Visual Communication – Concept, elements and examples

We explain what visual communication is and the elements that compose it. Also, why it is so important and some examples.

Visual Communication - Traffic Sign
Visual communication can be understood by people who speak different languages.

What is visual communication?

Audiovisual communication refers to the transmission and reception of a message through images, signs or symbols.

Within this type of message, texts, letters or written words can be included, although the non-verbal is always predominant. This type of communication has the advantage of crossing language barriers and it can be understood by people who speak different languages. Something very similar happens over time, since the message can be perpetuated.

This form of communication is very old. In fact, its beginnings are in the time of the caves, when paintings were made in caves. Over time, he expanded into the most diverse fields such as painting, television, cinema and the Internet. It is a very useful tool when spreading an idea or brand and that is why it is one of the raw materials for advertisers when designing an advertising campaign.

Elements of visual communication

Visual communication - painting
Colors are monochrome representations.

Within visual communication, different elements – always two-dimensional – can be included to shape the message.

Some of them are:

  • Point. It is the simplest unit within visual communication.
  • The line. It can be defined as “a point in motion”.
  • The dimension. Represents the volume of the elements.
  • Contour. It is what the line defines.
  • The texture. It represents the tactile.
  • Colors. They are monochrome representations.

But, in addition, like any type of communication, it has the following basic elements:

  • Transmitter. Who sends the message.
  • Receiver. Who receives it.
  • Message. The content that is developed to communicate.
  • Channel. The medium through which the message is sent.
  • Code. It includes a series of rules and procedures to send and receive the message.

Importance of visual communication

Visual communication is more than important and even predominant in our times. We are constantly exposed to it, from when we look at our mobile phone to when we drive and we have to respect traffic signs. Even when we go to the movies, we watch television or we come across an advertisement on the street. Basically, they condition our lives, guide our behavior, and allow us to connect with the rest of society.

That is why it is essential to know how to read the messages that are transmitted visually, as well as knowing how to produce them. It is an essential tool when it comes to spread messages simply and efficiently.

It is worth remembering that for these messages to take effect, the issuer must resort to signs, symbols and any other element on which there is broad consensus as to their meaning. Otherwise, noise will be generated and the message will be misinterpreted.

For example, if you want to indicate that you cannot park in a certain area, the most practical thing is to put a sign with an E crossed out there, instead of inventing a logo or symbol, so that drivers do not end up parking there.

Examples of visual communication

Visual communication - cinema
The aesthetic function seeks beauty with a purely artistic or aesthetic objective.

According to the function that the message fulfills, there are different types of visual communication. Some examples are the following:

  • Emotional Communication is established with a clear purpose: to convey an emotion. These messages include, as an example, a photo of a puppy, which is displayed to convey cuteness.
  • Factual. What its issuer seeks is to attract attention. Here it could be exemplified with a sign that says “attention” to a well or a logo that indicates that a liquid is toxic or poisonous in its container, so that no one ingests it.
  • Informative. They are those messages that aim to inform the receiver. For example, a sign that says “exit” helps passersby to locate the door or the photograph of a demonstration in a square that illustrates a journalistic note in which they report on the same demonstration.
  • Exhortative. The function of this communication, which is also known under the name of appellation, is to convince. A clear example of this is advertising or propaganda messages, whether on a poster, a brochure or a television advertisement. For example, an advertisement on television for a soda that tries to convince the audience to buy it, or the brochure of a candidate for president who tries to give citizens an argument to vote for him.
  • Esthetic. The function of the message is to seek beauty with a purely artistic or aesthetic objective. Here you can locate, for example, a painting or a film. This function is also called poetic.

Auditory communication

Auditory communication - telephone
Sound messages require auditory perception.

Auditory communication is one that is established from the use of the vocal cords. In it, sounds are used and it is characterized by being verbal. That is why, in order for it to be carried out, both the sender and the receiver must use the same code, that is, speak the same language.

Since these messages are sound, they require auditory perception. Some examples of auditory communication can be: a phone conversation, a chat in a cafe or listening to the radio.