Pictures and Lines

Last week, I had to write headlines for a headline-driven billboard. After an entire day, I had two that were worth anything.

The next day, I had to write headlines for billboards that had pre-approved but fairly interesting visuals. I had about 20 within ten minutes.

This isn’t coincidence.

It’s significantly easier to write headlines to visuals. This is partially because with a visual, something’s already being communicated. Maybe the idea has already been established.

Not every solution will be (or should be) a visual one. But if you’re stuck, try solving it with a picture. Maybe you won’t come away with an all-visual solution. But finding an interesting image to write lines to is better than reverse engineering from a headline.


2 thoughts on “Pictures and Lines

  1. That’s great advice. I’ll often flip through photo books or google images of things that have to do with what I’m trying to write. Or photos of things that have nothing to do with what I’m trying to write. And if the art director has an idea of the design/layout, I’ll often get them to print me a copy sans headline, and write to that. It’s all a part of feeding the brain.


  2. This works! For a college creative writing class we had to take pictures of ourselves from a photo booth and write a story for each photo. Even the same face you see in the mirror every day can inspire a bit of creative writing. I totally forgot about that exercise. Thanks! Now if I combine this with the Kevin Lynch Challenge, I’ll be prolific!Makin’ Ads has a lot of clever, useful advice. Keep it up!


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