Combinations of words and images have a ripple effect that includes attracting attention to themselves, retaining that attention, penetrating to and residing in people’s long-term memory, and stimulating the echoing of the stored information. Combinations of words and images are, therefore, seeds that often grow into a culture.
This ripple effect is a result of the forces that we generate when we position words and images one next to the other. Every time we bring the two kinds of signs together, we create a “magnet” between them, that not only establishes their mutual attraction but also attracts the viewers’ attention to the new hybrid composition. Furthermore, there is a correlation between the relationship between the words and the images within the composition, on the one hand, and the strength of the latter to attract and retain attention, on the other.
For example, if the words signify the past and the images allude to the future, the whole combination opens space for the audience to immerse in a creative interpretation. As if the audience’s role is to fill in the gap between the words and the images and, concurrently, between the past and the future. This process gives space and time for individuals to become part of the creation of the content. As their engagement lingers, this process also amplifies their self-awareness.
Diving into the interpretation of any content increases the chances of creating a representation of it in the long-term memory. However, there is a difference between trying to understand what something means and what someone says. The first may introduce an abundance of equally reasonable possibilities, whereas the latter may reflect a lack of clarity or unintentional vagueness.
Exploring and sorting possibilities while looking at visually appealing content is a pleasure, which in turn increases the will to continue consuming the content. Another form of consumption is to share the memory of the content and the pleasure associated with it with others. This level of the ripple effect gives even more space for the audience to re-create the information. At this point, the original combination of words and images is only a seed, as the rest is already a culture.