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What is Visual Communication & How to Best Use it? | Full Guide

What is visual communication? Find out why visual communication matters and how you can implement it with our tips, examples and full guide.
Abel Grunfeld
Head of Marketing
Last Updated:
March 10, 2024
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

If you don’t have a visual communication strategy in place already, it’s definitely time you did. Visual communication is the best way to get ideas and concepts across to any audience that you’re addressing, especially on social media. 

If you’re unfamiliar with how to create compelling and effective visual assets, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we break down the core tenets of visual communication and how to start creating the best type of media for your needs. 

What is visual communication?

Visual communication is all about sharing, explaining, promoting, or marketing your business, product, idea, or message. It can take many forms including images, videos, diagrams, and other visual assets. 

In business, visual communication is highly effective and encompasses all kinds of media marketing. The rise in popularity of video content, especially on social media platforms, has increased the importance of video in visual communications. 

Why is visual communication important?

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and this is really what visual communication boils down to. 


The bottom line is that visual communication is effective and powerful. Not only do images and videos give you wide exposure, but engagement and information retention is far higher than other mediums. For instance, according to Forbes, viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch a video compared to 10% when they read a text. 

Plus, it’s easy to boil down complex ideas into simple images that pack a punch. This is super helpful when you’re trying to communicate big messages on platforms like Instagram which are visually-oriented. 

Visual culture & society 

We now live in a saturated yet highly visual society. Everyone consumes media in all forms and spends a substantial amount of time using visually-based platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. It’s for this reason that businesses that want to tap into these wide-reaching social media networks need to be visually communicating their products, ideas and output. 

Transcends barriers

Visual-based communication is uniquely powerful in that it allows businesses to surpass certain barriers such as language and time constraints. A video or image is quick and effective compared to written text. 

 Benefits of effective visual communication

Better engagement 

As we touched on earlier, effective visual communication can reap highly valuable results. Not least in terms of how your audience or customers engage with your messaging.  Within video marketing alone, 89% of people say that videos deliver a good ROI, while 83% have seen increases in lead generation. 

Easy content creation 

With AI-powered tools like Riverside’s Magic Clips, it’s easier than ever to include low-effort visual content production into your existing workflows. This also means that regardless of your experience in visual communication, you can get started creating professional-looking content quickly. 


Another important aspect of visual communication is that it allows you to create ‘shareable’ assets that will help you to reach a wider audience. By publishing videos, gifs, and images on social media, you’re setting yourself for maximum exposure to a broad audience. This is especially the case if you’re able to create visual content that online algorithms favor, constantly putting your brand in front of new eyes. 

6 Types of visual communications with effective examples 


GIF stands for “Graphics Interchange Format”. They’re essentially an animated image file and can be compared to a ‘looped video’. They can be a great way to communicate something visually and dynamically. 

Best for: You can use GIFs on social media and in presentations, for example. 

Example: Typology Paris, a skincare brand, uses GIFS a lot:


An animation consists of a series of still images that are manipulated to create the sense you’re watching a video or moving image. There are a few different types of animation, including: 

  • Stop-animation
  • Hand-drawn or painted animation 
  • computer animations

Animations are another visually dynamic way to convey a brand message and incorporate moving images into your content. 

Best for: social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. They can also work for branded ads. 

Example: Headspace, a mindfulness and meditation app, uses animations all the time:

Short-form video 

Short-form video should be at the heart of your visual communication strategy if you’re posting on social-media. They are the best and most efficient way of getting your message out to a wide audience. They’re easy to create, though it takes work to make short snappy videos that pack a punch. 

This is why we suggest using a platform like Riverside. Our AI powered Magic Clips tool automatically picks out key moments from your full-length recording and turns them into short-form clips that are ready for publication.

Best for: Social media posting and reaching new, wider audiences.  

Example: Any brand you can probably think of that’s active on Instagram or TikTok will have an array of short-form videos that you can take a look through. Here’s just one example from Spotify’s instagram profile:

Long-form video

Long-form video is the ideal medium for communicating news, messages, or talking your audience through a new product, concept, or update. For obvious reasons, long-form video does require more time and know-how on the production side. 

Best for: Internal communications, posting on platforms such as YouTube or Vimeo. 

Example: The Pursuit of Wonder posts a mixture of long and short-form video to their YouTube. Here’s a video they posted about “The Art of Letting Things Happen”:


Even though it can seem that moving images and videos are taking over the world of visual communication, standard still images still have their place. You can superimpose text over a picture, create digital (or hand-drawn) artwork, take photographs and more. 

Best for: Social media, brand marketing materials, internal communications. 

Example: Here’s an example of a non-alcoholic drink brewery from LA that has a lot of photography on their feed:


An infographic is an easy-to-understand visualization of data. They’re a static images that can help you to communicate complex ideas or trends in a simple way. 

Best for: Internal communications as well as posting on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. 

Example: This post from Refugee Council is a good example of using infographics to convey a lot of information at once:

Bonus: Best tools and resources to make visual communication easier

To get your visual communication assets spot-on, you need the right tools. There are a variety of platforms out there that focus on different types of visual communication. In this section, you’ll find our recommendations for some of the strongest options out there: 


If you’re looking to start creating professional long and short-form video, Riverside is the perfect tool. You can create high-quality remote videos from start to finish with the support of a professional-standard platform and powerful AI-features. Recording long and short-form video go hand-in-hand with Riverside since you can create both types in one workflow. Record your longer videos in your online studio and let Riverside’s Magic Clips feature do its thing to create social-media ready short-form videos. You can also polish up your recording effortlessly using our AI video editor.

Visual communication with Riverside

Here’s a quick look at some of Riverside’s innovative features: 

  • Remote recording: Invite up to 7 remote guests and record in 4K video
  • Easy to use: Our features are easy whatever your experience 
  • Progressive upload:  You and your guests' videos upload as you record. No need to wait around at the end. 
  • Media board: Live mix your recording with music, sound effects and other media. 
  • Highly-accurate AI transcriptions:  Transcripts are available in 100+ languages in TXT or SRT formats.
  • AI Captions: Customize the placement, size, color and font of your captions to match your vision for your video. 
  • Text-based editor: All you have to do is delete and edit your transcript text and we’ll make those changes to the corresponding video and audio. 
  • Browser-based and mobile app: Record anytime and anywhere
  • Magic Clips: Turn your recordings’ key moments into short-form videos at the tap of a button. 
  • Customizable layouts:  Add your brand touch with a customizable background, logo or layout.
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Canva is a free-to-use online graphic design and visual communication tool that’s perfect for creating content for social media or presentations. You’ll find a whole range of intuitive design tools and ready-to-use components that you can include in your creations. You can also add animations to your text and images for that extra bit of visual appeal. 

visual communication with Canva

Key features: 

  • Photo effects and editing 
  • Magic background remover 
  • Ready to use elements including illustrations, frames 
  • AI powered text-to-image tool 
  • PDF editor 
  • Video resize and free-to-use stock videos 
  • Video to GIF 
  • Motion path animation helps you create moving images 


DALL-E is an Open AI tool that creates images and art from a text description you input. The images and art it creates can align to whatever style or mood you ask it to output.

DALL-E visual communication tool

Key features:   

  • Text to image translation (you input a text prompt and DALL-E creates an image) 
  • Editing, adjustments and iterations. You can ask DALL-E to edit or change the image it produces for you in some way and it will respond.
  • Ask DALL-E to expand an existing image and it will intelligently add to it.   


FIGMA is a collaborative design tool that’s great for moodboarding, ideating, conceptualizing and creating all matter of visual assets. It’s biggest selling point is definitely the seamless collaboration that it facilitates. 

Figma visual communication creator

Key features: 

  • Easily design for any device and format 
  • Seamless collaboration with your team members or external people 
  • Play with different versions of your designs to weigh up different options 
  • Create vectors 
  • Customizability to the max 
  • Integrate your existing tech stack such as Asana and Microsoft Teams 

Adobe Firefly 

Adobe Firefly is a generative AI-powered content creation tool. All you need to do is type in a text prompt (you can do this in over 100 languages) and Adobe Firefly will create an image.

Adobe Firefly visual communication

Key Features

  • Generative fill lets you add or remove elements to/from images
  • Add effects to your text using styles and textures 
  • Recolor different variations of your artwork 
  • Extend your images or change the aspect ratio of your image 

FAQs on Visual Communication:

Are there 3 types of visual communication?

There are all kinds of visual communication. Depending on which source you refer to, you’ll see it broken down in different ways. For instance, this article refers to three different types of visual communication: verbal, non-verbal and body language. Meanwhile, others will point to the different forms of visual communication such as infographics, diagrams, images, videos, gifs, and animation, as we have done in this article. 

Is visual communication easy?

Visual communication is easy if you know your audience. There’s definitely a need for know-how and expertise, though. And it’s especially important to 

Is visual communication the same as graphic design?

Though visual communication and graphic design are certainly related, they’re actually different processes. Visual communication refers to the literal conveyance of a message through a visual medium. Meanwhile, graphic design is the practice of creating visual assets through combining text, formatting, and other elements.

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