What is Visual communication features elements techniques examples

Visual  communication is a process by which information is graphically represented to convey meaning in the most efficient and simple way possible. It is a communication process of great relevance, as our predominant sense is that of vision, which is the main way in which we relate to the environment.

Visual communication is one of the predominant tools in areas such as graphic design, advertising, social media publications and audiovisual communication. In all these fields, it must contain a series of basic elements to properly convey the message.

To convey information in the best way through a visual medium, specialists in this area have developed a multitude of strategies and theories about this type of communication. In general, they all include the importance of using elements such as interactivity in the message, iconography, supporting texts or animation.

Today, visual communication is more present than ever in our lives. We can find examples of your messages on websites, social networks, job postings and many other similar contexts. So knowing how it works and what the most appropriate techniques are is more important than ever.

Features of visual communication

– Has a universal character

Unlike other types of communication, visual information-based communication is much easier for almost everyone to understand. In fact, some of its elements (like colors or shapes) are believed to trigger innate responses in us, regardless of our culture or ethnicity.

This is something totally different from what happens with other types of communication. For example, spoken language is totally dependent on where we were born and what our culture of origin is. Something similar happens with gestures and body language, which despite having innate components are very much mediated by our upbringing.

However, colors, shapes, designs and other visual elements have proven to cause very similar reactions in all people, regardless of their origins.

– May be conscious or unconscious

As with other types of communication, the messages we send via the visual route may or may not be deliberate. Experts believe that it’s impossible for us to stop communicating, so if we don’t think carefully about what we’re doing, we’ll pass on information without realizing it.

For example, an advertising designer is usually perfectly aware of all the elements he is introducing into one of his publications. Thus, the message he wants to convey is perfectly clear and he will use tools like colors, infographics, texts and support structure to make the viewer understand what he wants.

However, in many other contexts, we do not realize what we are transmitting through the visual route. Something as seemingly insignificant as the colors of our clothes can send messages to the people around us about our state of mind or our way of being.

– Can fulfill multiple functions

Visual elements of communication can be used to achieve different goals. While there are more functions that visual communication can fulfill, some of the most important are as follows:

Persuasive function. Visual communication is very useful in convincing recipients and changing their opinions or ways of thinking. This is the main function of advertising.

– Expressive function. Images, colors and other similar elements are especially good for conveying emotions and sensations.

Information function. Some forms of visual communication are primarily intended to inform your viewers.

– aesthetic function. Certain types of visual communication are simply designed to convey beauty. This would be the case, for example, with some types of painting and photography.

– phatic function. These are images whose main mission is to emphasize a message transmitted by other means. For example, in an advertisement, special colors and designs are often used to give more power to the words used in it.


At its most basic, visual communication is based on a series of minimal elements that together make up all the messages that can be sent in this way.

All exchanges produced by visual communication are formed by them in their different forms. In this section, we will see which are the most important.

– Point

Dot is the most basic element of visual communication. It is the smallest unit that the human eye can recognize and is characterized by having no direction. Absolutely all images are made of dots. On the other hand, when we find it alone, it has a great capacity for attraction.

– Line

Lines are slightly more complex elements, formed by a succession of points that follow a direction. We can find several types of lines, the most common being straight and curved.

– Outline

The next level after the line is the contour, which is a set of contours that delimit a specific space. Although we can find all kinds of different contours, in visual communication the most used are the triangle, square and circle.

– Direction

Visual directions are elements that determine the plane on which our attention mainly moves. They are largely determined by the contours used in a message, the square working in the horizontal and vertical directions, the circle in the curve, and the triangle in the diagonal direction.

– Tom

Hue refers to the variability of light conditions in a visual message. Objects can move over a very wide range of light and dark, and each variant conveys different information to receivers.

– Color

On a technical level, colors are variations in the electromagnetic field that we can detect through our eyes. Colors are considered capable of conveying emotions in a virtually universal way. All are derived from three primaries: red, yellow and blue.

– Dimension

Dimension is an element of visual communication that refers to the volume of objects. Depending on the medium being used, it can be represented directly (as in sculpture) or it will be necessary to use techniques to imitate it, as is the case with painting or photography.

– Movement

The last fundamental element of visual communication is movement. In fixed media, such as painting or photography, it is necessary to resort to different tools to convey a sense of movement to the spectators.

Visual communication techniques

Visual communication is of great importance in many fields of our lives, which is why many techniques have been developed that allow us to make the most of its power. Below, we will see which are the most used in areas such as graphic design or advertising.

– Balance

The balance is based on the composition of the images so that there is a balance between all its elements. This technique provides calm and stability, while its absence can be used to generate shock and crash patterns .

– Symmetry

Symmetry is related to balance, although the two techniques are not exactly the same. In this, elements are placed around a central axis, so that both sides contain the same components.

Balance and symmetry often go hand in hand, but sometimes it is possible to achieve a balanced design in which this second element is not present.

– simplicity

In the world of visual communication, simple messages are considered capable of conveying information much better than those that are overloaded or too “noisy”. That’s why design tends more and more towards minimalism and messages as basic as possible.

– predictability

Predictability is a technique that seeks to present the viewer with a conventional message and as similar as possible to others that he had previously observed, with the aim of creating familiarity in his mind. The alternative is spontaneity, in which the creative breaks with traditional molds to create an innovative message that shocks and attracts attention.


Mastery of visual communication is essential in many different sectors, as much of the information we receive reaches us through this medium.

If we do not know what we are transmitting through images, colors, textures and other elements, we will end up sending messages that we do not control and that can be harmful to our goals.

On the contrary, if we can master visual communication, we can take advantage of a universal system that is easily understood by everyone and that is also capable of directly affecting the emotions of our interlocutors.


Visual communication is present in several different environments. Some very common examples are the following:

– A creative that creates an ad for a web page.

– A man who decides what to wear before going out to the party to be as attractive as possible.

– A designer who creates a book cover to increase sales.

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