Text or Visual in Advertising?

I found this text in the book called Ads, info Fads, seek and Consumer Culture by Arthur Asa Berger (2007). It’s a really useful book about advertising and in one chapter the author takes the reader step by step to analyzing advertisements (printed and television).

Have a read at this text and let me know what you think about it because I’m surprise the way the author describe the visuals (I think it is visuals artifacts).

“The things we have to realize about radio and television commercial and print advertisements (and all other forms of advertising as well) is that they are, pills aside from their commercial functions, works of popular art. Or maybe ‘commercial’ art is a more fitting term. In this chapter and the next I will focus upon print advertisements and television commercials, the two most interesting – from my point of view – kinds of a texts. I will use the term ‘text’ here for both; it is a term conventionally used in criticism nowadays to cover all form of artworks.” Berger, Asa Arthur (2007:137).

The words “text” conventionally used in criticism nowadays to cover all form of artworks? How about visual? Is this mean that the word ‘visual’ is not recognized as a language, therefore the word ‘text’ is use to describe it? May be I’m a bit unaware and not familiar with some of academic’s language but I can’t understand why the word ‘Text’ instead of ‘Visual’?

Most of Graphic Designers work with/through visual as a communication medium and not just through text. Does this mean the practice of graphic designer is not recognized instead the copy writer or the author is recognized because of the ‘text’? I’m not saying that text is not use in graphic design practices, because it does. It’s just that we used the word ‘text’ for literally the meaning of text and the word ‘visual’ for anything that have the form of images such as illustration, photograph, painting etc. Visual is another form of language and it is as powerful as text (Barthes, Lupton). Speech is another way of language that sometime can be rhetoric. I was surprise because the author takes the reader step by step analyzing the advertisements, looking at the visuals such as photograph, images, illustration, etc. and call it “text”. Is this because lack of written text, research or information about visual artefacts or graphic design artefacts? Roger and out to you!