Words vs. Visuals


Branding Advice

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Maybe you’re at the point in your business when you know you need to widen the scope of your customer reach in order to grow. How do you know what to tackle first? When you start looking at the elements of your business’s reputation, what really matters?

Is it the words you’re saying or the visuals you’re showing?

There are those design studios who approach your brand like a piece of art. They are the ones trying to convince you that all you need to do is create a logo, or visual system to enhance your brand and engage your customers. On the other hand, there are those in the world of marketing who are saying words are all that matter. Both do have excellent points that can’t be ignored. Let’s check out what those in the “words are what matter” camp have to say.

Here are the main reasons words matter when connecting to your audience:

  1. To explain what you offer and why it matters.

  2. To show that you can solve the problem.

  3. To show them that you will take them from start to finish.

  4. To show positive results they will have from working with you.

  5. To clearly communicate a now vs. then scenario.

  6. To communicate trust to your audience.

Ultimately, you need to be able to enter into your customers story and tell them how you can be of help–and you need the right words to do that.

It is honestly so exciting to work with people to understand how to use a strategy that empowers you to use words that matter.

But, back to whether words or visuals matter…

The ones saying “words are all that matter” and that “people are throwing away their hard-earned dollars at design firms that know nothing about marketing and the value of communicating clearly with the right words”; There is an implication that designers are out to flatter with pretty pictures and care little of the results. That as long as you’re using the right “selling” words—your customers will notice and connect—and ultimately purchase what you’re selling.

But, what if there’s a gap in that thinking?

Let’s imagine you’re saying all the right and true things, but…

  • Your visuals are dated and tired?

  • You have no visuals or a logo to work with?

  • How you look doesn’t match what you’re trying to say?

  • You sound like an expert, but, your website/logo/marketing looks like you’re an amateur?

You’re not going to win the work you need if your brand identity looks like a second grader, or your best friend set it up for you.

If you want to be taken seriously - the reality is the visual identity for your business needs to communicate using as much clarity, value and professionalism as the words you use. Otherwise you just won’t be believable or trustworthy to your potential customer.

The flip side is that you can look absolutely stunning, but have no substance in what you are trying to say, or lack a strategy that actually connects with your customers in the way that they will understand. This also creates a trust problem for potential customers as well.

Let’s take another look at the list we created for what matters when communicating your brand through your words and then place it next to what matters when it comes to your brand visuals:


You’ll notice that what we need to TELL clearly with our words are the same elements we need to SHOW in our visuals.

Since a brand is your businesses reputation, we need to be concerned about every aspect of our communication. It doesn’t matter if we are SHOWING or TELLING - both need to align in order to communicate authentically to build trust.

The reality of branding is: words and visuals matter to your customer. Placing emphasis on one while ignoring the other limits your reach and ends up confusing your audience. In a sea of competitors, customers will pass up working with you in order to find someone else who SHOWS and TELLS them that working with you will be a solid return on their investment.

You need to be able to communicate trust to your audience.
— Talia Creative