What Is Visual Communication

What Is Visual Communication?

Read Time: 5 minutes

Visual communication is the transmission of ideas and information through video, animation, images, GIFs, and other visual media. 

Visual communication is a more effective way to organize important information and share it with your audience (whether that’s coworkers, team members or external clients). This article takes a deeper look at the definition and history of visual communication, as well as its relevance to businesses and organizations of all sizes. 

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Afterall, 65% of your workforce are visual learners. So it’s no wonder the business world is calling for a platform powered by strong collaboration and pro-level design capabilities, which can support the creation and distribution of effective visual communication.

Visual Communication refers to:

  • Print, digital, static, and video marketing & sales content
  • Internal communications delivered visually
  • Data visualization
  • Illustrated, animated, or video how-to guides
  • Posters
  • Gifs
  • Memes
  • Live & recorded presentations 
  • Online conferences & events
  • Training videos
  • Live social media videos

Benefits of Communicating Visually

  • Break through the digital noise & capture attention
  • Bring visual order to confusing information
  • Clarify the most important ideas
  • Make personal connections, even at a distance
  • Formats & platforms are optimized to share visual content
  • Images, animation, and video make a deeper impact than text alone
  • Tell a more powerful story

As work, school, and play are increasingly moving online, we’re beginning to see the failures of traditional communication. And we’re also seeing that those that win in this new climate are those that communicate visually. 

In today’s globalized and virtual world, everything starts and ends with visual communication experiences. It’s effective communication — communication that is a joy to experience while also delivering the right massage, which is so hard for companies to achieve. 

Why Communication Is Broken Today

The numbers are stark. A person receives an average of 94 texts per day, and in the last decade alone, the use of SMS has grown by 7,700%. That means that about 560 billion texts are sent around the world daily. 

The average employee gets about 120 emails per day, with a response rate of between 5% to 25% on average. Despite the low response rate, employees spend about 2.6 hours per day in their emails inboxes, going back to check them on average every 37 minutes. 

In addition to personal and professional communication, the average pair of eyes unconsciously sees up to 10,000 ads per day. This is up from 5,000 ads just a year ago. 

In other words, everyone is overwhelmed, and looking for ways to:

  • Break through the noise
  • Work remotely without a miscommunication nightmare
  • Present messages in a way that actually gets them consumed
  • Achieve the goals of your communication

Visual communication: leveraging video, presentations, images, GIFs, animation, typography, or motion graphics to convey your message is the most potent (and one of the oldest) forms of human communication. 

To understand exactly how we got to this point, and  how to actually benefit from visual communication, it’s important to review its evolution through the ages.

A Brief History of Visual Communication

Communicating visually isn’t new to humans. From cave paintings to the printing press, all the way through television and the World Wide Web, we’ve been on a quest to make communication more visual, more personal, and more instantaneous. 

For businesses, the last 20 years brought us the cumbersome Learning Management System (LMS). Complicated software that could deliver course content online. While this model worked well for some organizations, as technology has evolved, the LMS morphed into the Learning Experience Platform (LXP).

New name; similar story. A platform that only serves one department or situation can actually get in the way of serving timely, valuable information to your colleagues. 

Going mobile and the creation of social media platforms has only accelerated this phenomenon. Cisco notes over 70% of the world’s population will be connected via mobile device by 2023. The rise of mobile-first image and video heavy platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram seem unstoppable, and changing the way we connect with friends, colleagues, causes, and communities.

It isn’t just the technology that’s found its way into the workplace. Younger Millennials and GenZs who have grown up using GIFs, images, and emojis make up a bigger share of the workforce by the day. 

We have instant connection with anyone, anywhere. We have generations with vastly different technological capabilities and communication styles, all working together. And we have an untold number of tools, with more launching every day, to create visual content.

But somehow, we remain overwhelmed, and true connection and communication seems even farther from our grasp. 

Humanity Is Still Buffering

With all these changes, how humans process information has had to evolve. The question is, are we consciously evolving with it? Or are we being carried away with overcommunication, banner blind to the overabundance of screens, ads, emails, notifications, dings, and pings? Too much. Too many. All day… Every day. 

For the average human, the overload becomes stifling. For employees, constant distraction and unessential information slows down productivity and focus. In a company, thousands of messages get lost in translation. 

How can we keep evolving our communication styles to improve our connectivity, as opposed to feeling overwhelmed or disengaged?  

For those with crucial messages to communicate, how can we reach an oversaturated audience amidst the media madness in an effective, efficient, and engaging way?

Approaching Communication Visually — The Next Evolution

It’s time to transform everyday communication into more than senseless grunts, text overload, or pretty, yet overwhelming images, messages, and notifications… 

The next evolution of human communication calls for engaging with memorable experiences that actually create connection and deliver value. We must press pause on the need to communicate more, and instead, focus on the need to communicate more effectively

As humans evolve, the way we communicate must evolve too. It’s no longer always enough to write an article, make a spreadsheet, or send an email. With an onslaught of incoming information, consumers and employees simply cannot consume it all. 

Yet we have what to learn from the cavemen. Eventually those grunts became words, became sentences, became stories. And today, there’s one ancient tool that stuck through the ages because it works: storytelling. 

Why Is Visual Storytelling So Powerful?

The power of visual storytelling rests in the delivery of a message, and the comprehension of it too. If we think about it, the story is the oldest form of content. It works because it’s a memorable and impactful way to deliver a message, or a moral. It‘s easily relatable, entertaining, and engaging. It’s a key tool for evoking emotion – and in a world living in somewhat self-isolation, we need as much connection as we can get. 

Visual storytelling in the workplace takes this deeply human approach to delivering an important message to your audience, and uses state of the art technology and channels to engage and connect.

The difference between a visual communication platform and just another online content creation tool is in the approach which honors how we relay messages and how we receive messages — inviting a refreshing connection between creator and consumer. 

In fact, it changes the passive consumer to an active “engager.” 

Communicate Differently

The next wave of innovation is the intermingling of technology to support a more valuable form of communication, and so content, in terms of creation, delivery, and engagement. 

Should we be surprised? After thousands of years spent grunting, we can acknowledge that our history speaks for itself. And that our future may only flourish with a more refined, essential, and effective approach to how we connect.

Of course, this is only just the beginning.

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Itzik Yarkoni

VP Marketing
Itzik Yarkoni is the VP Marketing of Powtoon. With 10+ years of marketing experience up his sleeve, Itzik has built B2B and B2C strategies for hi-tech companies and startups. Itzik’s a master of data and creativity alike, giving him the unique ability to launch innovative projects and partnership that scale. A two-time startup founder, Itzik’s also author of Pass the Chutzpah Please: An Israeli Outlook on Bold Business and Branding.

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