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Visual Clichés: Globe Pictures

Learn why globe pictures can look clichéd, and what you can do to get better alternatives. To begin, we first need to explore why you would consider adding a picture of a globe to your slide?


Product/Version: PowerPoint

OS: Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X

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Globes again on your slides? And why not? A globe represents so much. Just adding a picture of a globe can scream "international"! And maybe that's the problem? Maybe that's the cliché? Maybe it would be better to use something else as a visual rather than a globe? Now these questions have "maybe" written all over them, and you really cannot expect to get simple "yes" and "no" answers, as in "yes, you can still use a globe picture", or "no, you cannot". Even then, we can still discuss and find solutions for ourselves, not through direct answers, but through introspection.

To begin, let's look at this screen shown in Figure 1 below, which is from a Google Images search for globes.

Globes galore
Figure 1: Globes galore

Those pictures are all of a kind, and will not really pep up any presentation, primarily because you have seen them all so often! But we first need to explore why you would consider adding a picture of a globe to your slide? Which means we now need to explore what a globe represents. Here are some thoughts on what a globe can represent:

  • The Earth: This is useful when you want to work with the terms international, global, worldwide, etc.
  • Business: This is for those times when you want to suggest that the potential of your business is global.
  • Different nations and races: Such a thought can make you or your business appear open to ideas and thoughts from different regions, races, and countries.
  • Weather conditions: To express changes in climate, environment, or ecology, or even to represent daily weather.
  • News: To provide a geographical location to an event.
  • Distance and Direction: To express how far or how close locations are to each other.
  • Celestial Planets: Globes are often used with representations of other planets to represent the solar system, or even a few planets viewed together.
  • Holding a Globe in One's Hand: This could mean that the person has the whole world in his or her hand, just like how Charlie Chaplin dances with the globe-balloon in the movie, The Great Dictator.

Now let us think about alternatives for what could be the globe picture cliché! As explored in our Overcoming Clichés in Pictures article, we will explore four directions:

Think Creative

Being creative can also be considered as being inventive. You can invent new ideas all the time, but you still need your ideas to be mainstream enough that they can resonate with your audience. You could therefore not replace a picture of a globe with that of a horse to represent speed. This approach might work for you, but that's too far-fetched for most people. However, you can use a picture of footsteps instead because footsteps can be human, and they can move gradually in the same way that the globe takes a full day to spin? That sort of invention will work!

Think Creative

Of course footsteps are just one way to represent an idea that a globe may have explained. You will have to make many more creative inventions the same way. Here are some more thoughts:

  • If the globe represented "being international", then you can consider flags of various countries.
  • To represent news, you could use a picture of newspapers in various languages from different parts of the world.

If this section did not help, move on to the next one.

Think Profound

Now you need to think really deeper! At this time, it does not matter that you wanted to use a picture of a globe, but what does matter is why you wanted to use it? And really speaking, why indeed was the globe picture clichéd? Once you know why it looked clichéd, you will know exactly what you need to replace it with! Or for all you know, you could also adapt the visual to include a globe, but you would now use it along with other visual elements.

Think Profound

These thoughts will help you:

  • Did your globe give you a certain perspective, a certain view, or even a certain focus? What if you looked from another angle, maybe your audience's angle? What can they see? Or what would they like to see?
  • Did the globe give you a certain sense of arrogance? If you remove the "arrogance", are you left with other visual options?
  • The globe is a microcosm that represents the earth, which is the macrocosm in this case. What if the globe became the macrocosm, then what would be your visual metaphor for the microcosm? Maybe, a human expression? Or something else?
  • What if the globe is necessary, but then, can you make your globe look different? More in tune with your topic? Typically the globe represents a very broad topic. What if you wanted to narrow it down to focus on the topic of your slide? What would you use along with the globe?
  • What if you retained the map element of the globe, and discarded the round, sphere element, and then used something else instead?

If this section did not help, move on to the next one.

Think Logical

OK, if you have come so far, that means neither thinking creatively or profoundly helped you. Let's now look into the opposite direction of creative, and that direction is called logical.

Think Logical

Logic is a strange concept because it claims to have all answers, and with globe pictures, logic can be surprisingly helpful.

The first consideration now is to supposedly acknowledge what that globe picture represented to you? If it was just another graphic, you could manage with a doodle of the globe? The good thing about doodles is that you don't need pictures, and you don't even need a camera. All you need is your mind's eye, and you can make your globe doodle as distinctive, direct, or different as you want.

By distinctive, we mean something that represents "you", as your signature represents you.

By direct, we mean that you don't have to be subtle. You can adorn your globe with callouts and callout text.

You can also create the globe in just the size and color you prefer. By different, we mean that you can create as many doodles as you want, which can be as different as your efforts. When done, just scan your doodle, or click a picture with your camera phone, and add to your slide.

If this section did not help, move on to the next one.

Think Again

Well, this is the end of the thinking process about the "globe", and if you ventured so far, it means that you just wanted to read what will happen if none of the choices we discussed so far worked for you! Or it means that you are on the onset of a new thinking process. Just globes, or anything closely related to globes won't work for you. Start thinking all over again until you find something better.

Think Again

See Also:

Clichés: Handshake Pictures
Clichés: Phone Operator Pictures
Clichés: Teamwork Pictures
Clichés: Light Bulb Pictures
Clichés: Target and Dart Pictures
Clichés: Stack of Coins Pictures

Visual Clichés: Visual Clichés: Globe Pictures (Glossary Page)

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