Visual Communications as a Visual.

Visual Communicators – An Asset to Any Business.

If you’re a visual communicator you have the qualities universities boast of and employers want; research, critical analysis, imagination, problem solving, independent thinking, people skills, meeting deadlines, communication, comprehension and listening.  And by taking words and numbers even further with visual literacy – more creativity. Perfectly suited to manage this moving image, visually rich, multi media, information heavy, networked world.

Visual Communications – The Process.

Visual Communications path from client through brief to target audience.

The process. You get a client. They want to achieve something using your skills which might be in any one or more media from illustration to printmaking, film, photography, graphics, or animation, particular to you. Its got to be developed, approved, made and delivered, maybe with the help of others, to a strict deadline and at a given cost. As you can imagine, there’s potential for all sorts of disputes along the way.

Agreeing a Brief.

Given a brief.This is the first part. Agreeing a brief with the client to work out what you have to deliver, what the intended objectives are and who the target audience is, to be completed at a certain time, and at what cost paid when.

Developing a brief helps you and the client both understand what is being sought to be delivered. Which makes it the beginning of the creative process.

It is also a written document mutually understood and agreed that will act as a compass to keep the project on track and can be referred to in case of disagreements. It’s invaluable in keeping the peace. It’s a written contract.

Understanding and Communicating.

Understanding and Communicating.Understanding and Communicating is a core skill. It is essential. You need this to be certain that your client, any other professionals involved and yourself share the same understanding of the brief and what it intends: the scope of the budget, who the target audience is, what has to be achieved, what is to be delivered, and how, and where, and when. Never assume it’s mutually understood. Always double check.

Research and Enquiry.

Research and enquiry.Research and enquiry is food for being creative. If you neglect or avoid it – your level of creativity will be weak. There are two types: primary research – where you dig down to fundamental original sources; and secondary research – where you examine what other creatives have made previously. Both are of value but the first is likely to lead to originality whereas relying only on the second will create second or third hand results .

Problem Solving.

 Problem solving generates ideas. The objectives and restraints in your brief define what and how you research, and in turn they are informed and evolve according to your research experiences and discoveries. From that melding friction of restraint and research, ideas are found developed and tested (is it better or worse is the repeated question as the process is repeated round and round) until the options are narrowed and the best idea is selected.

I strongly recommended you keep an ideas book where you record this process as it goes along. Not scribbling down ideas at the time they occur guarantees you’ll quickly forget. And then forget that you have forgotten. Humans are very good at that.

Imagination and Ideas.

Imagination is what generates good ideas and makes you creative. How creative will be demonstrated by the quality, innovation and insight of your ideas. It is not an arty farty magical process. Self regard and inhibition are your enemy.

Find ways to bypass your subconscious inner critic, judge, and censor in the problem solving phase (above) to spew out as many unfiltered ideas as you can. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good, there are methods available that help: mind mapping, doodling, daydreaming, sleeping on it, walking, meditating, dreaming, the six hats, lateral thinking, reverse brainstorming, zero draft. Fill your ideas book.

Tools of the Trade.

Your creativity is not just in your head but it also involves your body and your body’s situation in the environment and the tools and materials it interacts with. When you explore with pencils, software, electronics, cameras, type, paint, inks, paper, stone, clay or whatever and evaluate iteratively as you go (good or bad, better or worse) towards a finished product the ‘doing’ feeds back and influences and re-defines your ideas.

The better your ability with those tools get, the better the evaluative choices you get to make, which in turn leads to a more refined idea and a superior finished product. Working in the physical develops and puts your ideas to the test like iron in a foundry.

The combination of tools each visual communicator uses varies with the individual concerned, or the team. The best way to grasp this is to understand some of the job titles these people inhabit. For example: Graphic Designer • Web Designer • Illustrator • Game Designer • Motion Titles Designer • Photographer • Typographer • Comic Artist • Animator • Interactive Designer • Printmaker • Exhibition Designer • Cartoonist • Model Maker • etc.

End Products.

Publishing in the 21st Century.

Through Visual Communications you can produce materials for broadcast publishing – Internet, film, animation and television; and product publishing – print, packaging, artefacts and signs. Your skills can be used in selling products and ideas; improving culture and the environment; easing learning and teaching; modifying behaviours and society.

You live in a world of targeted, well designed visual communications’ products manufactured for a purpose: billboards, ads, magazines, web sites, icons, signage, posters, maps, books, user interfaces, typefaces, easy to use teaching materials, diagrams, cartoons, animations, videos, graphs, illustrations, interactive teaching materials, warnings and warning icons, propaganda.

The work of those better designer usually goes unnoticed and unremarked upon because it modestly facilitates your actions, desires, purpose and use of your surroundings. Great design is often sadly unappreciated because it does its job quietly and well but you should make a conscious effort to notice it and learn from the better designers.

The products you did notice because they were difficult to use, unreadable, complex, cumbersome or ungainly – or were just so beautiful that they got in the way – were made by the worse designers. You can learn from them too.


The good and bad designers are those that do good or bad things through visual communications. Designers are taught ethics and designers sometimes have to choose. I for example refused to go into advertising which back then in my youth existed to sell tons of fags, fast cars, crap food and booze.

Visual Communications Visualised.

visual communications - the process - information graphic
visual communications – the process – information graphic – from the client through the brief into the creative process using the relevant design tools and then onto digital broadcast or physical product.

As shown above visual communicator are a good fit in any business. Their own profession requires them to be good at; research skills, critical analysis, imagination, problem solving, independent thought, people skills, deadlines, communication, comprehension, big on technology, and most of all creative. Plus on top, they have graphics skills and valuable visual literacy. Perfectly suited to manage this moving image visually rich multi media information heavy networked world.

One thought on “Visual Communications as a Visual.

  1. Rather loquacious, artificial, over-complicated, pretentious, specious, American, ungrammatical, and boring, with unnecessary neologisms and words used outside their normal contexts.
    I couldn’t understand it and gave up long before the end.
    Maybe that means that I’m a poor Passive Communicator.
    It seems to me that Communication means nothing more than Mutual Understanding.
    And language, with its ritualised spelling, grammar, punctuation prosody etc. have evolved over long timeframes in order that full understanding is achieved with the minimum delay (i.e. cerebral data processing) on the maximum number of occasions.

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