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The adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" refers to the idea that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. It also aptly characterizes one of the main goals of visualization, namely making it possible to absorb large amounts of data quickly.

It is believed that the modern use of the phrase stems from an article by Fred R. Barnyard in the advertising trade journal Printers' Ink, promoting the use of images in advertisements that appeared on the sides of streetcars.[1] The December 8, 1921 issue carries an ad entitled, "One Look is Worth A Thousand Words."
 
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