Picture Perfect: The Power of Visual Storytelling

13 mins read

Let’s talk a bit about the obvious things. One of them is why even a great text needs pictures.

During an experiment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, scientists found out that it takes only 0.013 seconds for the human brain to determine the meaning of an image.

It takes just over one-hundredth of a second to understand the sea and two beautiful girls in swimsuits in the picture above. The girls seem to be enjoying their time running into the water, as a seaside vacation typically brings positive emotions.

If you haven’t been on vacation yet, you’re probably planning it. If you’re tired of seeing sea photos, you may react with discontent. And if you don’t like a seaside vacation, you’ll likely react neutrally.

We won’t describe all the emotions that the picture might evoke, but it takes anywhere from 0.013 to 0.08 seconds to understand it.

It takes about 10 to 20 seconds to read the description of the picture. So, to read the same amount of information in the text, you’ll have to spend 125-1500 times more time, even if the text is laconic, accurate, and interesting.

Note that if you buy a text and pay for the number of characters, the author might try to impress you with their vocabulary and intellect, leading to a long, dull text. If the text is not properly structured into paragraphs and the ideas are scattered, even the most attentive reader will lose interest. By the middle of the text, the average reader has already stopped reading.

If you’ve managed to read the previous paragraph, it was probably much harder than the beginning of the article where the picture was shown. If you haven’t read it, congratulations, you’ve already understood the essence of the article.

How do pictures help tell a story

Pictures can help tell a story by providing visual context, emotional impact, and visual cues that support the narrative. Here are some ways in which pictures can help tell a story:

  1. Setting the scene: Pictures can be used to set the scene and provide context for the story. A picture of a mountain range, for example, can help establish that the story is taking place in a rugged and isolated setting.
  2. Conveying emotions: Pictures can convey emotions and feelings that may be difficult to express through words alone. A picture of a crying child, for example, can evoke sympathy and sadness in the viewer, and help to illustrate the emotional impact of the story.
  3. Showing action: Pictures can show action and movement in a way that words may not be able to capture. A picture of a car crash, for example, can help to illustrate the chaos and destruction of the event in a way that words alone may not be able to convey.
  4. Supporting the narrative: Pictures can provide visual cues that support the narrative of the story. A picture of a character’s broken watch, for example, can help to illustrate the passage of time, and support the story’s themes of loss and impermanence.

Overall, pictures can help to enrich and deepen a story, by providing visual context, emotional impact, and visual cues that support the narrative. By combining words with pictures, storytellers can create a richer and more engaging experience for their audience.

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Save Reader’s Time

Time is the most valuable resource, and with the exponential growth of important and necessary texts, it’s important to save every second for the reader. The number of unimportant and unnecessary texts has exceeded all conceivable scales, making it essential to prioritize the reader’s time.

To save the reader’s time, a good headline and sub-headings, competent layout, and formatting can be helpful. However, the most important factor is high-quality illustrations that reflect the text’s ideas and, at times, replace entire paragraphs.

Well-structured information and thoughtful illustrations are essential for presenting educational material. When text is well-structured, it becomes easy to comprehend and remember important information. The easier it is to remember, the more likely the reader is to recall your product when needed.

If an illustration can convey the meaning of a paragraph, it’s best to use a picture. By doing so, you can save the reader’s time and help them easily understand the text.

Read more: Top 5 Tips for Using Images, Videos, Logos in Your Press Release

Illustrations Are More Effective in Conveying Ideas

The channel that is bombarded with excessive information noise performs poorly compared to other channels.

When you visit a grocery store after work, your emotions are usually influenced by what you see rather than by what you smell or hear.

When the visual channel is saturated with information, a weary shopper is more interested in the scent of goods than their attractive packaging. Especially if there is a variety of beautifully packaged cookies, but only one fresh, warm, and soft bread that emanates an alluring aroma from somewhere around the corner.

Fresh bread scent becomes more effective when there are numerous attractive packages.

On the internet, text is still the primary medium for conveying information. However, even the most unusual picture that is relevant to the context has a higher chance of being more effective than text because there are more letters and fewer images.

This partly explains the popularity of Instagram, Youtube, vlogs, and podcasts. With new information channels that contain less noise, it is easier to deliver content of average quality.

We read millions of authors and billions of texts online. Too many people write texts. However, even excellent writers may not know how to select or create relevant and high-quality text illustrations.

Many people write excellent texts, while others choose great illustrations. Only a few individuals know how to do both.

Illustrations Are Always Remembered

Illustrations have a powerful impact on memory retention. Emotion-inducing images are more likely to be remembered than those that rely on text alone to evoke emotions. The human brain prioritizes retaining information that is backed by emotions, which is an evolutionary trait designed to help us remember important experiences.

Studies have shown that emotional memorization helps us focus on the essence of an experience, while discarding extraneous details that are less important. Therefore, if given the choice between two illustrations, it is best to choose the one that evokes emotions in the viewer.

Positive emotions are more easily remembered than negative ones because our memory tends to enhance pleasant experiences while discarding unpleasant ones. Even if the reader doesn’t remember the text in detail, a bright and positive illustration will be more memorable.

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Nothing Illustrates Your Product Better Than an Image

An image can showcase your product like nothing else.

It may seem obvious, yet business owners often view the cost of a photo shoot as a self-indulgence, something only for those who have already succeeded. Instead, they focus on other costs like quality text and SEO for their PR.

As a result, they resort to using stock images. We do the same. But if your business has a physical presence, then it’s worth investing in a professional photoshoot at least once. Capture real, genuine photos of your own products, even if they are not perfect. Imperfect, real photos are always better than stock images.

Do this occasionally, especially after a rebranding or releasing a new product line. Real photos of products create realistic expectations for customers, which can lead to their satisfaction. They receive exactly what they see in the picture, nothing more, nothing less. And a satisfied customer is a loyal customer.

In contrast, if the actual product fails to live up to the polished stock images, the customer will be disappointed. Even pictures of flawed products, such as sneakers with slightly crooked designs, can still be useful if they demonstrate the real products. This has been proven by AliExpress.

Stock photos can work against you, so it’s better to make your own.

Any Illustrations Are Better Than Nothing

It is important to have illustrations for your business, even if they are not professionally made. For instance, if you organize a digital conference, it’s important to have visually appealing content, and it’s strange if you don’t have a professional photographer.

As your business becomes more technologically advanced, having high-quality illustrations becomes increasingly important. This helps to build customer trust, and customers are willing to pay more if they see the value in your offerings.

If your business doesn’t have a physical product, then it’s important to come up with interesting concepts and visualize them through images. Don’t just rely on amateur photos taken by a PR person. Create memes, collages, posters, and photophones with the help of designers.

Remember, any illustrations are better than nothing. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of images to create an engaging visual experience for your customers.

We have created our own corporate photo background on the office wall, which will make future communication easier with our own photo bank. With this, we can show the progress of our work and the changes that have been made. We can also highlight the differences between the before and after photos. In today’s technological business world, high-quality illustrations are essential.

Often, the importance of images is overlooked, despite their ability to have a greater impact than even the highest quality text. Quality illustrations can help to better convey the essence of the text, while good product photos can boost sales and increase customer satisfaction.

Even if your services do not have a physical component, it’s still important to develop a concept for high-quality graphic content and create a corporate image bank. This will significantly improve the effectiveness of your marketing and PR communications in the future.

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