Visual communication refers to a form of communication that is conducted through visual aids--simply put, it is communication through means that can be seen or read. It refers to the visual display of information graphs, photographs, symbols, designs, animation and other illustrations. Visual communication was probably the oldest form of communication used by man, as shown by prehistoric cave paintings. Today, it is one of the most powerful forms of communication.
A picture speaks a thousand words. This is because people's perception is dominated by visual stimuli--about 70 percent of the sense receptors in the body are located in the eyes, according to PerceptualEdge.com. When people are swamped with information and have little time to spare, visual forms of communication make the biggest impact in a small amount of time. Visuals help to compress and summarize information into powerful images.
Visual Appeal and Recall
Images and other visual aids help to quickly draw a person’s attention to the matter. It is simple and registers easily; consider a large billboard that is erected on a busy street. A person who is driving through will not have the time to go through text, but the visuals on the hoarding will register in his mind. Jerome Bruner, a psychologist from New York University, conducted studies in the 1970s that proved that people remember up to 30 percent of what they read, but 80 percent of what they see.
Illustrating a Point
If you want to make an important point--particularly if the idea is a little complex--then visual communication will help you explain it better to the audience. Statistics or data, for instance, can be quite meaningless or daunting when displayed in mere numbers. However, if there is a graph to illustrate the same data, the viewer or the audience is able to comprehend it faster. It is simpler to communicate through visual communication--a map would help you give clearer directions than verbal or written instructions.
Making Use of Technology
Technological advancements have changed the field of visual communications. Today, visual communication means more than using just a sketch or a photograph; the use of video, animation and powerful graphics is routine. These advertisements can be broadcast not just on TV, but also on the Internet, and on LED screens on the streets, thus reaching a greater number of people and having a greater impact.