In certain contexts, yes.
For instance, if you want to show that on a hill road there is a danger of landslide, a picture/illustration is better.
When reduced to the functionality of an icon say the 'Men' and 'Women' signs for restrooms words at best play a suplementary role.
At the level of the brand, at times the picture itself becomes so iconic words become irrelevant. For example: 'Marlboro Country'.
In the normal context though a mix of picture and content is the best way to communicate.