A visual pun is an image with more than one meaning, with the meanings combined a single yet layered message is formed. This is usually done as a way of forming comedy, tweaking or transforming the meaning of an image in an ironic and comic way, although it has also been used to show tragedy. Visual puns are often based of off a rebus which is a device of representing words or a part of a word. Rebuses can be dated back as far as the middle ages which were mostly used to denote surnames. Now a days visual puns can be seen almost everywhere, in graphic design works and adverts and even on some social media sites.
The advantages of visual puns are that they are usually funny and so people will want to stop and look at the puns so that they can get the joke, also something funny sticks in more head, so the viewer would be more likely to remember the advert.
From this concept I am getting the idea of combining 2 images together to form a new meaning.
Visual Analyse Example 1
This poster was created by Dan Reisinger in 1969 it is called “let my people go”. It shows the words “let my people” at the top of the poster and the word go at the bottom of the poster. the letter G for the word go is made up of a hammer and sickle. The designer has used the concept visual puns in this poster by using the hammer and sickle to form the letter G.
The message of the poster is about the movement in the 1960s through to the 1980s which demanded that the Soviet Union let its Jewish community leave the country. The hammer and sickle is a Communist symbol formed during the Russian Revolution and is part of the Soviet Union Flag. The concept helps show this message by combining the communist symbol with the letter go, because when people see the symbol they will know that it is about the Soviet Union and the line “let my people go” is what Moses said in the Bible when he want his people to be free and so if the 2 are put together people then know that the poster is saying that the Soviet Union is not letting the Jewish community go. Combining the symbol and the letter G together means the poster will not have to explain what it is meant to be about, because the viewer can see.
The part that I like about the poster is the way in which it uses images to form letters and the way it gives information my combining the lines from Moses and the Soviet symbol together, because it means that the poster did not require a large amount to text to explain it’s message, so people can get the message without having to read large amounts of text. The part that I don’t really like is the fact that you have to know what the Soviet symbol and you would of had to of had read the Bible to understand the joke and if you haven’t read the Bible or don’t know what the hammer and sickle mean then you will not get the joke.
From this poster I am going to take the idea of combining words and images together to form a new meaning, I will however make sure that I use phrases and images that are widely known so that the viewer can get the joke.
Visual Analyse Example 2
This poster was made by Noma Bar in 2010 and is called “Gun crime”. There are 3 images shown with in the picture, the first is of a gun, the 2nd is of a man lying down dead with blood coming out of his mouth and the last one shows a flight of stairs going up from the left to the right. The designer has used the concept in his work by using the negative space to form more images, like the remaining space left by the gun forms the image of a dead man.
The message that the work is trying to show is that the number of gun crimes in the UK is rising. The gun that has blood dripping from the trigger tells the viewer that the work is about guns and the dead man makes people think that he has been murdered with a gun and the stairs show that the amount of gun crimes have been rising. The concept makes this work successful because it combines all the images together to form a new meaning and so no words are needed.
The parts that I liked about this work is the fact that the artist has used the negative space to form more images because it makes it look more interesting, it is also fun to try and understand what the poster is trying to say and the fact that the work has no words in it meas that people will not have to stop and read the text, the images tells them all they need to know in a much quicker time.
From this work I will take the idea of using the negative space left behind my the object to form another image, so that it makes the work look more interesting.
Visual Analyse Example 3
This piece was created by Singapore based ad designers Eunice Ng and Nandini Trivedi. In the work it shows a potato eating crisp and sitting on a couch, with the caption “couch potato” at the bottom.
The idea behind this work is to create humour. The work is meant to show a couch potato, but instead of showing a figurative couch potato of a man watching television, they show a literal potato on the couch, this makes it funny because you expect to see actual man but instead you have a potato, and so it turns a figurative saying into a literal saying.
The part that I like about the idea is the fact that they change the meaning of a saying, like when people say coach potato they mean someone who sits on the couch watching Tv, but in the work they showed a potato on the couch however the potato is also sitting on the coach, so I guess you could say that they have mixed the figurative meaning with the literal meaning together.
For my own work I will take the idea of mixing figurative meaning and literal together to make something funny.