When to Use
Some images are sublime, alive with the moment, unusual and for whatever reason, attractive but yet no story comes to mind. The more neutral an image seems to be, the easier it often is to capture the viewer’s imagination by adding a label, a title if you will. But please, be subtle.
When not to Use
Remember Norman Rockwell? Here was a man who needed no titles. The successful Illustrator regardless of what medium may not need a caption. In fact, redundancy threatens every creative endeavor. As a boy I had a couple of snail-mail chats with my hero, one of which was on the subject of using titles to explain the obvious.
Mr., Rockwell agreed with me that his work would in many if not most cases, be more successful without the titles, but that his editors at Post insisted on their presence.
And now that we are moving into the world of Kindle-ing our written, creative endeavors we are being encouraged to use keywords, tags and categories to even survive affecting even the spoken word which to those in direct sales is often the only real tool available to us.
Experimentation is the primary tool for gathering information. We can on the other hand, listen to others and put our faith in their reputation if we choose and judge the ensuing success or the lack thereof, discarding these ideas when necessary and replacing our role model with someone new. Or we can place our faith in the process, do our own work and see what we can learn.
About labels: Labels for imagery are like hooks in a song. Hooks are about repetition and building habits: the thing that got the music lover to buy was the hook. What made it work was persuading the prospective CD buyer to become involved in the process. The artist name was the first attraction; next came the Album Illustration and the Album title. After that is the song title. The Artist and the album supplied the obvious. The subtlety of the titles involved the prospect.
The perfect fit will soon be forgotten. Subtlety encourages questions. Questions need answers. The need for answers inspires thought. Thought produces memories. Memories produce images. Those images produce sales.”