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FutureNow Article
Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2007

Van Gogh on Creating Magical Web Content

By Melissa Burdon
September 4th, 2007

vangogh_new.jpgVincent Van Gogh painted his ‘Starry Night’ in 1889 while in an Asylum at Saint-Remy.

Vince’s painting has affected millions. It’s one of the best known images in modern culture. It’s inspired songs such as Don McLean’s “Starry Starry Night” and is one of the most replicated prints. The painting has a magnetic appeal, engaging the reader by drawing them into its world.

I say “reader” rather than viewer because this image is a perfect example of how an image SPEAKS a thousand words in an instant, emotional impact.

In the past decade, the online marketing industry has been known to echo the phrase “Content is king”. Great content — and equally good layout — is key to helping your visitors successfully find what they’re looking for. The content that’s king to search engines is the copy on a website, but the content that’s king to visitors is a balanced mixture of copy and images.

The images on a site help to create a face for the organization. The emotional visitor is engaged by pictures of friendly employees and clients. Logical visitors, meanwhile, look for images of competent executives — sorry, but handshake clip art won’t do — as well as product images that clearly describe every feature, using different angles and environments.

As a professional model, I get to see how my image is used to promote and communicate their products. As an online conversion and persuasion analyst, I see how clients use words and images to communicate their products and services. Too often, clients are missing some of Van Gogh’s magic brew that could radically improve their conversion results.

As website visitors become more exposed and sophisticated, they become more demanding. This means you’d better have ALL your words and images working in sync to persuade your visitors that they are in the right place.

The images most websites feature aren’t magnetic and powerful; they don’t speak to the visitor. Ask yourself what your images are saying and if they’re saying the right things. Are you conveying the “feel” of your company and products so the visitor really knows what they’ll experience when they buy from you?

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Comments (3)

  1. [...] One particularly interesting point: Todd discussing the 140 character limit and how he deals with it. He says, “…when I hit that limit I just look back and try to find places I can condense.” It’s a great copy-writing tip overall. Fewer words is often impactful and can go a long way, particularly when balanced with the use of images. [...]

  2. this picture is my favortie picture of them all. it is just so cool!

  3. The painting is conveying something that a reader may view in different ways.
    The starry night done is not done naturally but artistically. It shows the beauty of the darkness. In relating this to real life, it gives us a message that darkness is inevitable but it is not an end a light is there to shine on us. A great painting which we can view differently.

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Melissa is a Senior Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow.

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