Archive for Visual Images

Susan Cooper

Use Images to Inspire Your Readers

We’ve all heard the phrase: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This phrase alone ought to convey why an image or two added to a blog post or article will inspire your readers to continue reading to the end of the post.

You don’t need to buy an expensive image. Just be sure it relates to the subject matter. An image also helps to break up the content in a pleasant way. Images not only convey meanings, but also break up long blocks of words, making it easier on the eyes.

How To Choose

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Powerful Images Don’t Need Any Words to Grab Your Attention


Powerful images can simply take your breath away, like this one from the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit in Seattle. I recently visited this extraordinary exhibit of sculptures designed by renowned American glassmaker Dale Chihuly. I took the above photo, just one part of swirling mass of color in a glass ceiling. It’s stunning even in an iPhone image.

Chihuly’s work is displayed around the world in museums, public spaces, private collections and, famously, the Billagio Hotel lobby in Las Vegas. Read More→

Visual Images Add Clarity in Your Writing – and They’re Fun!

visual images

My face is getting smaller and smaller

A quote in a recent New York Times article was the inspiration for this post. I felt the pain of a Princeton professor who rues the slow demise of humanities majors. According to the Times, many distinguished humanities professors feel their status deflating.

Using an analogy, Anthony Grafton, a Princeton history professor, said he sometimes feels “like a newspaper comic strip character whose face is getting smaller and smaller.” Can’t you just visualize it?

Business writing can be awfully dull, especially when it’s a topic that is unfamiliar to the reader. Haven’t your eyes ever glazed over when you’ve been trying to make sense of what something means?

That’s why visual images in the form of analogies and metaphors are so powerful in conveying your intentions. Read More→

More Powerful Business Writing Using Visual Images

Business writing can be awfully dull, especially when it’s a topic that is unfamiliar to the reader.  Haven’t your eyes ever glazed over when you’ve been trying to make sense of what something means?

That’s why imagery in the form of analogies and metaphors is so powerful in clarifying your intentions.  I decided to write about visual imagery after reading a story about the growth of China as a world power in the The New York Times a couple of days ago.


An analogy explicitly compares two things that are seemingly different but actually have something in common.  The comparison starts with either “like” or “as.”

Take the analogy that got me started on this blog:  “China is like an adolescent who took too many steroids…it has suddenly become big, but it finds it hard to coordinate and control its body.  To the West, it can look like a monster.”  I don’t know about you, but I can just see this monster in contortions.  It’s out of control and that’s scary to the rest of the world.

That analogy is so much more powerful than if the speaker had said something like, “China is getting very large but it’s finding it difficult to manage its growth.”  Boring.

Have some fun filling in the blanks in these analogies:

President Obama is like a ­­­­­­______ pushing through health reform.

Comparing the Western world to the East is like comparing _______ to ________.

The cheerleaders are like ________when they try to energize people in the stands.


Unlike analogies, which compare two different things, metaphors say that something is something else.  Most often metaphors personify or de-personalize.  Using China again, “China stiff-armed us with trade barriers.”  China becomes a person and we see the powerful image of someone pushing us away.

Or, something can be de-personalized, as in “He was a beast tackling the quarterback.”  Here the human is transformed into the image of an animal.  How much more interesting than, “the defensive lineman got to the quarterback.”

Using a metaphor more akin to business, “The CEO was a bear beating the competition at its own game.”

Try filling the blanks in these metaphors:

Vice President Biden is a ______________ when he speaks.

He was a __________ piling the logs in the driveway.

She was a __________on the way to becoming head of the company.

Do you have some interesting analogies and metaphors you can share?