How does text affect an image?
Without text, some images; photos, advertisements, even pieces of art like Barbara Kruger’s would simply be nonsensical. Text offers a way to push people’s perceptions of an image in a certain direction, make then see certain things in the image, make the image seem more than what it actually is.
Above is a rather cunning advertisement, the image itself, whilst amusing, is nothing more than a small child. Then, when the text is read, the viewer is suddenly enlightened to the fact that it’s advertising chocolate liqueurs. This advert I like anyway, as it’s smart, amusing and unusual, but looking at it in terms of text, it would be entirely confusing without the slogan at the bottom. A viewer would be left hazarding a guess at what the image was implying, and, more importantly for “Lunivers De Chocolat”, nobody would be any more informed about their product, and the advertisement would be pointless.
Another smart advertisement of the same calibre.
How does no text affect emotion?
Understanding the relationship between typography and imagery is integral for creating a unified, effective design. This is evident throughout the entire spectrum of advertising, as well as journalistic representations. But, slightly more contemporary; how does seeing a photo out of context, without prior knowledge, change ones opinion of its content?
The above image was taken by me, some years ago. It appears to be little more than a small, sparse piece of woodland. Quite pristine, and, if taken with an SLR, with correct exposure and bounce lighting, it could make a rather nice image.
However, if then it was explained that in between the 19th of October and 22nd of November 1914, in these wood, just outside of Ypres, in Belgium, 146,000 allied troops were killed, wounded or missing in action, the viewer’s thoughts change completely.
What was a nice irregular landscape can suddenly be discerned as potholes, trenches and craters. The sublime way the trees are spread out enough to allow the lazy autumn sunlight seep through is suddenly explained through the realization that German artillery bombardments pounded the woods for days on end. This sort of deception by omission is used endlessly in tabloids to encourage shock and outrage among the readers; the act of showing a seemingly normal photo and then dissecting it over 2 or 3 pages obviously proving popular, as it is a standard template for most newspapers.