A “Word Visual” Delivers ...


I first touted the virtues of the “word visual” in 2014.

For those not familiar with this technique, the idea is to use the words (or typography) to drive the action while minimizing the need for design expertise. The image above borrowing the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld falls in the “word visual” category.

Most “word visuals” come in one of the following four forms:

  • Cleverness with language carries the day: Could be a photograph of words on a chalk board. The key is little or no design goes into the product making this form of a “word visual” perfect for social media.
  • Create a custom speech cloud for a celebrity: I like this technique because it offers an easy path to inserting pop culture into the B2B world.
  • Take a visual and change the words: The design expertise can vary from basic to knowing your way around Adobe Photoshop like this one on corporate speak being dangerous to your health:
word visual of pack of cigarettes with "corporate speak: filtered conversation" on carton


  • Construct a full-blown narrative: This type of word visual often comes as a flow chart, timeline or sparse comic strip.


Which brings me to the Thanksgiving holidays and the gold standard for a “word visual” delivering a story with a beginning, an end and stuffing — I do like a bad pun — going awry in between. Scott Bateman created this “word visual” around a timeline depicting Thanksgiving Day with his family.


word visual titled Thanksgiving with my Family, displayed as a timeline


With a Spartan design, Bateman’s creation tells a full-blown story with a layer of levity.

You don’t find showy adjectives and adverbs. Instead, the anecdotes propel the story.

I hope everyone in the U.S. enjoys a relaxing Thanksgiving break.

Just beware of potatoes derived from passive-aggressive mashing.


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