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Marketing Viewpoint by Ruth Winett

Create Graphics That Are Worth a Thousand Words


Beginning with Neanderthals, who drew simple maps in the sand, people have always used pictures to convey meaning. Before inserting graphics into your web pages and documents, make sure that the graphics illustrate, not obscure, your ideas.


Among the advantages of using graphics is that they:

  • Humanize or personalize text. Examples are pictures of staff and leaders on a business website.
  • Enhance text by adding meaning or creating dramatic, humorous, or artistic effect. The Boston Globe recently featured the artwork for Bemelmans' popular Madeline books.
  • Visually represent things, such as products and/or product packaging.
  • Help people visualize places (office buildings or labs), things, and events (the Patriots triumphal parade).
  • Explain processes and systems, such as chemical processes, distribution networks, and communications systems.
  • Convey spatial or numerical information efficiently. Maps, diagrams, charts, and graphs are a few examples.

Here are eight tips for using graphics more effectively:

  • Know your audience and your material, and provide the right image and the right amount of detail for the right audience.
  • Use pictures of real people at work, not pictures of actors hovering over PCs or conference tables, trying to look busy.
  • Provide context. When did the event occur and where? What are the people doing?
  • Provide complete captions for pictures and labels for graphs. Name your sources, and tell readers what the pictures and graphs signify.
  • Study publications and websites that use graphics, captions, and labels effectively, as in The Wall Street Journal's "Money and Investing" section.
  • Note that more isn't necessarily better. Graphics take a long time to download and gobble up paper when you make hard copies.
  • Make sure your originals are sharp as graphics degrade when reproduced or sized for smaller devices.
  • Use text and pictures that are large enough for easy reading, but not so large that they dominate the page. Many blogs and websites have graphics that take up most of the valuable "above the fold" real estate, without enhancing the viewer's experience.

Use graphics in a way that is appropriate for your audience. Infograms should enhance, not detract, from your documents and websites. Tables and graphs should be self-explanatory, and text should be legible. Good captions and labels are essential so that if someone reproduces the graphics out of context, your message will still be clear.= Business research for growing companies


Business research for growing companies


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