4.2 Images and text

Exercise 4.2

Brief: Choose a day that you can spend out and about looking with no particular agenda. Be conscious of how images and texts are presented to you in the real world – on billboards, in magazines and newspapers, and online, for example. Make notes in your learning log on some specific examples and reflect upon what impact the text has on how you read the overall message.


  • Does the text close the image down (i.e. inform or direct your reading) or open it up (i.e.allow for your personal interpretation to play a part in creating the final meaning)?
  • What do you think was the intention of the creator in each instance?

Image 1:  Japanese website

I am learning Japanese and my tutor is here with my wife as I write. This is the first time I have looked at this site which my wife uses. It is very textual, but I don’t mind that as I have bought into the idea of learning already and want something more or different from my tutor. My gaze goes first to the text on the video link then access to the ‘Absolute Beginner Questions’ which attract me because I am an ‘Absolute Beginner’ this must be for me. I am not a fan of emoticons in the comments below but they do pull me to this image inviting me to explore this area. But my first click is going to be to that triangle in a circle to open it up and see what the virtual tutor is. This layout is intentional and is business like as it responds to regular users of the site who do not want ”clutter’ with pictures.



Image 2: Energy bill


This booklet came in the post today. It is a very detailed explanation of how the company spends money with lots of diagrams and data on the inside. The dominant image of the cup of tea held in in the perfectly manicured hands of a woman. The colour of the cup is yellow which is warm according to colour theory. The nail varnish is red which connotates fire and risk and sex, at least to me. The rest of the scene is out of focus. This is a personal image which is dissonant with the text of “What’s behind your bill: great value for money.” The intention in this juxtaposition of person and text is to tell me that this is a person centred leaflet and not to be worried about reading it.

Image 3: Rohan catalogue


This came in the post a few days ago and is lying on my coffee table ready to browse. The cover image shows me an idyll of a couple having lunch on the roof of their land rover with a backdrop of an exotic landscape. I think that placement of the couple on the roof of the vehicle connotes man’s dominance of the elements – a primeval urge. There is very little text on the page as it is not really needed as the image tells me that buying these clothes help me to obtain this idyll. ‘For every Journey’ is the dominant text implying that I can aspire to this visible journey but also to that weekend in the Lake district or to the shops.

Image 4: Guardian website

I normally look at this and the BBC news site before going to work. It is interesting that the logo in the header ‘Theguardian’ is graphic and textual at the some time. The site is very textual, as opposed to the BBC and Daily Mail sites which have more graphics. I think that this is intentional and efficient as I, like may other regular readers, travel to the story based on my interests and concerns rather than in response to the pictures.

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