Media has such a prominent effect on today’s society. With how large media has grown, more recent studies involve the effectiveness of different imagery on media. And consistently studies have shown that visual content resonates the information much more effectively. These studies are investigating how and why imagery is effective in getting the point across to the viewers; this was prominent in the past through propaganda, but with how easily accessible media has become to us these reasons are changing. Just as how our perception changes in alignment with the changes in the world around us. It has an influence on marketing, education, and social norms.
Visuals are what control our world in the current day. With how many stimuli we have on social media, visuals are the biggest attention grabbers because they are the easiest to comprehend. “We’re in a golden age of visuals, and content is king, 2017 is all about images that are bold, impactful, and evocative” (Dyakovskaya). Images have a certain standard in modern day to be effective with viewers. The images used in social media are more likely to evoke emotional reactions in viewers and can portray information more efficiently than text. There are many strategies in which this is applied, a large contributor is color. More recent imagery is becoming experimental with undaunted colors. The goal is to make the image the most unique in how it ‘pops’ out to the viewer. There is also an uprise in the branding of colors for certain companies. An example is given in Balm’s article: “RE/MAX recently released series of light-hearted ads that feature quite the colorful cast of characters. The campaign’s blend of bright backdrops and entertaining dialogue certainly leaves an impression”. The campaign of RE/MAX features bright colors and backdrops to draw the viewer in based upon the feelings the colors bring out, along with how bright colors often emanate an uplifted mood.
Virtual reality is one of the industries of visual technology expanding at an alarming rate. The ways we define ourselves as human is consistently being altered, and the new ‘virtual world’ being created revolves around just that. When it comes to technology, like all innovation, we always want more. Now, we can not only look at visuals, but practically step inside them. “One of the latest efforts comes from the Tourism Authority of Thailand, which unveiled four 360-videos giving viewers a taste of what it would be like to visit and explore the Southeast Asian country” (Dyakovskaya). Newer technology is not only creating visual worlds, but letting us step into the virtual makeup of places around the globe with great precision. These are examples of how we are becoming more and more attracted to tidbits of information in the form of visuals. We are being bombarded by stimuli and often seek the easiest and most familiar way of learning information. Reading can be a time-consuming activity. It takes a lot longer to read a long sentence than to analyze a visual scene.
Visuals are also being integrated into the media of business. Images that are posted on social media can help to share a message and tell a bit of a story about the business itself. Imagery can impose a sense of personality for a business, and it can be focused upon the types of people they’re trying to attract through their media. People often engage more with a business that seems more like a friend, even more so on social media. Modern business imagery is moving towards the genuine aspects of media, being more candid or ‘normal’ in contrast to media that can be a bit more extreme in its work. Imagery for business is very useful in social media because business focuses on getting more total viewers for the company. A Huffington Post article, focusing on why images are so important to business, states: “Images have become ever increasingly popular with the ability for people to take photos and videos with their camera on their smartphone. If you haven’t already, now is the time to start incorporating images into your social media strategy”. Images are always being shared around social media and it is important for business to get their foot in the door for that part of media. One way this is done to increase branding is how bigger businesses often create hashtags so that people who use their brand in whatever shape or form, capture it in an image, and share it worldwide. The more people to click on the hashtag or search up the brand tagged, the better for the company, because modern business is all about promotion and consistency of a brand.
On top of all of it all, science has proven how we learn most effectively through imagery. As stated earlier, words are often rather difficult for the brain to retain, whereas visuals are concrete and, as such, more easily remembered. Ph.D Kouyoumdjian illustrates this in great precision: “Think about your past school days of having to learn a set of new vocabulary words each week. Now, think back to the first kiss you had or your high school prom date. Most probably, you had to put forth great effort to remember the vocabulary words. In contrast, when you were actually having your first kiss or your prom date, I bet you weren’t trying to commit them to memory. Yet, you can quickly and effortlessly visualize these experiences”. The human brain has an amazing knack for processing visual information and your ability to easily remember life experiences. Our brains can memorize events that have occurred in front of our eyes without us even attempting to. One study asked students to remember many groups of three words each, such as dog, bike, and street. Students who tried to remember the words through repetition did not do well on recall. On the other end, students who made the effort to make visual associations with the three words, for example, imagining a dog riding a bike down the street, had much better recall.
The visual graphics in logos are often considered the most memorable part of a brand. A brand can be recognized brand by seeing the visual graphic, before even seeing the name of the brand. This type of visual can be very effective. For example, earlier this year Starbucks simplified their logo by dropping their written name and keeping only their logo of the mermaid. The advertisement front of Starbucks Corporation has shown that they are keenly aware of how our brains have automatically and effortlessly committed their graphics to memory. Visual learning is very powerful in teaching. Newer textbooks are focusing much more on the visuals of the text rather than the paragraphs of information. Therefore, the information is being presented in a way to make the most of visual learning. The right visuals can help make difficult concepts more understandable to viewers, as well as make the information more effective. Even articles online can often be seen paired with visual content in a clear, meaningful manner. Research outcomes suggest that the effective use of visuals can decrease learning time, improve comprehension, better retrieval, and increase retention.
Imagery has such a large influence on modern society. Media is one of the most prominent things in our modern lives. Visual images are proven to be the most effective way to grab a person’s attention, as well as have the information presented retained. It is often impossible to read everything that grabs your attention, and images help make our lives simpler to some extent. And modern times are obsessed with simplicity. Media is a continuously growing aspect of modern-day life, and the use of imagery in modern day information is growing with it alongside.
- Balm, James. “The Power of Pictures. How We Can Use Images to Promote and Communicate Science”. Research in Progress Blog, 8 Dec. 2014, https://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcblog/2014/08/11/the-power-of-pictures-how-we-can-use-images-to-promote-and-communicate-science/