Some things just go together. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Click and clack. Ham and eggs. These twosomes are ingrained in our culture and, like fun and games, many are learned in earliest childhood. The sum adds up to more than the individuals in the pair.
According to one of the Webster definitions, coupling is “a means of …connection of two electric circuits by having a part common to both.” I like this idea of synapse in our work—bringing parties together in a mutually beneficial exchange through effective communication. But how do we link the familiar, the obvious in a way that goes beyond the predictable?
Sometimes a photograph or illustration is all we need to convey a thought or evoke a feeling. Sometimes the story can be pared down to work alone. We can almost taste a luscious golden pear, delightful to behold in and of itself. But the image comes to life when described sliced thin and sprinkled with glistening ruby pomegranate seeds on a chilled plate, paired with a flute of champagne.
The association of words and images is another essential partnership. Combining unrelated and unexpected elements in new or unusual ways is the hallmark of creativity. Old familiars—horse and buggy—can become bells and whistles when the voltage is turned up by zaniness, boldness, novelty and humor.
The ability to communicate concepts through the inventive juxtaposition of images stored in one’s memory is the gift of the imaginative person. Show it in pictures. What do you get when you pair photographs of an Apple computer screen and a wedge of brie—Mac and cheese, of course. Aha! Exercise your own creativity and you’ll enliven your messages one thousand percent.
From time to time, Carol reprises musings from the award-winning calendars Cheney & Company has produced for clients and friends since the 1990s. If you would like to receive the 2016 calendar, please email your address to email@example.com.