Originally posted on Edelman Digital
"Visual storytelling is nothing new. We only need to look to the earliest signs of humanity for proof—simple paintings on the walls of caves tell the story that people are a visual tribe. Today, it seems, communications must be visual in order to be compelling, as well as to compete with the massive amount of information available to us at any given moment (even Google acknowledged this in 2001 by introducing image search). Whether it’s a web video, infographic, or illustration, visual assets can communicate a wealth of information rapidly, and in ways that our brains process differently than other, more traditional mediums.
The secret to producing these compelling, yet bite-sized morsels of information is having “visual literacy,” or being able to think in pictures. Don’t confuse this with being an artist or designer. Anyone can think visually—or learn to look at the world through this type of lens—and then work with a visual communicator (a designer or producer) to craft a digestible visual deliverable, which earns our time, attention and encourages us to take action.
As someone who thinks visually, I want to share five tips that I believe will work for anyone who is looking to communicate and influence through a medium that transcends the written word:
1. Empathize: See the world as a child
Most of us drew pictures before we began writing. But now that words dominate our communications, it’s possible we have to do some neurological re-wiring to take our brains back to that point where simple, elegant pictures help us tell stories. I recommend three steps: 1) Observe everything, especially the minute details. 2) Ask questions; especially the ones that make you feel unenlightened. 3) Resurrect your sense of exploration; in other words, re-ignite the curious portion of your brain. Children have a way of noticing the little things we take for granted. They are immensely curious and never lack for questions. Putting yourself in a more “child-like” mindset will set the stage for all kinds of thinking, including visual...."