A Picture Is Worth Than 1000 Words

A Picture Is Worth Than 1000 Words

  From where did this famous expression“a picture is worth a thousand words” come from? The expression refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single image. A picture tells a story just as well as a large amount of descriptive text.

This phrase emerged in the USA in the early part of the 20th century. Its introduction is widely attributed to Frederick R. Barnard, who published a piece commending the effectiveness of graphics in advertising with the title “One look is worth than a thousand word“, in Printers Ink, December 1921.



Barnard claimed the phrase’s source to be oriental by adding “so said a famous Japanese philosopher, and he was right”. The drawing shows at a glance what would be spread over ten pages in a book. A similar phrase, “One Look Is Worth A Thousand Words,” appears in a 1913 newspaper advertisement for the Piqua Auto Supply House of Piqua, Ohio.

We’ve come to accept “a picture is worth a thousand words” as truth in our culture because of the ability of a photo to quickly convey so much meaning with so little, if any explanation. But in the age of social media and cameras on mobile devices, when photos are shared with more regularity than ever, does the powerful ability of a single image to convey so much feeling, information and complexity get taken for granted? Think about it and let us know your views.

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