "soccer" with the "o" popping out above the text brings a playful, spirited message.
Typograms use a basic visual enforcement to add subtext to the words you display. Logos, taglines, or custom envelopes are a terrific place to put typograms to work for your message.
While signs communicate a very straightforward message, many images have connotative meanings with far more complexity.
While a house denotes a place where you live, a home has far greater connotations - family, security, and love. A subject, the objects surrounding it, and the editing techniques we use can all play a role in the cognitive messages we bring. Think about these examples:
Cropping a woman's face to only the eye can make viewers wonder what she is thinking
Inverting colors may insinuate a flashback scene or a memory
Increasing contrast between the back and foregrounds might suggest the object behind a person is about to surprise them
Larger contrasts or color saturation can elicit feelings or arousal or cheerfulness
Increased sepia tones can give an aged or vintage look
Add Clarity and Complexity to Communicate on Many Different Levels
While language can limit our ideas, an image communicates on many different levels. Proficient designers know the more clarity or complexity you bring to your print, the greater the impact you will have on your target audience.
Use signs, typograms, and symbolic imagery to add emotional weight, to increase the efficiency of your communication, and achieve a greater return from your marketing dollars.