Visualize it

We all know the idiom, a picture is worth a thousand words. Fact is: Mankind has expressed itself through symbols and illustrations for more than 35,000 years. That’s 31,000 years longer than human communication via the written word which has only been around for 4000 years.

In today’s digital arena with its constant overflow of information, our ability as communicators is being increasingly challenged to be extremely precise in order to make our messages easily decodable for a critical yet easily distracted audience. It’s not just enough to spread your message but it’s of the essence to find a way to make a fast, accurate and lasting impression on the people you want to reach. And that’s where custom illustrations come in as game changer.

As visual designers it’s not solely our natural affinity for visual expressions that make us push our clients to consider illustrations for their communications. In a 2014 study run by MIT, neuroscientists found that the brain can not only see but identify images in as little as 13 milliseconds. That’s impressively faster than the average word recognition which takes about 250ms per word, or the average reading speed of 250 words per minute.

One reason why images are that effective is the fact that the brain processes them at once, unlike text which it processes in a linear fashion. This means it takes much longer to obtain information from text than from a well crafted illustration. Then there’s the level of abstraction text contains. Viewers tend to perceive an illustration much closer to reality than a concept presented or explained in written form. Fun fact: The brain actually starts seeing words as pictures after learning them. That still doesn’t make it process them as fast as an image though. Take that.

So, next time you consider spelling out your message instead of depicting it, make sure to think again. Missing an opportunity to get your message across as fast as possible can not only be frustrating, but also costly. Not only does the use of illustrations accelerate the speed of information processing, but it also helps increase our clients’ visibility and brand recognition if the style is aligned with their overall visual identity.

Below you can check out some examples of illustration tasks we have previously solved for clients such as the United Nations and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ready to add your very own illustration style to your visual identity? Get in touch!