By Goke Ilesanmi
Visual communication falls under non-verbal communication. There are major elements that can make or break your attempt at successful non-verbal business communication. These are eye contact, gestures, movement, posture, etc. Among the many ways of delivering your business communication are direct mail; in-person sales calls; telephone; the annual report; packaging; posters and company stationery; above- and below-the-line advertising, etc.
Visual elements are a major part of a business’s brand identity design. The keystone of that design is the logo, but in many cases, the logo is not enough to convey all your brand attributes. A visual vocabulary is a way to reinforce and add to the message that is contained in your logo. A company’s visual vocabulary consists of the secondary design elements that are used in conjunction with its logo to form its brand identity. The visual vocabulary is composed of font style, colours, shape, layout convention, background, the type of paper a company chooses, etc.
These elements should be used consistently throughout your stationery set and marketing collateral and have advantages over use of a logo and text alone. The elements of your visual vocabulary become a graphical language, which takes your viewer deeper into your graphics and materials.
Graphical communication method
Graphics in a visual vocabulary are a method of communication that is more quickly understood than text alone. A viewer can absorb the meanings of colours, symbols, photos, shapes and even font types much more quickly than by reading text. AccErin Ferree, founder, lead designer of elf design, a brand identity and graphic design expert says, “Many people have a deeper emotional connection with graphics than they do with text. Customers will be more likely to form an emotional bond with your brand and company if you use more graphics, as opposed to just using your logo and text on a letterhead, business card, datasheet or brochure.”
You can articulate some of the personality traits of your business through your visual vocabulary. You can make your company look more professional or people-oriented, more contemporary or traditional or communicate any of your company’s values by varying the shapes, colours and fonts used as the surrounding visual vocabulary. So, if you choose your vocabulary elements carefully, the story of the personality of your company can be told through those elements. Using a visual vocabulary consistently throughout all of your corporate materials will automatically make your materials look more coherent, credible and professional. The right combination of visual vocabulary elements can also make your materials more eye-catching. When your materials are in competition with others in a stack of proposals, on a table with other brochures, etc., they will have a better chance of getting noticed because of visual distinction.
A visual vocabulary will increase the possibility of your materials getting remembered since people will have more visual elements to remember in your materials. Elements of the visual vocabulary can reinforce your logo to help quicken the brand recognition-building process. One common way we can do this is to use a large version of the company’s logo, or a portion of the logo, as a watermark on the headed paper (“Letterhead” in American English), business card, envelope or website.
A visual vocabulary becomes a toolkit from which you can easily pull visual elements to create new marketing materials. If you have a business card and brochure and need to create a postcard quickly, then many of your visual elements, such as colour scheme, font styles and even layout and photograph choices can be pulled from the existing marketing materials and rearranged to create a new piece.
Variation and consistency
Ferree says the bonus function of a visual vocabulary is that when you are doing a special promotion, launching a new product or extending your services or product line, you can vary elements of the same visual vocabulary to make the materials for your new promotion stand out.
In Ferree’s words, “While consistency throughout a campaign is important, the elements of your visual vocabulary aren’t as set in stone as your logo. This is especially effective when you work just with the colours and drawn elements and leave the text and tagline treatments the same. That way, your materials will still be partially consistent with your other company materials, but you can give your new product or promotion’s materials a voice of its own.”
That is, if you use red, white and blue colours for instance, you can rearrange them as blue, white and red while launching a new product to graphically communicate introduction of a new product or newness. The colour rearrangement for a new product is just a variant of your traditional colour arrangement, not that you choose a totally-different set of colours.
Adding some visual vocabulary elements to your brand identity makes communicating with your audience easier. This increases your brand visibility and makes your brand get remembered. When used correctly and consistently, visual vocabulary elements can increase your credibility and define your corporate personality.
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GOKE ILESANMI, Editor-in-Chief/CEO of https://www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng and Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is a Certified Public Speaker/Emcee, (Business) Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker, Career Management Coach, Renowned Book Reviewer, Corporate Leadership Expert and Editorial Consultant.
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