Design Communication

What is Design Communication

Let’s imagine that you are in another country. You are lost driving downtown in a land that does not speak your language. How will you know where to go since asking for directions will be a struggle at best. With luck, you will have a map (or GPS) handy. You look around and you do recognize familiar signs, a stop sign, traffic lights, a sign showing a hotel and now you are on your way. You have effectively used visual (design) communication to continue your journey.


This is design communication. It is the transmission of information and ideas using visual symbols and imagery instead. By controlling the color, type, movement, symbols and images, the designer creates and manages the production of visuals. This in-turn will inform, educate, persuade and perhaps entertain a specific target audience or market. In the hands of a good designer, the visual communication will have transcended mere words and pictures.



  • Typography
    • The arrangement of typefaces, sizes, line length and spacing, letter spacing and kerning all serve to either make for example, a paragraph, easier (Arial font) to read or more difficult (calligraphy).
    • Choosing the right font will increase the speed at which it will be absorbed and have the reader move to the next interaction quicker.
  • Art & Illustration
    • Pictographs – quick representation of visual data. Charts and info sheets for example.
    • Symbols – Fire, Hazards, Directional signage.
  • Graphic Design
    • Layouts and compositions of a visual design.
  • Writing and Editing
    • Promotional copy – brochure, cards etc.
    • Document design.
  • Interaction Design
    • Mobile app design.
    • Interactive media.
  • Information Architecture
    • Compiling multiple results of a data search into a web page to display logically.
    • Organizing items to list on a document in a logical pattern.
  • Data Visualization
    • Displaying data in intuitive formats such as graphs.
    • Design layouts of multiple results in graphs at once or by interacting with a button (symbol).
  • Information and Knowledge
    • Maps and infographics

The design skills (e.g. UX, UI) involved must be tailored to fit the culture(s) of the intended audience while maintaining a pleasurable design. This information is usually contained in a media kit used as a visual guide reference for the project. Design communication, when done correctly, increases information flow significantly while reducing the potential for error at the same time. Global standards of design are in place for this purpose.


Communication between the client and the designer is key. Without this, the client will not get the product they envisioned, the designer will have wasted time, effort and enthusiasm. Ultimately, the bottom line is affected. Good design is good business.