Visuals matter: the psychology of the mind absorbing images over words

A picture paints a thousand words. But did you know that having visual designs and images associated with your brand can be more beneficial than just having text? You see, there’s an age-old belief that people learn better from words and graphics, compared to words alone. But this is just one reason why business owners are using visual content to achieve their goals. Join us as we explore the psychology behind it…


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Better understanding

Many studies have shown that the brain interacts with and interprets visual information differently compared to when it sees words. Some experts even believe that visuals communicate information much faster than words – 60,000 times faster, in fact.


You don’t even need to look at the visual item in detail to understand it. The Visual Teaching Alliance says our eyes register up to 36,000 visual messages every hour and the brain can see images, even if they only lasted for 13 milliseconds. Just think about how many people have probably seen your logo…

More memorable

Images and videos tend to stick in the long-term memory more easily. This is because individuals are more likely to be able to make sense out of the message, and remember it, if it’s paired with a meaningful image.


Dr Lynell Burmark explains, “unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and out the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about seven bits of information. Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are etched.”


What’s more, another study found that after three days, individuals only remembered up to 20% of spoken or written information but around 65% of visual information. There’s also a link between colour and memory, with black and white designs said to be less memorable. So that’s certainly some food for thought when you’re planning your next marketing strategy!

Stronger reactions

The right design and image can trigger an emotive response. You see, when we see a visual, we’re able to engage with the content and it often provokes a stronger and faster emotion – compared to if we just see text. This is because visual memory can be found in the same part of the brain where emotions are processed, meaning the two are easily linked.


Of course, it’s not just good design and visuals that can have an impact on consumers. If visuals aren’t used appropriately, it can result in individuals being deterred from the message and even brand. Stock photos, generic designs, and poor quality images display a lack of imagination and could create the wrong impression about your business.

Competitive edge

Finally, in the age of social media, we’re taking in more information and data than ever before. But using visuals can help your business to stand out and cut through the noise. Younger generations are also being referred to as master skimmers, spending just four seconds looking at 100 words of text.


If you can present your target audience with eye-catching, attention-grabbing and interesting visuals, you’re taking them away from the competition and giving them something that their brains can process and understand faster – with much less effort.


Planning your next marketing campaign? Perhaps you want to make sure you’ve nailed your visuals the first time around? Get in touch with Fox Graphics Designs at or call us on 01625 468038.





Kate Fox
Kate Fox

“Design adds value & we’re here to help businesses improve & strengthen their market communication & message.”

Established in 2008, FGDM work with a diverse range of businesses to help them improve their market image involving branding, digital, animation/video, websites, direct marketing, exhibitions, marketing material designed to build and bolster brands.