Signs speak louder than words

Signs, in the physical form, simple words displayed on a metal post, usually serve as a written indication of a likely occurrence or presence, or else as a means of instruction to the viewer. Oftentimes, one will stumble across forms of signage which appear to have opted out from using words altogether in order to get a particular message across.

While driving along a sharp curve in a road, one may see a sign designed with the unfortunate image of a vehicle falling off of a cliff and into the river below. Although the sign yields no verses, it stands expressive, if not more so, than any commercial sign which may. The visual of a vehicle careening off of the roadway speaks far louder than any message board could attempt to, such that the additional subliminal warning effectively encourages the driver to slow down.

This reality could be clearly depicted with an analogy of two mothers who bump into each other at the grocery store. One begins to relate to the other the previous morning’s scene of her two year old daughter getting into her make up bag, and then proceeding to coat her entire little body with some of the most expensive body lotions and make-up. To the sympathetically listening mother, the scene sounds somewhat chaotic, a little humorous even. However, as the child’s mother shares an actual photo taken of the child sitting in very obvious disorder, the scene suddenly becomes distinct in the audience’s mind, and the magnitude of the catastrophe displayed on the child’s lipstick streaked face and lotion-covered arms instantly becomes relatable. The listener’s thoughts of mild chaos and slight humor are replaced by a kind of hysteria, horror, and a very real appreciation for the amusing story.

An image places a viewer in a specific and desired frame of mind, a tactic proven most effective, demonstrating the idea much louder than can words.