Content dominates the digital world of today, and visual communication is an essential aspect of it all. Grow your business with excellent visual communication principles that propel you to new and greater heights.
Effective visual communication strategies require an extensive understanding of your brand, its mission, and its values. Your visual identity is how the world perceives you, so it must represent your business well.
Keep reading to learn how to strategically use and create high-quality visuals for communications, social media, content, and brand marketing. This information will guide you in employing goal-oriented and unique visual communication strategies that your audience is sure to enjoy.
What Is Visual Communication?
Yes, it’s precisely what it sounds like.
Visual communication is the expression of information through images and designs. The premise explores the effects of a visual message combined with text for an altogether powerful impact that can inform and persuade your audience.
For example, if you tweet about an upcoming product launch for your brand, it would likely get more traction if you included a pertinent visual along with the text. Whether it’s a fun and quirky design or an image of your products, the chances of a social media post getting attention is significantly increased with the help of stunning visuals.
Let’s take a look at three interesting facts that support the impact of visual communication:
- 94% of content with visuals gets more total views than text alone.
- Humans can process and absorb a visual in only 13 milliseconds, which is 60x faster than text.
The truth is, people don’t have time to read every piece of information they see online, especially with the endless flow of content they come across on a daily basis. Images remove all this heavy lifting and create an almost effortless pull. Absorbing visuals is something people have time for, whether they intend to or not.
This video adequately explains why visual communication works better than text:
Using visual communication for your brand ensures that the message you need to convey comes across seamlessly to your viewers. To make matters better, more people will see this information. It’s a fantastic win-win situation.
Why Does Visual Communication Work?
The human brain stores and subconsciously generates ideas through its memory functions. This cognitive influence allows people to make associations regarding basic vital information.
For example, fire is to heat, mango is to yellow, and tiger is to dangerous. These associations in the human brain allow people to spark specific thoughts and emotions when they see an image. This is precisely why businesses make heavy considerations over their brand colors.
People don’t always have time, especially with the oversaturation of content online. Brands must rely on visual content to express their intentions and values. People easily forget things they hear or read every day, but they can retain images longer.
How do you start going about the process? Take a look at a couple of these fascinating statistics to get an idea of your visual communication strategy.
- People are 85% more likely to buy a product after viewing a video about it.
- The average person gets distracted in 8 seconds, though even 2.8 seconds can be enough to distract some people.
- Posts that include images produce 650% more engagement than text-only posts.
- Posts with videos attract 3x more links than text-only posts.
- People form a first impression in a mere 50 milliseconds.
Visual communication is a lot more than mere images—you can also take advantage of videos (which get excellent traction, too), infographics, GIFs, and animations.
The 3 Attributes Of Effective Visual Communication
Regardless of the media type, you must ensure that it embodies these three fundamental attributes of effective visual communication.
- Attractive - Well-designed visual information is attractive and stimulating. These qualities allow you to capture your audience’s attention even before they begin processing the information.
- Understanding - Human brains are pre-configured to naturally decipher subliminal associations, allowing an immediate familiarity with little to no effort. Display these visual connections accordingly to have your audience understand your message clearly.
- Retentive - The sight of an image can activate a viewer’s memory by facilitating a connection with a stored memory, which allows them to form concepts. Use visual communication to inspire and spark meaningful ideas with positive and relevant designs.
The 5 Principles Of Visual Communication
These are the five essential principles to follow once you start employing visual communication techniques to build your business.
1. Prioritize Value Over Speed
Don’t include images and videos in your content just because you know it works. The media type must fit perfectly with the rest of the content, and to do that, you have to take the time to choose or design the perfect visual.
Many people have come across visual content pieces that evidently lack ideas, quality, and even a little bit of flair. You’re building a relationship between visuals and words here—take your time to find an ideal and seamless balance. Another important point to keep in mind is the type of CMS you'll use. If, for example, you're using WordPress, consider shared WordPress hosting since it's more secure and provides automatic backups.
2. Leave Space For The Imagination
You don’t want to convey every piece of information right away. Leave room for intrigue and imagination to pull your audience in.
Many brands assume that because they include images that they have the opportunity to share more information. In reality, visuals should be a tool for refinement, attraction, and balance.
You achieve the perfect balance when the message of your image and text are clear and unified but not too obvious and overbearing. Encourage your audience to wonder about your products or services with visuals that complement your brand copy.
3. Be Clear With Your Messaging
You don’t always need words to communicate.
You can express your thoughts with relevant images, too. The downside is, if you’re not clear with your messaging, the visuals may not convey exactly what you need to say. Or worse, it may express something completely different than what you intended.
Ensure that your message is clear enough that your target audience will understand it. When you use visual metaphors or symbols, keep in mind that your audience should also be familiar with its context. Otherwise, you risk the emergence of misunderstandings between you and your audience.
Using well-known concepts, appropriate jokes, or stories in your visual communication methods is highly advisable.
4. Aim For Your Target Audience
The more, the merrier—if many people identify with your visual content, that’s a big win. However, this should not be your focal priority. If you curate your visual communication methods to appeal to everybody, you may start generalizing your messaging, leading to you not fully reaching your target audience.
91% of consumers prefer to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. This is the keyword: relevant. Offer your target audience a personalized experience by using visuals that pertain to or appeal to them. Getting people outside your target market on board with your services is a huge bonus.
You can, of course, create imagery to attract everyone, but let your target audience be your priority.
5. Let Your Visuals Tell A Story
One of the most important aspects of meaningful visual communication is symbolic or representative designs to replace text. Let every visual tell a story of who you are and what you stand for, even if it has to live between the lines.
Visual storytelling paints a special picture for your audience. Who can resist a narrative that resonates with them? When a user identifies with the story you're telling, they feel more compelled to come back to you.
This also massively affects you as a business. When you tell a visual story, whether about customer experiences, internal struggles, or success stories, you charter a course for your brand to sustain its identity wherever it goes.
This short video sums this up well:
When you add visual elements to your content, you allow the reader to decipher what you are trying to communicate by interpreting the imagery. You need to tell a story with these elements consistently. It’s okay to leave specific things to your audience’s interpretation, as it paves the way for a stronger connection.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
When it comes to visual communication, whether it is a design, a video, or a logo, less is more. The simpler you can express a story, the more impact it will have on your audience. People don’t have unlimited attention spans, and you have merely a couple of seconds to grab ahold of them.
Visuals stimulate thoughts and emotions, generating an inevitable reaction from the viewer. In short, visual communication has become a critical pillar in marketing strategies. Use these media opportunities to strengthen the bridge between you and your audience.
A pretty picture can do more than you know.
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