The Visual Communication Guy is the brainchild of Dr. Curtis Newbold, envisioned as an all-in-one communication resource hub. Started in 2013 as a simple blog, the site has since emerged into one of the internet’s premier communication portals for students, educators, business owners, and homebodies alike. If you want to improve your communication, you’ve come to the right place!
Meet The Visual Communication Guy
Curtis Newbold is an all-around communication nerd, infographic junkie, travel aficionado, and father of four. As an Associate Professor of Communication (Westminster College, Salt Lake City), Curtis oversees the super cool Master of Strategic Communication (MSC) program where he has traveled with students around the globe to places like Peru, South Africa, and Cambodia, producing film campaigns, marketing projects, and websites for non-profit organizations like the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, Sustainable Cambodia, and Peruvian Hearts.
Curtis has taught dozens of communication-related courses on topics as broad as visual communication, integrated marketing, technical writing, public speaking, infographics in popular media, website development, wayfinding design, branding, proposal writing, portfolio development, business communication, advanced editing, emergent media, and more.
Curtis concurrently works as a communications and marketing consultant, teaches corporate leadership training workshops, serves as a course auditor for the College Board, and is the author of multiple peer-reviewed publications on information design, self-directed learning, and competency-based education.
What is Visual Communication?
In a nutshell, visual communication is the stuff (neon lights, parking signs, cereal boxes, bumper stickers, resumes, olive oil labels) around us that persuade us to buy or to move or to act because of how our brain reacts to what our eyes see. Our reactions to visual communications can be visceral, emotionally charged, culturally-influenced, logically concluded, or affected simply by personal taste. After all, I’ll be the first to admit that I choose my shampoo based on how the bottle looks (and my wife just rolls her eyes at me!).
But good visual communication isn’t just about duping people into emptying their pockets on commodities like shampoo (at least, not entirely—that’s for the marketing wizards). Good visual communication, simply put, is good for people. It makes us all feel better about our products, our choices, our lifestyles. Good visual communication is good for safety (think easy-to-read road signs), multicultural communication (like when you’re in Paris, and you look for the restroom signs, but don’t speak a lick of French), and learning (like completing instructions or viewing a diagram in your organic chemistry class.) Good visual communication also sends a message of professionalism and commitment to the people we are communicating to—just as much as grooming and cleanliness communicate attitudes and interest in others. Visual communication affects our moods, our expectations, and our choices. Think about the ease (or pain) of navigating an airport or museum. The placement of signs within an architectural space is an important form of visual communication called “Wayfinding.” Good signage makes us feel comfortable and we, even tacitly and unconsciously, appreciate it. And so it goes for all good visual communication.
Why create a website about visual communication?
Because visual communication is cool. It’s also very important, but a widely forgotten literacy skill taught in schools. I have come to realize that while there are plenty of good resources out there for aspiring and professional graphic artists to improve design, there isn’t a great central location for everyday visual communicators, like you and me. I don’t consider myself a professional graphic designer, but I communicate visually everyday with the stuff I produce (anything from course syllabi to instructions). For professionals and regular Joes alike, I hope this site can bring a community together to boost our visual literacy.
When we consciously think about how we communicate visually, we realize the impact on the people we are communicating to. Some of the impact is visceral and fleeting. Much of the impact, though, affects how people literally act and feel. If our visual communication is poor, think about what that makes people do and how that makes people feel! I want people to make good choices, ones they feel confident in, and I want people to feel good when being communicated to. Don’t we all?