What is visual communication?
Visual communication is the graphical presentation of information. It is the art of communicating through iconography, textual fonts and typefaces, illustration, graphs, data visualizers, interactive content, motion graphics, and animation. The aim of communicating through visual means is to make information more accessible and easier to understand. With technological advances and an increase in online interaction, the use of visual aids to communicate has become universal, permeating every aspect of our daily lives and indeed across businesses.
Whether you are an executive presenting a new sales strategy to your team or a marketer looking for ways to simplify your proposition to clients, it is essential to grasp the effective use of visual aids. Visual communication is most potent when it transforms content to inspire change, evoke emotion, and leave a lasting impression.
Effective visual communication involves creative thinking. It is about crafting messages in ways that are engaging, clear, and striking.
Some common uses of visual communication
Here are a few practical ways to incorporate visual elements in your communication and liven up content.
Use icons to make dry text come alive –
Icons make reading more accessible, more recognizable, engaging, and universal. Icons are a design element that conveys a message; the most straightforward examples are the traffic signs we come across every day. They serve as immediately recognizable images to represent a message and lend it some personality. Applying some basic icons can make content like laborious technical information more relatable to your audience, be it in a document, brochure, or newsletter.
Communicate process changes with hierarchical diagrams –
Instead of trying to explain a process through long winded sentences, you could, with a few lines, arrows, and circles, clearly spell out the information flow. This allows you to show modifications and changes in the process, highlight the differences, and ultimately, make it far easier for teams to align themselves with the proposed changes.
Provide checklists to help with complex procedures—
Nothing like the traditional way of explaining instructions through bullet points. Add a dash of checks, word highlights, and sequential numbers, and suddenly people gain the confidence to go ahead and do things right. Checklists are beneficial when you want to communicate complex processes, especially something new.
Make your onboarding process immersive –
New employees joining at any level require immediate attention. The faster an organization can get them on board, the quicker the company will reap the benefits. Intelligent visual tools can transform presentations, documents, and instructions into an immersive experience during the onboarding process. Animated videos, illustrations, data visualizations, and icons can go a long way in helping new employees get a quick grasp of organizational processes, hierarchies, systems, and even the culture.
Enhance the power of your sales pitches –
Be it an email to a select audience, or a more open message on social media, potential customers usually give them a cursory glance and move on. But, how about a striking visual that hooks them on for a few extra seconds? Or a vital piece of data powered by an impactful illustration? So, now you have their attention. What remains is to render your pitch in a simple visual language that takes a reader just 15 seconds to digest, rather than a detailed note that takes much longer to read and even longer to understand.
The broader appeal of visual communication
It is common knowledge that people engage far better with pictures than with words. It tends to create a sense of excitement and involvement that is difficult to achieve with text or voice alone. Because visual communication simplifies the information or ideas, it almost always appeals to a broader set of people. And for organizations to be able to disseminate information faster and more effectively, it is an invaluable resource.