Poor writing skills create poor first impressions. When exposed to it, many readers will have an immediate negative reaction. A spelling or grammatical error on a business’ web page may cause a potential customer to doubt the credibility of the website and the organization. In fact, research quoted by the BBC reports that spelling mistakes cost online businesses “millions” in lost sales.
Studies have concluded that visual content marketing is more successful than any other form of communication, including written. Pictures and graphics enhance or affect emotions and attitudes, and in doing so encourage a more profound and accurate understanding. That said, how you incorporate graphics and text greatly affects how you and your business are perceived by consumers.
This article will educate readers about the different elements of written and visual content, and explain the psychological interpretation of text, shapes, and colors. Businesses and brands can use this information to deliver a more effective and appealing message to their audience.
If information is not easily digestible, it can get lost or ignored.
Great writing skills are an important part of effective communication. Refining your writing skills will allow you to communicate your message with clarity and ease. Moreover, communicating through writing enables you to reach a much larger audience than through face-to-face or telephone conversations.
For people to respond to your message, it must evoke emotion. Make the argument, for whatever you are trying to sell, convincing by making it enjoyable. To achieve this, do not be too straightforward. A direct approach may cause your audience to turn away or against you.
The best way to influence people is to subtly drop hints without ever revealing your true intentions. Keep people motivated by aligning their personal interests with those of the message you are trying to convey. Taking this approach can cause your target to think he/she is acting on his/her own initiative.
Authors convey a lot about their personality through their literary voice. A writer’s choice of words, language use, and punctuation are all factors that express their voice.
Just as you might speak to people (like friends and family) in different ways yet remain yourself, the tone and style of your writing can also vary with the situation, but your voice will remain the same.
In writing there are three voices:
- active voice: You ate six donuts.
- passive voice: Six donuts were eaten by you
- passive-aggressive voice: You ate six donuts and I didn’t have any. Don’t worry. It’s okay. I can see donuts are very important to you.
When writing, having a strong voice helps you “make every word count.” It establishes consistency across your writing, and most importantly it helps you grab and hold the attention of your readers.
“Tone” is the way an author expresses their attitude on a topic. This is accomplished through the use of syntax (grammar; how you put words and phrases together), point of view, diction (choice and use of words and phrases), and level of formality in the writing.
The tone in writing is not really any different than the tone of your voice when speaking. It’s not “what” you say, but “how” you say it. It is the same with writing. Every adjective and adverb you use, your sentence structure, as well as the imagery you choose, will be reflected in your tone.
Font preferences vary according to age, and culture and even personality. In fact, studies of serif and sans serif fonts suggest that fonts arouse different reactions in the reader.
Jagged, angular typefaces may appear as aggressive or dynamic; on the other hand, soft, rounded letters give a youthful appeal. Curved typefaces and cursive scripts tend to appeal more to women, while strong, bold lettering has a more masculine edge.
A study presented in Scientific American suggests that readers are better able to scan the text when it is in a serif font. The study also associated better comprehension with serif fonts.
Visual content marketing is more successful than any other form of communication, including written.
You must ensure that you account not only for what the consumer’s left brain needs, but also their emotive perceptions. Attitudes, behaviors, and socio-political influences have to be considered so that the audience can be guided to take specific action.
The obvious elements of influence are color, font and images. On the other hand, shapes are also an influencing facet of influencing buyers and sellers.
Color perception is subjective, and certain colors have a very universal significance. In a study titled “Impact of color on marketing,” researchers found that up to 90% of impulse decisions made about products were based on color alone.
There is a reason why people prefer certain colors over others. We feel color. How or what we feel about it varies from person to person. This preference says volumes about our personalities, because each color has an association with a reaction our brain has when we internalize it. Given that color plays an important role in forming attitude, it is important that businesses and brands understand the important contribution that color plays in marketing.
When it comes to picking the right color for images and infographics, research has found that predicting consumer reaction to color appropriateness is far more important than the individual color itself.
While certain colors do broadly align with specific traits (e.g., brown with ruggedness, purple with sophistication, and red with excitement), nearly every academic study on colors will tell you that it’s far more important for colors to support the personality you want to portray, rather than trying to align with stereotypical color associations.
Just like colors and fonts, shapes are important design tools that can symbolize ideas, express moods. Our subconscious minds respond in different ways to different shapes. Straight lines, circles, curves, and jagged edges all imply different meanings.
Because circles have no beginning or end, they are connected to the idea of cycles, eternity, and timelessness. To some people they feel complete and unified.
Circles tend to project a positive emotional message. Using a circle can suggest community, friendship, love, relationships, and unity.
Where rectangles and squares have a masculine feel, curves are often viewed as feminine in nature.
Rectangles and Squares
Rectangles and squares are the most common, familiar shapes we encounter.
Straight lines and precise shapes – like a square – imply balance and stability, as well as impart strength, professionalism, and efficiency, while also feeling traditional, trustworthy, and authoritative.
With their smooth, straight lines and perfect right angles, rectangles and squares lend a sense of formality. For many, there is something about four points just feels solid and reliable. Generally speaking, people trust the shape because it feels dependable and safe.
Because they have a peak, triangles can symbolize greatness or superiority. It is widely regarded as a visual representation of “the pinnacle of success.”
When they’re upright, triangles have a good association with power, science, religion, and law. These tend to be viewed as masculine attributes.
Triangles also create movement and lead our eye in a certain way. Because of the way triangles are shaped, our eyes naturally follow them to the tip. This can be especially helpful if you are looking for a good directional cue to direct your audience’s eye toward something.
Even the direction of a line can impact the audience’s perception. Subconsciously our minds associate vertical lines with masculinity, strength and aggression, while horizontal lines suggest community, tranquility and calm.
Angled lines represent a feeling of energy and dynamic movement, and curved lines have a more feminine reaction suggesting happiness, generosity, and sense of rhythm.
Communication is not effective if it’s not retained by your audience. In today’s fast-paced world, if information is not easily digestible, it can get lost or ignored. Integrating visual content can boost how much your audience absorbs and remembers. When people read information that is paired with relevant images, three days later they remember 65% of what they were exposed to.
Once you have determined the message you need to convey, you will now be able to look at how to partner this with not only shapes, but also colours and typefaces as well. Use these elements in partnership with well-written text to convey an effective message, and give yourself an advantage over your competition.