How to Use Visual Language to Communicate your Brand Message

Ever wondered how to communicate a message with visuals? In the last episode of Design Detective we had a look at the mystery of what your brand should be communicating by laying down brand foundations.

In this episode we will look at how to translate your message into visuals.

The problem is that you have a message but  don't know how to communicate it visually.

If this sounds like you, you may be seeing one or more of these mysteries:

  • You chose your brand colours based on your favourite colours or a nice palette that appealed to you
  • You chose fonts you fell in love with and for no other reason
  • Your visual identity is based of images you pulled off Pinterest and put into a mood board
  • You are constantly changing your brand style based on what you are drawn to aesthetically right now

The problem is that your branding is based on aesthetic taste rather then what you are communicating. You need to start with the communication and then turn that into visuals.

The evidence, that your brand aesthetic isn't communicating the right message:

  • Your identity isn’t distinct and memorable. It easy blends in
  • Your brand style changes regularly
  • Your branding is all about you and your personal taste.

The tools we have to solve this case:

  • Colour
  • Line and Shape
  • Imagery
  • Fonts

Using Colour to Communicate

Colour can communicate feeling and emotions and also inspire action. So when choosing colours for your brand, it’s not about choosing a nice palette or your favourite colours, but the colours that communicate the right message and feeling.

For example:


Green is a balancing colour. Green evokes feelings of health, harmony, restoration, rest, peace, crispness, nature, money, freshness, renewal, newness, environment, tranquility and balance.

Deep darker greens have feeling of wealth, money, growth and lushness. Light bright greens feel fresh, crisp, lively and healthy. And low saturation greens like olive feel calm, balanced and restful.

Your overall palette will also communicate something. A bright bold palette, shows a fun playful, energetic brand, and a soft pastel palette would show a feminine delicate calm brand.

Colour also inspires action. As we know from traffic lights green inspires you to go and take action. It’s a a great colour for buttons, as it says ‘click me’. Green is also balancing and can inspire renewal and regeneration, making it a good colour to inspire personal transformation and change.

How Line and Shape Communicates a Message

Line and shapes can create a sense of movement, energy and feel.

Choices about thickness, roundness, direction, curve and closeness can all affect the feeling a line or shape gives.

For example:

Flowing organic shapes and lines can feel calming and slow when they are large and gentle.On the other hand lots of tight circles, spirals, or tight waves can feel more energetic and fast.

Thin delicate lines feel more elegant, gentle and refined. Whereas thick lines feel more bold, fun and loud.

What about shapes?

Rounded and organic shapes feel playful, creative, soft, feminine and organic

Straight geometric shapes feel logical, structured, reliable, organised and traditional

How Images Communicate a Message in your Graphics

With your image choices you can use Things like indication, likeness, analogy, metaphor, and symbolism. You can use visuals to communicate a message without words or beyond the words.

So some examples:

We can use iconic images, which are images that literally represent the thing we are communicating. Like a coffee bean for a coffee shop or a laptop to show work.

Then there are symbols, things like a heart to represent love, Or a tick to show yes.

And then there is indexical. This is an image that gives a clue to the meaning.

Like a fire flame to show hot, or the moon to show night time, or a turtle to show slow.

Then of course the style of your images also makes a difference in the communication.

Clean flat vector images will look professional or minimalist.

Sketching hand drawn images will look more natural, creative and handmade.

Watercolour images will look soft, feminine, calm and gentle.

How Fonts Position Your Brand

Your fonts help with positioning. They say something about where your brand is in the marketplace.

More traditional fonts, look professional and serious.

Slightly more modern serifs and clean san-serifs can look high end and luxury and high quality.

Cute rounded fonts look playful, friendly and approachable.

Now this only just scratches the surface, but I hope you can now start to see how all these things can be used to help communicate the message of your brand.

Case in summary: You can use differnt styles of line, shape, colour, imagery and fonts to communicate your brand message.

let's chat

I'd love to hear from you

Come join me on Instagram to chat more about this! You can comment on a post or send me a DM and let me know your thoughts or ask a question.