Visuals Vs. Verbals. Why are we fighting?

I have twins aged 7.

One boy. One girl.

Very different.

One thing they share is the conviction that if I’m focusing on the other one, it means that they’ve lost out.

Last night, we discussed the notion of zero-sum game, then they went to sleep and I went back to working.

And I saw this post on Twitter:

visual not verbal






The link leads to a piece in a design mag, written by the head of a design agency, with the basic premise: people are visual.

I think they are. I think they are also verbal. But it would be infantile to think that good visual design and good verbal design is a zero-sum game.

(Though, some people do  have profound trouble with words. People like great art directors. When I first started work, I was out getting lunch with a fantastic art director, and we were stopped in the street and asked for directions to a famous chip shop. He couldn’t explain in words, he had to draw a diagram. The chip shop turned out to be just round the first corner.)

The author cites the success of Monster energy drinks, with its Goth font and neon green, as proof that visual cues are more powerful than brand copywriting.

But have you ever noticed what someone does when their eye is drawn to an interesting new product on a supermarket shelf? They pick it up. Then they turn it round to read about it on the back.

Visuals attract. Verbals engage.

Even in the greatest art galleries in the world, in the presence of the greatest works of art created by humankind,  people go up and read the little sign beside the painting first.

Visuals attract. Verbals engage. Can we stop fighting please?