According to the BBC, the oldest cave painting is 40,000 years old. Photography became popularized during the American Civil War in the 1860s and the Lumiere brothers premiered one of the first motion pictures of a train pulling into a station in 1896. Rumors state that the audience members screamed, ducked and jumped for cover, assuming the train would burst through the movie theater walls.
After that, the way artists approached images changed, evolving more toward expressing ideas, themes and concepts rather than representing reality, as that could be done with just click of a camera shutter. This opened the door to the type of expressive branding and marketing that is abundant in the 21st century.
Using images in the digital age
Every company has a logo or image that captures its brand and persona in a quick glance. These are often used on the backs of business cards, as well as on the banner and display advertisements that form a major chunk of small business internet marketing. And, according to the marketing blog Big Brand System, visuals are an integral aspect of this medium.
The source states that "marketing is – at its most basic level – communication" and using images to communicate a brand's identity or persona will enhance the words that may be chosen to do so as well.
In addition, the psychological methods of how we process images are more efficient. Human brains are hardwired to favor images over text, as images provide a more primal form of understanding, one that's been around since before written communication.
Furthermore, more images are shared on social media platforms than through text. This allows for an advertisement or special announcement to be shared more often, essentially expanding the targeted internet marketing campaign without any additional work on the business's part.