Connotation vs. Denotation

Which is more useful when conveying a message? Sexual Assualt Poster.jpg

Let us take this image for example. This is a poster I designed to show that a “yes” to sex only means consent when sober. To convey this message, I created a visual metaphor, combining a measuring cup and a Red Solo cup. However, when my professor was critiquing my poster, she said that I did not need the blurb, “Consent is Sober” at the top. She said that it was unnecessary and the message was more powerful and connotative without it.

However, without the blurb, would the audience really be able to understand the message that I am trying to convey? Or does the blurb undermine the audience’s intelligence?

Does taking away the blurb make the viewer think and the message more impactful?

If you have ever taken a design class, and advertising class, a writing class, or have dabbled in any creative field, you have most definitely heard of the mantra, “Show, don’t tell.”

What does this mean? Well, it basically means to illustrate a concept rather than to lay it out dry. Make your audience experience your message, not just see it or read it.

So, if I were to follow this “Show, don’t tell” mantra, I would need to eliminate my “Consent is Sober” blurb at the top.

But let us bring it back to connotation vs. denotation: Which is more useful? Like most of the questions I have proposed, there is not a definite answer. Each is useful in its own way and for different circumstances. Yet, if you were to ask me for my opinion, I prefer using connotations to allude to an idea. I find it more visually interesting, creative and thought provoking. So goodbye to that blurb!

Let know what you think! Tweet at me @ManinHaley

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