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Image vs. Text

For some of us, blogging is personal. Others are trying to educate or entertain; many more are hybrids. Yet we’re…

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imagevstext

For some of us, blogging is personal. Others are trying to educate or entertain; many more are hybrids. Yet we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges help you to push your writing boundaries, show off your blogging chops, and, hopefully, spark more post ideas.

To participate, tag your post with DPchallenge or leave a link to it in the comments. (It would also be great if you could link to this post to encourage people to take part – the more the merrier!)  Your post should be specifically written in response to this challenge. We’ll keep an eye on the tag and highlight some of our favorite posts on Freshly Pressed on Friday.

Once upon a time the web was a text-only medium. And to this day, a lot of people seem to harbor the illusion that it still, kinda, is. In today’s writing challenge we pull said illusion from its horse and devour it like a pack of brain-hungry zombies. Yes, it’s time to get visual again. Here’s the barebones version of this week’s challenge:

Detail a three to five step story or process, and illustrate each of the steps with something visual.

Here’s the slightly longer version if simplicity capsizes your mind:

Detail a three to five step story or process—anything from a how-to, to turning points in your life so far, to a story with a beginning, middle, and end—and break up the parts with eye-catching, attention-grabbing images.

At this point some of you may be panicking. “I’m not an artist, I’m a writer,” you might be saying, as you simultaneously jiggle your legs, bite your nails, and order another double espresso. And that’s ok. We’re here for you. Whether you’re an interweb Da Vinci or someone with all of the artistic mojo of a flock of drunken buzzards covered in paint, there’s a solution to this problem. Here are a few ideas:

Things you can do with images

Depending on the angle you’re taking, images can serve a number of functions. Here are a few:

  • Arrest attention: Sure you’re writing yet another post about the antioxidant merits of green tea, but do the others have naked people, painted blue, drinking green tea from uncomfortable-looking medical apparati? I don’t think so.
hirstskull

Damien Hirst’s diamond-studded skull. by Aaron Weber, CC-BY-2.0.

  • Provide a counterpoint: Whether you decide to serve up a slab of visual irony, drive your hard hitting point home with this-could-happen-to-you in the manner of an anti-ANYTHING ad campaign, or you decide to provide a subtly unnerving pastoral scene in counterpoint to the circus of terror and woe that is your post, images can be used to creatively oppose your content.
antismoking

Anti-Tobacco Poster by Amy Guth, CC-BY-2.0.

  • Elucidate a point: From infographics that make facts and figures easier to make sense of, to cross sections of eyeballs; from pastel illustrations of criminals being sent down to life, to complex electronic schemata; images can clarify and make sense of complex ideas.
  • Brand! If your blog has a distinct visual style or brand, how could you use “on-brand” visuals in your posts to reinforce the design aesthetic that appears in your header, sidebar, or background?
logo

Logo – Manu Cutillas ver1 by Manuel Cutillas Garcia, CC-BY-2.0.

  • Divide and conquer: In the battle against dwindling attention spans, simple illustrations, section breaks or other visuals can help “chunk” your post in such a way as to make it feel easier to read, or, erm, scan.
divider

Roses Chapter Header by Sue Clark, CC-BY-2.0.

  • Comics: Trying to tell a three-frame story? Why not make a three-panel comic?
comicstrip

Cigarro Haikai by Marcel Trindade, CC-BY-2.0.

Approaches you can take with images

Ok, so not all of us have a fine knack with paintbrush, pencil or wacom. That’s ok, there’s more than one way to skin a cat:

  • Photographic: Run out there and take some photos with your camera, or phone, or… cameraphone. Or else, scour Flickr for Creative Commons images you can use with attribution, or stump up for stock photos.
photograph

Beautiful Camera by Evil Erin, CC-BY-2.0.

  • Sketchy: For years artists have been disguising their complete lack of draftsmanship by scribbling down inane, childish scrawls of images. You can do the same. We’ll call it art.
  • Typographic: Typefaces and fonts can be beautiful. Take a leaf from Mallarmé, Dadaism, and, erm, Wordle, and use letterforms to illustrate your post.
  • Infographic: As hideous as a PowerPoint graph, or as personal as a hand-drawn, watercoloured derivé through the history of a city, infographics needn’t require artistic mastery to pull off.
  • Collage: Can’t draw? Why not stick other people’s pictures together in arresting and wondrous ways? Problem solved. Why not also make sure that you attribute the source images. That would be nice.
collage

Bad News by Joana Coccarelli, CC-BY-2.0.

  • Geometry: You’d be amazed at what can happen when you stick some lines, squares, circles, triangles, and stars together. Ask the modernists.

Hopefully that’s given you some ideas. Now stop procrastinating and hit up that challenge. We’ll look forward to seeing your text/image hybrid goodness in the comments.

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Comments

    1. Beautifully simple and clear. Love the typography and the approach you took there both, and the image totally justifies its existence.

      Like

  1. I use images in every post. In fact I have made several posts about why others should use them, how to use them in a post, and how to use them for SEO as well as generating traffic via Pinterest and image searches etc. Great DP!!

    If anyone needs help with using images see: “5 Ways Images Make Your Blog Better”, “How to Use Images In Your Blog” (this one includes step-by-step screenshots), “10 Reasons to Get Pinterested”, and “The State of Your WordPress Stats” on my blog Cheri Speak.

    Good luck! I cannot wait to see all the other posts using images. Yay!!

    Like

      1. You are very welcome. I wrote the posts because people ask me how and why all of the time. I didn’t want to spam the DP post with my links so was hoping those in need of help can find the articles by the titles.

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  2. Reblogged this on day3of and commented:
    I know I won’t be attempting this one. My car’s broke down. My sister’s in town. I might be taking in an invalid, and what’s bad, is I’ve been putting off extending my student loan deferment (due to phobia-induced panic attacks). But, I love the suggestions here on how to employ visuals to add interest to your blog.

    Like

    1. Love how you turned the concept on its head, and also how the images nicely influence the shape and flow of the layout with your alternating alignment.

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    1. Thank you for taking part! I can see how much thought you put into finding strong images that underline and inflect the written part of your post.

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      1. Thank you, Michael =). It was a great challenge! Normally, I get going too late in the day to participate in the daily challenges, so my favs are the ever-so creative weekly ones. I really appreciate how each one forces you to step up to the next level than at which you are currently writing.

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    1. I like how your images alternate and help us navigate the points of your post. I’d say they “break down” the post, but then I’d have to duck for cover from the terrible pun police.

      Like

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