This article about using statistics in healthcare is illustrated with a stock image of a doctor, her glasses reflecting a bar chart of some sort. The trouble with this kind of image is it combines two simple ideas into a blended concept that is quickly decoded, much like a pictogram is decoded. Its value is exhausted once the message is "read."

This is another blended idea, in this case boxing is blended with business through the use of wardrobe. Boxing has nothing, even remotely, to do with the virtues of chatting software. By describing the two softwares as being in a fight, this photograph, which is wholly external to the topic of the article is brought in. It would have been better to illustrate this article with an image that shed light on the topic. Surprising and engaging image ideas are found within the text, not in a stock catalog.

Of course, using commissioned art is not a guarantee of staying on topic. There is nothing obvious that makes the cartoon character adolescent except that he is borrowed from a syndicated comic strip. He's a lawyer because he has a brief case and suit. This succeeds in illustrating the headline--he's an adolescent lawyer--but not the article--which is not literally about how environmental law is old enough to have acne. NEXT