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What is visual communication?

Actualizado: 15 oct 2021

Visual Communication is the use of visual elements and compositions in order to provide information efficiently and attractive enough fo the message can reach the viewer.

Some of the Sectors on Visual Communication are:

Wall Painting on Brooklyn photographed by Nelson Ndongala

Arts and culture.

Any type of art needs to be able to communicate, pass the message, idea or concept from the artist to the viewer. Each art uses a different media but visual communication studies how humans process information and here is where arts need visual communication so they can achieve their goal.

When speaking of culture, is important to know the background of the culture that we are reading or getting information about as symbols used might have very different meaning depending on where and how you were raised. Culture provides us with some of this great sources of popular culture so we can use metaphors, for example, so our message is communicated in a way that people are more approachable.

"The Lobster" Poster by Vasilis Marmatakis.


If you look around you, you will find design in every wall of the room you are in. From that Ikea Micke desk to the poster hanging on your wall or all the DVD's (because you are a film lover) sitting on your shelve. Their goal is to create a piece of information that can make you engage with it so you come closer to see it better and a couple of minutes after, you find yourself buying a book because "look how cool is the cover!"

The Last of Us by Naughty Dog

Gaming industry.

While telling a story where the viewer needs to know the background of a story in a limited period of time while the story develops and the player takes part in the action and extrapolates theirselves in the character that you have given them. You need to make sure that the story is understood, coherent and the narrative is catchy.

"The Platform" by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia

TV and Film industry.

On TV and Film industry is important that the way the communicate the information or the message is delivered correctly as it will have very different impact on the viewer depending on the audience. It works quite similar to the game industry but this time, the viewer does not interact with the action, they cannot choose but just receive the information.



When publishing books you have to keep in mind how is the viewer or possible buyer. How can we make this person enjoy the narrative? How are we going to make them stop, look at our book, pick it up, read the plot and decide that is interesting enough for them to buy it? How can we make them engage so they keep buying our books?


Quite similar to publishing, however, this is a more direct action taken to persuade the potential buyer to pursue our product. Different strategies are used in order to engage with the customer, one of the main ones being humor and sex because "isn't that what we all want?" (they make references to very basic emotions and necessities.

"El árbol y el bosque" Graphics by Rocio Montoya


Music industry does not need visual communication as their channel is not visual but a sonic(?)

However, at the end of the day everything is about money and without a visual and tactile product, the music industry will not be able to make as much money as they might need. That is why their merchandising is produced and is also the reason why we include it here.

The White Towers in Madrid by Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza


Not every building looks the same or has the same role as the rest of them. Designing a building as a house, offices, town hall, etc, have different requirements. Just by how each house looks like you can tell when it was build or if is a wealthy house or a more affordable one.

As every other artists, architects also like to demonstrate that they can build more interesting structures.

What and I interested in?

When I first started studying photography I was sure I wanted to became a portrait photographer as that is what I saw on social media being popular. With the years, I realised that portrait photography is great but meaningless on its own (at least that is how I feel about it). Nevertheless, portrait photography is very important when you are working on narrative, documentary or journalism photography projects.

Which this, I want to say that I have just step on the visual communication world, however, I think I want to focus on graphic design as while writing about the different sectores, my mind could not stop seeing how graphic design would be involved (although this could be about my brain being naïve about everything that visual communication is involved in.)

Editorial and Publishing Design:

I consider myself a multidisciplinary artist so answering this question with just one of them is impossible.

Graphic design will help me to produce better photographic content as well as creating better books and zines as most of them work better on this platform rather that on an online one. On previous occasion, collaborating with a graphic designer pushed my images and text (and therefore the narrative of the project) to a higher level, providing a much interest and engaging product for the viewer. This at the end of the day means success on your job. If I am able to do this by myself, not only I could reduce my budget but I can also make it exactly the way I want it to be and I can put as many other layers as I want to the narrative.

Corporative Identity.

As a potential freelance, knowing how to have a corporative identity is essential.

Competition is harder when you are working on the small scale as you cannot have the resources (money) that bigger business spend on their branding. Being able to show you they way you want to be seen and by the people you want to be seen by will help you to achieve you goals.

From the social impact point of view, I will have the tools to help smaller and more ethical business to have voice and presence where without this it will be harder for them to arrive.

Didactic Design.

As a dyslexic person who lives in a foreign country which language is not the same as their mother language, having the chance of helping anyone to have an easer access to information and a more inclusive way of learning sound like something I would like to spend time exploring.

The concept of Social Impact has come across today and it is one of there reasons why I studied photography I wanted to tell stories for people to have a look at other matters that they might not necessarily need to see on their daily life or topics that they feel included in, so they know that more people feel and are like that. Having a new medium to interact with viewer will make my voice bigger and more broad channel for people to engage with as some people might rather read then see photos and analysing their feelings .

What am I already doing?

As a photographer, I take pictures and produce body of work about topics that I am interested about such as politics, LGBTQ+ culture, animal rights, etc. In a way, I am already practicing the Social Impact (can that be used as a term itself?) as I just take pictures for small business that I think are doing a good for the community, environment or we share ethics.

I run my social media, I have built my website, I take pictures that later on are used on social media, assist making music videos...


Key Sectors in Visual Communication. by Kirsty Thomson.
What is editorial design, and why is it so important to digital publishing by Josh Tong.
What is educational design?

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