Sunday, March 12, 2006

Context is King

There is a science called semiotics which is the study of signs, both individually and grouped in sign systems. It is important to Public Relations because it underpins the work we do in developing visual signals and graphics to convey messages. Effective communication is at its best when it is multi-touch and offers additional ways to change people's attitudes, throughout their lives. It is one of the reasons we have to celebrate the breadth of PR practice (and why press relations alone is not enough). According to Scott Murray: "Our eyes only tell us part of what we need to be able to see. The other part is done by the brain, taking the input from the eyes and making guesses or inferences about what's out there in the environment. Usually these inferences are very accurate, but sometimes they lead us astray in the form of visual illusions." This means that, in ethical practice, we need to be aware that, in communication, there is a need to provide lots of context to our publics to ensure that the images that have of our clients is as complete as possible. This is more than a photocaption. It requires a that we provide a wide range of cues. The mantra so often heard in advertising and marketing circles about getting over 'our core message' is, from these studies, obviously wrong. Context is King.

A visual illusion of two identical spheres makes the rear, or more distant one, appear to be larger. Image by Huseyin Boyaci