The concept of a visual communication agency has only recently begun to gain ground as a significant and necessary addition within the creative agency space. Some folks might argue that a visual communication agency is nothing more than a repackaged design agency or a niche marketing agency. But nothing could be farther from the truth.
In fact, a visual communication agency offers up a fundamentally different skillset to its customers, and can therefore deliver products and services that no other type of agency can. Here’s what makes a visual communication agency different.
First, What Is Visual Communication?
Since its inception in 2010, Killer has been at the forefront of defining what was then an emerging and exciting new type of media: visual communication. Now, with several thousand projects across nearly every medium under our belts, we’ve been able to zero in on what we believe defines visual communication today:
Visual communication is defined as the act of graphically representing information to efficiently and effectively create meaning. When necessary, limited text is included to explicate the meaning.
When you think about it, then, visual communication has been around forever, from the first cave paintings that, perhaps, offered instructions on the hunt or other necessary knowledge. But it’s not always been effective: think about the millions of poorly designed, text-heavy infographics out there that utterly fail at creating meaning through visuals.
This description should also define and guide how any effective visual communication agency functions, and what it promises to deliver. With that in mind, let’s dive a bit deeper into how a visual communication agency should function.
A Visual Communication Agency Marries Form & Function
When it comes to effective visual communication, an aesthetically pleasing or pretty design isn’t enough. Nor is a grouping of data visualizations, or an excerpt of explanatory text. A strong piece of visual communication combines all of these elements. It should offer engaging and attractive visuals that also do a great deal of work by offering up useful information with minimal text — and no filler text or visuals at all. All of this must be arranged in an effective way that tells a story or helps a reader draw reasonable conclusions.
As you can imagine, the ability to create such a design requires a specialized set of skills that can’t be found at just any design agency. It requires the input of skilled copywriters trained in crafting infographics, motion graphics, and interactive web pages. It requires that the designer have knowledge of and training in accurate data visualization, mathematics, and information design. What’s more, the content writers, project managers, and designers all must achieve a fundamental understanding of the information they’re visualizing.
This understanding is reached not only through careful research and preparation, but also by developing a strong relationship with the client. Over time, as an agency collaborates with a client, they will come to understand the client’s business in a way few design agencies or even marketing agencies do. Why? Because visual communication agencies are also tasked with recommending the best strategies for creating visual content that will achieve specific goals and target particular audiences. They can’t make these recommendations without a profound understanding of the client’s business, industry, and goals.
What to Expect from Your Visual Communication Agency
Now that we know more about the role of a visual communication agency, what does the client experience look like?
A strong visual communication agency should have a variety of characteristics that ensure its team can collaborate effectively and deliver the best service possible, including:
- An end-to-end content production experience
- An in-house team
- A clearly defined project-development process
- A collaborative experience and open communication throughout the entire project process
It should also offer these key services:
- Custom design, without the use of stock imagery
- Designers trained in data visualization and information design
- Visual-strategy development, including:
- Audience-targeting recommendations
- Platform-optimized designs
- Goal-oriented copywriting and design
Look for a visual communication agency with these features and services, and — regardless of your experience with visual content — you’ll be sure to walk away with a successful visual strategy optimized and customized for your goals.
With the growing popularity of online video and the emergence of new visual media from augmented to virtual reality, visual communication will become ever more widespread. More and more brands are already hiring visual communication agencies as resources just as essential as the marketing or PR agency. Choosing the right agency to guide your next visual campaign will make all the difference.