When we ask ourselves the question, “how do we communicate?” the reply is usually “through a language”. However, a faster and more intuitive way to communicate is through seeing. That is the reason why the key ingredient for any marketing strategy is about appealing to people’s visual senses. Look below at how well some firms used visual communication to effectively convey a strong message about their products.

Making a strong association with an animal can be effective in creating a strong symbol for your brand.

Interior design has been used to cleverly demonstrate how IKEA furniture can be used to represent a positive but complicated concept.

The visual element has augmented the impact of Ford’s slogan using visual communication.

For LEGO, when it comes to expressing its potential, pictures speak louder than words!

Impressive photo shopping illustrates how tasty Jumbo Peanuts are!

“Create your own visual style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others”. Orson Welles

Visual metaphors like these are very effective in convincing consumers although they may not always be conscious about certain messages. Another advantage of using visual communication methods is that it helps to convey messages and helps to influence people’s perceptions which are difficult to do when using words. These include the brand attitude, product belief and purchase intention.

Many people think that words can be effective in conveying a message and explaining the product. This is true. Using words for product marketing is like offering customers the company’s narrative about what your product stands for. On the other hand, by using visual tools, there is space for consumers to interpret your photo. Once the message is internalized by the consumers they are much more likely to accept the product image. Hence, many companies rely heavily on visual aids.

Despite the usefulness of visual aids, these are scarcely used for app companies that do not have a physical product. In fact, all the examples you see above are of food, cars, furniture and other tangible objects. In many instance, app companies are limited to their application logo in utilizing visual communication.

Nonetheless, the importance of visual communication through app icons cannot be emphasized enough. App icons are symbols of the application and consumers are exposed to it everyday. The icon and app designer Louie Mantia said:

“[While] you can focus on marketing needs, that is a one-time scenario for each person. Any individual will only buy your app once. One time…. I believe good app icons are most valuable for your customers, your everyday users, not first-time shoppers.”

There are many ways icons can be designed to facilitate visual communication. Some of these tips include coming up with a unique shape, choosing the right colors, being creative with minimal texts and photos. For example, consider the case of an app called Turnplay. It is an app that allows people to play their music as if they were on record player.

The design team started with basic paper sketches like the above and explored various parts of a record player. Then they came up with the final version which involves simple shapes while conveying information about the what the app’s main function is.

Furthermore, there are many iconic apps that stick to people’s mind with one letter. Some of these examples include but are not limited to:

The great thing about letter icons is that they are simple and easy to recognize. However, the downside is that for the first-time user it may be difficult to know what the app is about as it is hard to convey a full-fledged mission of the app using one letter in the alphabet. Yet, app names can help in this process. For instance, Zapya is a free file sharing app that boasts quick transfer speed without wireless connection. It also has a letter icon, Z with clear red and white color distinctions.

However, the name Zapya assists in interpretation of the visual icon. Zapya derives from the word ‘Zap’ which is used when you are sending something really quickly. Hence, when you are sending a file to someone quickly one could use the phrase ‘I will zap ya’ and that is how the name of the app developed into Zapya. Therefore, the app’s icon can remind the users of the app name which encapsulates the main function of the app. Visual communication is a powerful tool that can convey many messages as well as emotions that words cannot even for application companies. Utilizing modes of visual communication can make a deep impression on consumers and help to build a connection between the product and the feelings associated with the image.

We are visual creatures. When you doodle an image that captures the essence of an idea, you not only remember it, but you also help other people understand and act on it ”. Tom Wujec