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The importance of an image in communication

One of our favourite phrases is the one that says: “Look at the whole picture!”, and that’s not just a coincidence. Whether literally or metaphorically speaking, an image is the capture of a set of information. But is a quick glance enough to get all the information?

Definitely, it’s not enough. There are many factors that make a picture important, both on the transmitter’s and on the receiver’s side. This is because, however simple an image looks, there are specific codes in it. From the receiver’s side, things are totally subjective. Among other things, taste, ability to perceive, and critical thinking are definitely parameters that cannot be taken for granted or even consistently calculated. But, can anything be done to ensure the desired result?

The answer to this question is directly related to the factors associated with the message transmitter. The image created by the transmitter should include all those data that can be perceived at first glance. It is both the clear emphasis through direct depiction and the indirect reference that matters. For example, someone cannot talk about the sea and provide the audience with the image of a mountain! The message should be clear. “I want to show you the blue colour, a splash of white too, and perhaps a little bit of yellow, and waves – some waves for sure. A drop of coolness and something of a feeling of relaxation!”. But how can the whole image be presented properly?

If you put all these colours on an image of a window, then the view changes. The first thought about the blue colour is for the sky, not for the sea. This happens because not all of us live in a picturesque seaside area, where the first picture with these colours that strikes our mind is the blue sea with some waves and the golden sand below the sun. Usually, or at least the best case scenario, it is the blue sky, with the wavy white clouds and the yellow colour of the sun. Please, do not complain that this thought is a bit childish! Just think about it; giving a blue and a yellow crayon to a child, what would it think first of all to paint on the white paper, the sea or the sky? Thus, it is important for the transmitter to give yet some useful information: the place, a clue about the landscape, etc. In other words, one should provide the audience with the data of all the particular features.

But, we said that the whole process is not that simple. Let’s check its complex part, its function. Most people are quite familiar with the QR Code. It is a square (usually on products or applications), which is made up of many smaller black and white squares and, once scanned by an optical device, it provides us with all the information stored in the overall shape of its image. This actually is the exact process that the human brain follows every time there is something to be visually analysed. But, it is even more complicated, since the human brain has in its service the tools of logic and emotion.

Therefore, an image provides the audience not only with the information that carries in its design and colours, but also interacts with all the feelings and thoughts that each receiver has in their memory. So, when a creative digital designing office wants to provide the target market with the image of the sea in its most successful and complete way, it should not just show the image by featuring its components; it should also remind the audience of the feelings and the related thoughts. A picturesque little tavern, or a golden sandy beach with moments of exhilaration, or a relaxing voyage though the waves. All this process is supported by codes and techniques that are applicable to every marketing and promotion issue using visual material.