Who hasn’t heard the expression ‘a picture paints a thousand words’?
Usually (probably incorrectly) attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucious, it’s a phrase often quoted in creative circles – and usually by designers to convince copywriters, account handlers and clients to reduce copy length and enable them to deliver beautiful advertising art.
There’s a similar Japanese proverb which translates as ‘one look is worth a thousand words’.
And in a 1911 newspaper article, the phrase, ‘Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words’ was attributed to Arthur Brisbane, when talking about journalism and publicity.
But regardless of the origin of the idea, it’s certainly a truism that a visual idea can convey an incredible amount of information, without the need for words.
And I’m a huge fan of keeping an idea simple, keeping the copy really focused.
But the reality is that the visual alone will very rarely convey your positioning – unless it’s already deeply established.
The fact is that copy and visual almost always need to work together in harmony to deliver real impact.
It’s why creative teams are made up of designers AND copywriters.
Show me some beans, I see beans.
Show me a kid eating beans. And that’s what I see.
Show me the can. I see your logo.
But add three simple words… I understand your brand.