Visual Metaphors Examples

A visual metaphor is the representation of a person, place, thing, or idea by means of a visual image that suggests a particular association or point of similarity. Also known as  pictorial metaphor and analogical juxtaposition .

What’s a metaphor? Let’s take a trip back to high school (or over to Wikipedia ), shall we? A metaphor is a direct comparison between two or more seemingly unrelated subjects describing one subject as being alike to another subject in some way. Metaphors are useful for illustrating ideas, simplifying complex subjects and making people think.

Now that you are familiar with visual thinking metaphors and analogies , today, I would like to provide you with a practical example of a visual thinking metaphor that is often used for life coaching purposes to help clients clarify their goals and objectives. In fact, it is one of the many visual thinking metaphors we will be discussing in the coming months.

Metaphors, analogies and other related devices, that I will discuss within this series of articles, are as critical to visual thinking as color is to an artist. Without the use of color, an artist finds it excruciatingly difficult to develop their full capacity for creative self-expression. Moreover, their artwork lacks character and often fails to deliver their intended message.

Moriarty, S.. & Sayre, S. (2005). An intended-perceived study using visual semiotics. In K. Smith, S. Moriarty, G. Barbatsis, & K. Kenney (Eds.). Handbook of visual communication: Theory, methods, and media (pp. 243–255). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.