The Power of Visuals

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Pretty clear, right? One look and you immediately connected each of these photos to an feeling. Freedom. Surprise. Childhood sadness. While images allow a variety of interpretations (perhaps the cat is horrified or scared), they almost always evoke an immediate response. And in doing so, the viewer is engaged with the message even before they’ve started reading. That’s the power of a picture, and that’s why you need top-notch visuals in your professional identity.

“We humans are sight mammals,” states educator Jay Cross. “We learn almost twice as well from images plus words as from words alone. Pictures translate across culture, education levels and age groups…the richness of the whole picture can be taken in at a glance.” Is this a modern phenomena in our visually-inundated world? Not really. Scientifically, we as humans have a greater capacity to absorb an image than text. Jeff Hurt, author of “Looking To Learn: Why Visuals Are So Important”, reveals that “between 50-80% of our brain’s processing power is dedicated to seeing and processing our visual sense”. That’s a lot. Additionally, research has proven that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. So images are able to get into our brains faster and deeper than text, hence the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. But what does this mean for you and your business? Here’s the big picture…
Images are around us everyday, and they are becoming their own currency of data exchange.

According to market research, Pinterest saw a growth of 1047% in unique visitors from 2011 to 2012, Instagram has 130 million users, Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 2.25.17 PMand Instagram photos have 1 billion likes a day. Pictures are now becoming a viable way for companies to connect with, and profit from, their client base. Image sharing is made increasingly easy across social networking platforms now, and with data showing how people use their phones and computers almost interchangeably, it is critical that clients can access beautiful, enticing designs from a variety of portals. Businesses are getting smarter about this and integrating visuals more and more into their brand identity, and so should you.

“According to research conducted by Missouri University of Science and Technology, it takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form an opinion about your brand,” writes Syed Noman Ali, an SEO Manager at Cygnis Media. Less than one second, and your potential client already knows if you’re a go or a no. That is both powerful and daunting. But you can use it to your advantage with the right visual strategy.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 9.44.21 AMAccording to this handy infographic, 46% of people consider a website’s design a gauge of their credibility, so having visuals that match your brand are crucial to capturing the right audience. No one shows up to an interview in their weekend sweats, so why would you present your business on a sloppy website? This is where brand identification comes in. Once established, your visual strategy can be displayed through fresh, clean graphics that pamper your client. Show ‘em what you’ve got, bells and whistles and all. Your digital presence is your company’s first impression, so it’s worth the time and effort. Remember – there is something that you can do that no one else can, all you have to do is show it off!

Photos: Flickr, zastavki.com, and becomingminimalist.com

About the Author

Jordan Griffith, one of Schoening Digital's original Project Coordinators, contributes posts about trends in web and marketing from her new teacher's desk, in a classroom in Seattle, Washington. She likes being utterly organized, making jewelry, and hanging with friends.

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