In The Wild


Winter 2013

% In The

Choose your stock images carefully

For three years, I’ve lived a few hundred metres away from this business – but only just figured out what it actually did.

I drive past it most days but it’s not on the way to anywhere I’d normally walk. So I’ve never looked closely enough to read the text.

I’d always assumed it was a midwife’s office, or perhaps a pregnancy counselling service. (She looks sad. Though migraines make me sad, too.)

We’re conditioned to see pregnancy as a symbol in itself, because it’s temporary, significant, and obvious. We see it used on public transport for those seats you’re supposed to save, and on those don’t-drink-while-you’re-pregnant icons on wine bottles.

So it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that this business is directly related to pregnancy. If this was a print ad, it would have been fine – the reader’s got plenty of time to look at it and take in the message. And they’d probably be reading the words. But with outdoor signage you have two seconds (if that) to get your message across, and the first thing you take in is the picture.

I just searched a stock photo site for ‘migraine’, and turned up 18294 results, many of which would work well here. A different choice of photo would eliminate any confusion for people just glancing at the sign.

End note: I got curious, and Googled ‘migraines and pregnancy’. Apparently, a lot of women who get migraines actually find they improve during pregnancy. Now that, Alanis, is ironic.