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Designing cognition: visual metaphor as a design feature in business magazines.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2005
JournalInformation Design Journal and Document Design
Number of pages15
Original languageEnglish


This paper investigates the correlation between the use of dominant verbal metaphors and the use of visual forms in business-media discourse. The study is based on a corpus of English-language articles published between 1996 and 2003. This corpus was first searched for illustrations on marketing as well as mergers and acquisitions, and categorized into different types of visual metaphor. The visualizations of metaphor were subsequently compared to verbal metaphoric expressions in the same discourse domain to check for qualitative and quantitative congruence between the verbal and visual modes. Illustrations in business magazines employ the same metaphors as do verbal texts. Moreover, the frequency patterns ascertained for verbal metaphors are largely maintained in visual representation, with war/fighting being most dominant. Alternative metaphors are marginal in both modes. In terms of classification, the study shows that the majority of visual metaphoric expressions integrate the source and the target domain into a single gestalt. These results indicate that the visual design of business magazines support the verbal metaphors, thus producing the dominant models underlying business-media discourse.