Although visual communication supports traditionally fit office products/supplies category, in the last couple of years it has been gaining territory and “growing” outside the office into a whole new category designated in the industry as Viscom - short for visual communication.
This is mostly due to a whole new wave of using visual communication tools to better communicate with our audiences or teams. And this new trend is a result of the growing importance of general Visual communication - the transmission of information by use of images or physical actions resulting in better comprehension and retention.
Communicating via images or visually is stimulating in a different way because pictures are essentially universal. The brain can process the meaning without also working hard to listen, process and internalize. Some would argue that presenting information visually does the work for your listeners; it skips the step of turning the message into an image which researchers have found as the most efficient way to retain information.
Of course viscom is not a new way of communication. It has been around for as long as we know. Hieroglyphics and pictograms were some of the first languages we discovered, especially because they were written down, creating lasting images of their visual language.
Today, there are three types of communication; alongside verbal and nonverbal communication, Viscom is the most precise, productive and retainable.
People tend to rely on communicating or receiving information visually the most. Just think… when traveling to a foreign country and you don’t speak the language, Viscom the universal language that most people, despite their mother-tongue, will be able to understand.
We have always had the ability to communicate across the globe! Besides language, Viscom is also the leading way to communicate a message with immediacy when time is of the essence. Here are five reasons why:
1. Highest Retention Rate
Viscom is known as the essential way to communicate important information because of the high retention rate. The hype right now is the 10/20/80 rule; people remember 5 to 10% of what they hear, 15 to 20% of what they listen to and 80% to 90% of what they see. Why? Because being a visual learner is not just a trait, it is a general consensus. It’s how we learn vocabulary of a language, how we read body language and how we identify our friends. Looking at a brightly colored message on a whiteboard will stick in our memory more than a quick announcement over the loud-speaker. Why? Because the written message is long-lasting. We can reread it or refer back to it. We start off our lifetime with visualization, internalizing and conceptualizing everything that we see. We are conditioned to learn with our eyes.
2. Immediacy. We See it, we Know it
The most convenient feature of Viscom is the immediacy of an image’s message. We can see and internalize an image while speaking or doing other things. It also only takes a fraction of a second to glance at an image rather than a few seconds to read a sentence that would replace it. For example, if you ride the Berlin metro, you don’t need to speak German to understand the rules. You can be on the phone or listening to a podcast while you glance at the door and see four pictures: French fries with a red line through it, an alcohol bottle with a red line through it, a cigarette with a red line through it and a picture of a dog with a leash. What does this mean? Well, take a look at the picture yourself.
Easy, right? The intended message is no eating, no drinking alcohol, no smoking and dogs are allowed with a leash. If this was written in German, some people might read it on their commute but we see text all the time and don’t always take time to digest it or take it seriously. If someone didn’t know German, they might try to decipher the text or just ignore it. The pictures are clear, they are easily seen and they can be deciphered in an instantaneous glance. It also reduces space making the Viscom much more efficient. Try to incorporate images into presentations so as to greatly improve retention and have your audience immediately digest the message, using projectors or magnetic accessories on a mobile or portable magnetic whiteboard
3. Ambiguity Is For Creativity Not For Communicating Highly-Relevant Messages
But it isn’t so great when you want to lay the law or get something done a certain way. The problem people find with using Viscom all the time is that their messages can get a bit blurry and ambiguous. Someone can interpret the message in two or three different ways. This is not concise. We want everyone to be on the same page and absorb the same information. Viscom is efficient, but not in every situation. Asses your message, and if it isn’t clear, don’t use it!
4. Reducing Realism with Universal Symbolic Visuals
People might associate visual learning with the real thing. If I want to teach you how to chop an onion I will show you a real knife and then demonstrate, right? Studies have shown that realism tends to cloud our learning, probably because we are bombarded with real images all the time. It is kind of like the email phenomenon: it used to be a way to immediately talk to someone and now, because we are constantly bombarded with them, the acceptable response time has been recorded as long as a week! Look at the metro pictures again. They are clear, concise, not real and highlighted in bright colors that stand out. Though more efficient. Using clear images, icons or graphics to communicate a relevant message is better than trying to do it with real pictures that have more chances of being ambigious. That is why Infographics are so popular these days.
5. Brand Marketing: Branding Your Image
This is the highest regarded form of Viscom. The idea is that implementing Viscom will provide consistency so consumers can recognize the brand and their message through the use of colors, style, fonts, mascots and even a stereotype. Finding ways to use consistent Viscom throughout your presentations, products, brands and advertisements will greatly improve your customer loyalty and recognition. Having a strong visual identity also reflects strength and vitality, not only for consumers and the market but also for the team behind and brand. For instances, using whiteboards and other presentation tools customized with the brand/company logo will leave an impression on customers and help teams feel as part of something greater, a team, a company, a brand, a family, working for the same purpose.
In short Viscom, as an office products category is growing in the industry and stepping up to an essential category - workspace solutions- due to the efficiency that visual communication as over other forms of communication. And it works to its full potential when it is clear, concise, not using real images as much as possible and highlighting whatever really needs to stand out, immediately in the right time and place. These are the rules to effective Viscom.