Fashion advertising has always been more visual than verbal, which may play into its favor in the current, highly visCOMual marketing environment. We are seeing a trend in this mega-media environment for marketers to be involved in a heightened sense and use of visual literacy, visual thinking, visual perception and visual communications.
It has been our practice in our teaching and in our marketing and brand consulting to stimulate thinking by refashioning some of the terminology. It is our way of encouraging our own team and other participants to stop, think and apply the concept being presented through a new and different term such as visCOMual.
As in this case with visCOMual, we have noticed the need for more arresting visual communications in our digital, instant messaging world. To emphasize the importance of applying this to our clients’ branding messages, we created our own word for these innovative communications. Stop, think and recognize what is going on around you – what are you noticing about the visual communications you are encountering in your life? Even though the visualization of fashion has long left still-form, “proper” posing, as in the Levi’s ads of the 1950’s (seen here), to keep up with our own human evolution, there is certainly a need for the creation of effective matrices for this newly defined visCOMual process.
The visual literacy process can present fashion modeling with language as unique as the product design. There are advertising/brand managers and catwalk directors who are working on nonverbal languages of their own. Their intent is to grab attention with this new imaging language and visual meaning newly applied to their brands. They may now create a mind’s eye matrix for visCOMual that correlates visually with elements that are: emotional, rational, imaging, associative, symbolic and/or cultural, as in the Levi’s ad of today. The goals are to engage the customer’s seeing eye, the cultural eye that perceives the inner-mind or “my-style” eye, and/or creates a video-eye that records in the must-have, shopping mind.
The positioning of visual communications for designers, brands and retailers is to encourage additional purposes for our ever growing and changing technologies. We are all working to create new areas of communication that can provide: product information—knowledge, self-design aspiration, increased meanings, and unique expression in our new visCOMual languages…
What strikes your mind’s eye?
Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.