Have you ever heard of the word ‘ohrwurm’?
It’s a German word that describes the experience of a song getting stuck in one’s head. Directly translated it means ‘earworm’.
Earworms don’t only happen with songs, but with visuals too. A group of Stanford University researchers conducted an experiment where two groups of people were asked to recall a story about ducks making pancakes.
What popped into your head?
It’s highly unlikely that the letters D-O-G popped up. It’s because we’re visual creatures. This stems back to our hunter gatherer days when we had to spot food like brightly coloured berries, or pick up the subtle camouflage of predators to survive.
We’re so visual, that according to researchers, Dr. Stephen Kosslyn and Robert Lane, when we read text we see each letter as a visual symbol. To read text, our brains have to first decode the symbols and match letters to shapes stored in our memory. Then we have to build words and sentences, and paragraphs. This only takes a split second, but compared to processing an image it’s much slower.
Our brain also processes data from pictures all at once, but can only process text in a linear manner.
Good visual communication is all about connecting with an audience, and being the earworm in their brain. You don’t have to be an advertising genius or photographic mastermind. A few simple tricks can ensure your brand sticks in the minds of your customer.