The Power of Visual Content in Creating a Future: Why Now?


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 24, 2023

3 min read


The Power of Visual Content in Creating a Future: Why Now?

Subscribe to Sequoia's newsletter. This simple call to action is a reminder to always keep an eye on the future. As we step into meetings and brainstorming sessions, it's important to have a positive outlook on what our companies could become. What type of future are we creating? And more importantly, what type of future do we want to live in?

To answer these questions, we need to ask ourselves: "Why now?" What has changed in the market or ecosystem to uniquely enable the opportunities we have today? This reflection is crucial because the success of many technology giants can be traced back to a key enabler. It could be a technology advancement, a social or cultural shift in consumer behavior, or oftentimes, a combination of both.

Understanding the power of visuals is one such enabler. Our brains are hardwired to process visual content. In fact, visuals communicate information 60,000 times faster than text. This is because text-based communications, such as written language, are relatively new in human history. Visual content, on the other hand, has been a part of our lives since the beginning.

Studies have shown that combining text with graphics significantly improves information retention and understanding. For example, a study found that accompanying text-based instructions with a graphic improved students' performance on a test by 89%. The combination of words and visuals helped students go from less than 40% correct answers to around 65%.

Color also plays a significant role in memory. When study participants were presented with color images compared to black-and-white images, their memory recognition improved. This suggests that color graphics offer a similar boost in memory over text, which is generally presented in black and white.

Understanding these cognitive processes is especially important when reaching Generation Z, the world's most populous generation. They have a different reading behavior compared to previous generations. They are master skimmers, spending just 4.4 seconds on every 100 words of text. However, our brains are uniquely wired to process visual data. Human eyes can register a staggering 36,000 visual messages per hour.

Considering that the average reader reads about 250 words per minute, totaling 15,000 words per hour, it becomes clear that visuals communicate much more information, much faster. One image contains so much more information than one word. Visual content feels natural and intuitive to us because it aligns with our brain's capabilities.

So, how can we leverage the power of visual content to create a future we desire? Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace the visual-first approach: When crafting your marketing materials, presentations, or any form of communication, prioritize visuals. Use images, infographics, and videos to convey your message. Remember that visuals can communicate information faster and more effectively than text alone.
  • 2. Incorporate color strategically: Utilize color psychology to enhance memory and evoke emotions. Choose colors that align with your brand and message. Experiment with different color combinations to create visual impact and make your content memorable.
  • 3. Understand your audience: Take the time to understand how your target audience consumes information. Are they skimmers like Generation Z? Do they prefer visual content over text? Tailor your communication strategies to meet their preferences. This will ensure that your message resonates with your audience and drives the desired impact.

In conclusion, the power of visual content in creating a future cannot be underestimated. By understanding our brain's natural inclination towards visuals and incorporating them strategically, we can communicate information more effectively and leave a lasting impression. So, let's embrace the visual revolution and shape the future we desire.

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