Visual Communication: A Powerful Tool

Images provide the world with visual summaries. In his book Ways of Seeing (Penguin Books, 1972), art critic and theorist John Berger writes, “Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak”. Our brains react differently to images than language, leaving many behavioral psychologists to believe that without pictures, words have no meaning – or at least no chance of retention. Even some of the earliest Paleolithic cave drawings, dating back as far as 40,000 years, are theorized as being ways of communicating with others.

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In today’s modern age, we may no longer be etching figures on cave walls, but we continue to use visual communication as one of our most powerful tools. Various studies have shown using images along with a set of data, increases information retention by up to 80% (it is said that on average humans only retain 10% from speaking and listening, and 20% from reading alone).

Many of our projects at Lucid incorporate visual tools as a way of reducing complex information and concepts. For us, visual communication methods such as infographics, videos, and illustrations, help bring focus to traditionally complicated topics touched upon in much of our work. Topics like politics, economics, and the environment are made more logical with the use of visual stimulation – allowing the mind to retain the message as clearly and quickly as possible. In Ways of Seeing John Berger uses seven essays to describe his ideas: four with text and image, three with images only. In the image essays, Berger manages to prove his thesis through strategic placement of complimenting and contrasting photos. For our purposes, we thought it would be interesting to visit this concept of the “visual essay”, to demonstrate how generally complex topics can be reduced to their key messages through the use of images, and tailored visual tools. Not exactly the “Berger method”, but a different way of seeing nonetheless.


Visual Understanding



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[vimeo 123192451 w=400 h=225]

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[vimeo 45121628 w=800 h=450]




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* 1. “What is going wrong in Europe, and how can we change it?” Workshop, Dutch Embassy, 2013. Live sketch by: Florian Bayer
* 2. Template Design, Markus Piktos, 2014
* 3. “Discover Böll”, 2011. Illustration by: Frank Hohne:
* 4. Methane (CH4) doesn’t let the sun leave the atmosphere as easily as carbon dioxide (CO2), 2014
* 5., 2014 
* 6.  Under the world’s most intense X-ray light at DESY. In theory, one can analyze how Nano particles form a crystalline structure. 2014
* 7. If we could see the process of Nano particles forming a crystalline structure, it would perhaps happen as shown in our video – with a focus of 1:10−9 m. 2014
* 8. In comparison, we show the (reduced and abstracted) process of a DNA formation – with a focus of 1:10−10 m. 2014
* 9. Infographic showing how Europe will soon be plugged into the shared renewable energy grid. 2011
* 10. Historical view of European economy. Illustration: Andrea Ventura, 2012
* 11. – Chinese Edition, 2014
* 12. Europe’s home is where the people initiate, cooperate, and participate among all 28 member states. Detail of Europe’s Town Houses. 2013
* 13. “Who is Rescuing Whom and Why” the Eurozone Dept Crisis: 2011
* 14. The Russian bear seems to be a rather unpleasant compared to the peaceful EU-neighbors Germany and Poland. Illustration: Ulli Keil, 2013
* 15. “Discover Böll”, 2011. Illustration by: Frank Hohne: .


We hope you enjoyed our visual essays. Visual communication is one of Lucid’s key drivers, and a topic we will visit often on this Blog. If you have any questions please send them to:, or leave a reply in the comments section. Learn more about John Berger, by reading Ways of Seeing or watching his BBC series under the same name.



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