InSites for the Future: The Use of Visuals in Communication in 2012

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Visuals can be more important to effective communication than the words we use. Vanguard’s Integrated Media Services group leader Crystal Borde predicts digital media will become more visual in 2012, while editorial director LeAnne DeFrancesco argues for the power of images when communicating your message.

A More Visually Appealing New Year

In 2011, websites, media outlets and social networks became more visual. In 2012, everything online will need to be visual. Accessing content through personal, dynamic technology, such as smart phones, tablets, electronic readers, etc., is increasing user appetites for visuals. Time constraints and a growing global audience will force websites to use more photographs and infographics to tell stories and communicate information. Image-dominant social networking sites, such as Pinterest, will become the new norm and grow in popularity. As Facebook is already learning from its new timeline format, mainstream website and social networks will need to catch up by applying more visually appealing style to content. Communicators can get ahead by thinking more visually and consider graphic design options when transmitting information to our audiences.

– By Crystal Borde

Be Stingy: Let Images Do (Most of) the Work

Last Friday, I was waiting at a coffee shop for my weekly ritual caramel macchiato when I noticed that of the six people in line ahead of me, every one of them was looking down at a smart phone. Every one. There were holiday images on the windows, gift displays throughout the space and holiday music on the PA, but all of it was lost on these people who were engaged elsewhere.

It made me wonder how communicators — writers in particular — can interrupt a person’s tunnel vision long enough to take in the messages around them. And then, that lesson from Advertising 101 hit me: Don’t TELL me. SHOW me.


In 2012, people will use even less time to consume content in an advertising campaign or website. But if they can get the message via a powerful visual — along with a few words, of course — the chances are greater that they’ll stick around to learn more, or even take action. (I’m ready to personalize M&Ms as gifts for the next 12 months.) Although in marketing efforts PR professionals can sometimes be pressed to over-communicate, we shouldn’t be afraid to let design do (most of) the talking. Expansive vocabularies can be used elsewhere.

– By LeAnne DeFrancesco

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