Words are the real thing, images get manipulated

In the beginning was the word and words were good enough. They were better than pictures because they had no need to wait for photographic chemistry, or censorship, or special effects, or video streaming technology to catch up.

Words could take you anywhere and make you anyone you wanted. Words could fly you through outer space or take you right inside your own head.

Then pictures caught up with our dreams. Words took a back seat and the image became the thing, the icon.

Look at the signs; they are telling you what to eat, what to do, what to think. But the more ‘realistic’ the pictures become, the more we distrust them.

Digital photography, Hollywood history, fake fly-on-the-wall documentaries; lies, lies, lies. No one waits for pictures to download; they want information and real communication.

Text messages, words on walls, words on food, words on clothes, words on shampoo, e-mail rumours, electronic myths; just when the written word had been consigned to the dustbin it’s suddenly the latest thing. Our best loved dotcom sells books. Books full of words; Mostly deluded fantasy fiction, pop history, lifeless lifestyle and old stories retold for stupid people. But we can’t get enough. We want more.

I disagree with Howard Milton, there are designers who can write. All they need are clients, or chairmen of leading design consultancies, who want to read. We won a creative award this year for a website with no pictures. True.

Robin Garms

Creative director

Tribal DDB London

London W2

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