Images are Core in the Age of a Visual Culture…for Good Reason

July 2017

If I tell you that I was recently at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine, looking at a sculpture by Bernard Langlais and a painting of a flamboyant woman by Charles Dana Gibson (creator of The Gibson Girl illustrations from back in the day), you would recall only some of the words you just read.

However, if I paired the above paragraph with relevant imagery, you would retain 65 percent of the information three days later.


Next, I’ll tell you something I learned about the flight of beer that my daughter sampled during our recent girls-only trip in Maine. The correct way to conduct a beer tasting is to drink each sample moving from left to right or from light to dark brews.

If I paired the flight-of-beer information with the video (below), I would increase your recall by 80 percent for 30 days.

Ninety percent of all information that comes into our brain is visual, and 40 percent of all nerve fibers connected to the brain are linked to the retina. Neuroscientists from MIT have found that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds.

These statistics present compelling reasons to use imagery in content marketing—whether it’s a unique graphic design, photography, illustration or video.

Content marketing is elevated when relevant imagery is coupled with a compelling narrative. When writers and visual teams collaborate on projects, content marketing rises above competing noise, ratchets up the impact and gives you a better chance for success. Add a personal connection, or an emotional or humorous appeal, and your content is destined to score higher points in relevance, attention and likability.

On a lighter note, my recent trip to mid-coast Maine was a visual treat, and my daughter reports (and you can see from the video), that she fully enjoyed each selection in her flight of beer.