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Artists express themselves through their art, leaving the viewer to interpret the work however they want. In many ways, the art is more about the viewer’s experience than about the actual art itself. The artist’s intentions aren’t really what’s important.

Where in communication design the responsibility of a communication designer is to develop the relationship between the viewer and visuals. They designs visuals based on the message they want to communicate and how to strategically engage the viewer. They will consider what will capture a viewer’s attention first, the common associations that audiences have, and the psychology behind how design elements affect someone’s mood. They create designs that communicate a message faster than words can, but make sure that the messaging is also clear and compelling. Designer can make a difference not only in the strategic plan of a business but also in the world by positively influence the lives of culturally diverse people, critique the ethical dimensions of contemporary culture, and give visual form to complex social issues.

The communication design definition, put more simply, would be utilizing visuals that strategically express information. As technological advancements open the graphic design industry up to change, design becomes even more prevalent in our world. As a result, quality design is more important than ever, which makes it more competitive than ever.

Before we talk more about the specifics of what communication designers do, it’s important to understand how communication design fits into the bigger context of graphic design.

Some people might assume visual communication and graphic design are the same concepts because they both involve design. However, this is not the case in reality; they may have some similarities, but are not the same.

What is Visual Communication?

Visual communication refers to any non-verbal communication that uses the sense of sight. It involves anything that expresses a message and offers information with the assistance of various gestures, signs or postures. It is also known as viscom in some circles.

Visual communication design is a creative process that combines the visual arts and technology to communicate ideas. It begins with a message that is transformed into visual communication that transcends mere words and pictures. Using the color, type, movement, symbols, and images, the visual communication designer creates and manages the production of visuals designed to inform, educate, persuade, and even entertain a specific audience.

Visual communications can be done through various mediums such as objects, models, graphs, photographs, maps, videos, presentations etc.

Visual communication saves time, increases clarity, helps in consistency, helps greater retention of information, ease of understanding etc.

Communication design in Visual Communication is specifically used when discussing the strategy involved in expressing information through visual design. For communication designers, this can become the foundation for how they think about visuals and is, then, the real definition of what they do. Those who work in communication design may work in fields like branding, advertising, or web and app design. Their job isn’t just about the craft of creating stunning graphics, but about realizing the power of what their work can communicate and then using that to its fullest extent. If a graphic designer was hired to handle one visual element, a communication designer would be hired to both create visuals and to handle communicating a company’s message to their audience. They would see the whole picture of the campaign from start to finish.

Visual communication is largely interchangeable with communication design and is, again, about strategically telling a story to an audience. If a communication designer was working on a billboard, they could use keywords, graphics, and design choices to visually communicate a specific message to the audience as they drive by.

Visual Communication VS Graphic Design

We see what visual communication is in above section, here lets see what graphic design is.

Graphic design is something which we create with text and visual content to communicate ideas. It can be physical or virtual in nature. The physical form is called as prints. Virtual forms are called as images.

The key elements of the graphic design includes color, line, texture, shape, space, size and form. Which are used in combinations to create attractive and impactful designs.

Lets see what is the difference between visual communication and graphic design.

Visual Communication
Graphic Design
Communicating with consumers using visual mediums, so students may be required to learn graphic design, animation, photography, illustration or airbrushing.
Has a narrow focus as it only focuses on creating graphics for websites, advertising campaigns and marketing materials.
Tasks involve anything within the domain of visual communication, whether photography, editing, video-filming, preparing materials to share information with clients, etc.
The tasks here include designing elements for print and digital platforms.
Tools Used
Illustrator, Adobe XD, Sketch and Photoshop.
Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer
Another Term
Communication design

Some of the Popular Jobs
– Advertising Manager;
– Photojournalist;
– Communications Manager;
– Art and Design Director;
– Design Artist and Illustrator.
– Graphic Designer;
– Art Director;
– Visual Designer;
– User Experience (UX) Designer;
– Freelance Designer;
– Publication Designer;
– Web Designer.

Examples of Communication Design

Communication designer is ready with the creative and technical skills to create visually arresting graphics and the professional skills to handle large, complex projects.

Corporate Design and Branding

Every company wants to establish a unique identity in their respective field and stand out from their competitors in order to develop strong relationships with their audience base. A company’s ability to get noticed by more people leads to a more profitable business, so if a communication designer can showcase how they understand the relationship between design and branding — visuals and storytelling — they become an asset to a company wanting to expand.

Branding is largely about logos, colors, and typography, but it’s also more than that. Whatever design element you’re creating for a brand, it needs to be purposeful. Even color choice can have a serious impact. Studies show that color is directly linked to the purchasing decisions of most consumers — and these same consumers know that the right color choice or combination increases brand recognition.

A communication designer understands how to take these elements and utilize them to convey a specific mood. From color to font to layout to language, every design choice will make an impact on the company brand.

Advertising Campaigns

Advertising Campaign mean online video and static image campaigns, billboards, television commercials, and marketing materials like brochures, stationery, and business cards. While every designer working in advertising isn’t handling all of these types of projects, many take on work in multiple areas.

Advertising, just like branding, is a crucial part of any business. This demands a high level of creativity to create something truly unique and eye-catching, all while ensuring the entire message of the campaign isn’t lost.
Some designers chose humor, like when Schick created a series of men sporting literal ‘beastly’ beards of animals to encourage men to shave.
Or they can be weird yet practical, like when Ikea designed an ad for a new crib that also doubled as a pregnancy test.
Or they can be inspirational, like when Shanghai General Motors created a campaign raising awareness for car safety by using real accident victims to get the earnestness of the message across.

Book Cover Design

Yes, people do judge books by their covers. It’s important that a book cover design appeals to a certain audience, exemplifies a specific genre, and can communicate plot details all at the same time. Every design should reflect the book’s purpose. Dark Horse Comics, Inc. won an award for their colorful, chaotic design of Fight Club 2 (Library Edition), an homage to the dysfunctional characters featured in the book. Whereas the award-winning design for A Vicious Example featured dark, sinister, and ghostly depictions of buildings to give reference to the author’s time spent as a nocturnal security guard.

To develop outside the box thinking, practice of designing outside of computer and creating handmade designs for books, albums, and movie posters. As this requires more creative thought and energy.


While many may assume that a photojournalist would study photography, a degree in communications design would be useful as a photojournalist today. When you publish photos in major publications, you need to both understand the technical elements of visual design and the story you are conveying to your audience, which are the basis of what communication design is all about.

Mobile App Design – UI – UX design

In the age of technology, mobile web and app design continues to evolve. Mobile app is the best way companies prefer to stay connected with their customers.

This type of design work requires a lot of technical skills and an understanding of how visuals appear on various screens, paying close attention to user experience. An app must be visually appealing, but also easy to use.

Shillington Education student Theodora Lamprinaki designed a cycling app called Cymplify as part of her coursework where residents of Oxford city could combine cycling with sight-seeing.

Packaging and Label Creation

People shop with their eyes. A great designer knows this and will carefully design packages and labels to stand out, either on the shelves of a store or on an online store. You may be hired to design a label for a bottle of wine, the information tag for a new clothing line, or the packaging materials for an online retailer. When it comes to packaging and label creation, there are so many opportunities for designers.

A communication designer needs to think about the visual presence of the package or label, but they must also think about how to make it practical as well. If you were creating a design that wraps around a bottle, you’ll need to think about the space and movement of the package and how it will need to change for a wine bottle versus a soda can. If you were designing the packaging for an online retailer, you would want to think about the customer experience from the moment it arrives in the mail to when they open it to what’s inside the box.

Shillington student Majo Crespo uses color to tell a story for this new (pretend) candle brand, drawing on botanical elements to create a unique product. Majo describes it is: “A brand inspired by nature for the empowerment of women.

The Power of Communication Design

Communication design incorporates the elements of great graphic design and takes things a step further by considering the way audiences understand visuals.

When done well, audiences often aren’t even aware of all the information they were able to gather from just one visual. As a communication designer, it’s your job to fill the world with effective, beautiful work that also helps to communicate a larger message. What messages will your work convey?

Some of Common Visual Communication Strategies.
– Using data visualization to show the impact of your work
– Using shapes and lines to outline relationships, processes, and flows
– Using symbols and icons to make information more memorable
– Using visuals and data to tell stories
– Using color to indicate importance and draw attention

Some of The Common Types of Visual Communications in workplace.


Your education will include studies in:

– Visual Communication Design
– Typography
– Photography
– Layout
– Illustration
– Information Design
– Interactive Media
– Book Arts
– Web Design
– App Design
– Research and Theory
– Contemporary Design Issues
– Design Management
– Design Practicum (practical work experience)


A wide range of careers are available to you, such as:

– Design Studio
– Advertising Agency
– Architectural Office
– Magazine or Book Publisher
– App Designer / Developer
– Game Designer / Developer
– Government Media or Communications Office
– University Media or Communications Office
– Large Commercial Company
– Cultural Sector-Art Gallery, Museum, Theatre, etc.
– Film/TV/Video Production Company

Reference Links

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