Visual communication is a powerful tool to convey your message, engage your audience and create lasting impressions. But it is not enough to just slap some images, colors and fonts on your work and hope for the best. You need to be intentional, strategic and consistent about how you use visual elements to communicate effectively. In this blog post, we will share some common mistakes that people make in visual communication and how to avoid them.
Consistency is key in visual communication. It helps you establish your brand identity, create trust and recognition, and make your work look professional and polished. On a very basic level, that means using the same style, tone, colors, fonts, icons, images and layout across your work. It also means setting patterns and expectations for your audience, so they know what to look for and how to navigate your work.
But consistency does not necessarily mean boring or predictable. You can still be creative and flexible within your consistent framework. You can also break the patterns or expectations occasionally, but only when you want to draw attention to something important or create contrast or surprise. E.g., you can use a different color or font for a call-to-action button, a headline or a quote. But do not do it too often or randomly, otherwise you will confuse your audience and lose their trust.
Another common mistake is to put too much emphasis on the beginning or the end of your work, and neglect the middle part. Work will likely look unbalanced, uneven and incomplete. You do not wanna have a stunning introduction or a catchy title that grabs your audiences attention, but then you lose them with a boring or irrelevant body of text. Or you might have a strong conclusion or a compelling call-to-action that summarizes your message, but then you leave them with a bland or generic impression.
You need to have a clear structure and flow that guides your audience from start to finish. You need to use visual elements that support and enhance your content, avoiding distractions or factors that overwhelm it. You need to vary your visual techniques and methods to keep your audience engaged and curious. All while having a consistent tone and voice that matches your purpose and audience.
Visual communication is not a one-way street. It is a dialogue between you and your audience. You need to listen to their feedback and adjust your work accordingly. Feedback can come in many forms, such as comments, ratings, likes, shares, clicks, conversions, etc. You need to track and measure these indicators to see how well your work is performing and what areas need improvement.
But feedback is not only about numbers and data. It is also about impressions and feelings. You need to understand the affective components of your website and first and foremost, avoid any negative ones. You need to use visual elements that appeal to their senses and values. But at the same time know that it is just a website. Do not sound larger than life, overeager, etc.
4. Relying too much on visuals
Visuals are great, but they are not everything. You cannot rely on them alone to communicate your message. You also need to use text to explain, clarify and persuade your audience. Text can complement and reinforce your visuals, as well as fill in the gaps or provide additional information that visuals alone cannot convey.
But text does not mean long paragraphs of dense text that nobody reads. It means concise, clear and compelling text that hits the right notes in terms of your audience preferences and needs. It means using headings, subheadings, bullet points, lists, quotes, captions, etc., to organize and highlight your text. It also means using simple, direct and active language that speaks to your audiences needs and wants.
The last mistake in visual communication is to be overbearing or redundant with your methods, messages or elements. E.g., you might use too many colors, fonts, images or icons that clash with each other or do not match your style or tone. Or you might use too many visual techniques or effects that distract or annoy your audience or make your work look amateurish or gimmicky. Or you might repeat the same message or information over and over again without adding any value or insight.
Which is why you need to be selective and strategic about what you include in your work and what you leave out. Generally it is recommended that you follow the principle of less is more: use only what is necessary and relevant to communicate your message effectively. Obviously paired with the principle of quality over quantity: use only what is high-quality and impactful to create a lasting impression on your audience.