conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Fear as a Communication Tool: Hearty and Cruel Visuals

with 4 comments

The Truth in Consequences


Today in class we talk about visuals and how to use them. Graphs, charts, line drawings, photographs—all the stuff we see every day in our media excursions. As a copywriter I am very fond of visuals: I love the way they succinctly tell the story I labor to explain with words.

But there is a genre of images we shy away from—images entirely out of sync with the pleasant, positive, climate-controlled and safe communication we aim for. These images follow the shock and awe tactics of the Brothers Grimm: show what happens when you don’t follow our rules. Things just may not turn out so well, Mister.


You don’t need to know Russian to see that you really should be careful around turning axles, backing train cars and the odd drill press. And it was not so long ago in our country that we showed our youngsters exactly what might happen with their lively hijinks.


But maybe we’ve gone too far with our de-linking of action and consequence. When writing copy I rarely name the negative side of things. Instead, I always build on the positive. Maybe we could all use a bit of that Russian backbone.

Not again!


Image Credit: Soviet Posters via Copyranter. Vintage safety manual via Retronaut.

Written by kirkistan

November 15, 2011 at 8:31 am

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Dangit Elmer, I knew your James Dean haircut would come to no good.

    Jon Mick

    November 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    • I knew at the beginning of the story he was the one. It’s all about the haircut.


      November 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm

  2. […] Hard-hitting Russian safety posters that need no translation Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookEmailStumbleUponDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

But wait--what do you think? Tell me:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: