Submitted By: Kirby Newman | FASTSIGNS of Alexandria |

The Power of Visual Communications: How Insight Drives Business Success

In the world of Visual Communications, which encompasses the various visual elements that enable an organization or business to communicate their brand, a specific message or even a campaign, insight can go a long way to providing knowledge for making great decisions. While the nuts and bolts of visual communications include anything from exterior lighted signs to graphic design, and vehicle graphics to digital signage, the tangible benefits of visuals impact a business tremendously. Whether you’re needing to direct prospects to your business, guide students easily around their new college campus or impress donors at your highest fundraising gala of the year, a business person can never run far from the need for visual communications.

Brian Boehm, Sr. Director of Supply Chain and Technical at FASTSIGNS International, Inc., recently visited Tokyo to gather insights and upcoming trends such as environmentally-friendly applications, a focus on design and interior decor, the use of AI in this industry, and more. So, without further ado, here is what our team and Brian Boehm have curated as the top trends.

Automation and AI ​

From hardware to software companies such as Adobe, Onyx, Topaz Labs, Epson, HP, Canon, a recurring motif for 2023 is automation. The use and growth of automation has a direct impact on the visual communications industry and its products. With so much emphasis placed on machine learning (AI) to reduce downtime, increase output, improve employee knowledge and add capacity, the automation of processes will usher in new techniques, products, finishes and more.

Sustainable Solutions

In 2023, sustainability is a high priority across all industries, including the visual communications and signage industry. Manufacturers continue to introduce environmentally friendly products, and some examples of sustainable products include PVC-free vinyl, cardboard rigid boards like Falcon Board, canvas and paper. While there is a current challenge to obtain core ingredients required to make these products due to the digital supply chain, this desire for sustainable materials–and demand–is increasing the efforts of other media manufacturers to come up with more alternatives.

New in Digital Signage

While digital signage itself is not new, there is a product out now that does have an intriguing new twist. Novisign has launched an easy-to-use and intuitive software to create, schedule, broadcast and manage digital signage campaigns easily. What’s really impressive about this product is that it uses state-of-the-art technology, powered over a wireless connection. The Wi-Charge puck is actually installed within the ceiling and can even power multiple displays within a specific radius.

Old School and Texture

A trend that marketers need to keep top-of-mind in 2023 is that one-dimensional (read – boring) custom signs will be elevated (pun intended!) by adding texture or varnish. The trend for texture and layering started popping up in home decor several years ago and has now morphed into contemporary signage. Signs and applications with multiple finishes/substrates will be “built up” to create a singular, more complete look that involves a higher level of craftsmanship.

Interior Decor-Based Products

Marketers are employing a more holistic approach to creating spaces with graphics that blend into the surrounding area as if they had been a natural part of the original design. Interior decor-based products enable visual communications experts to accomplish this. So how do we define interior decor-based products in the custom graphics category? To us, they refer to films that look like architectural finishes, frosted window films, acoustic panels that absorb sound, and materials like wood, metal and PVC that incorporate unique textures that add a visual dimension and discernible depth.

Acoustic Panels

Acoustic Panels have become a strong contender in the texture discussion for 2023. In their earlier iterations, acoustic panels were sound-absorbing, strategically positioned on walls, ceilings or hung, with a wide range of benefits that included sound reduction, improved speech intelligibility, creating productive meeting spaces and enhancing the privacy level for open floor plans. Functional, yes. Visually pleasing–not so much.

The aesthetics of acoustic panels have now moved front and center, as they are being utilized heavily for enhancing interior design and decor. These applications can be an elaborate work of art, or even be formed to create a finished 3-D piece like a chandelier or wall decor and custom dividers. 

Decorative Wall and Window Coverings

Decorative wallcoverings, such as Dreamscape, are seeing heightened popularity. The trend has moved beyond the printed component to the texture of the wall covering itself. In addition, premium window fabrics like Veilish (an adhesive-backed fabric) and Squid textile window films help elevate any space and also provide a sense of privacy.

White Inks

White and varnish inks increase the perceived quality of the piece. Varnish is used to accentuate a part of a print to draw the viewer’s attention and increase the perceived value. White and varnish is also necessary for producing texture on prints and ADA braille signage.

Earth Tones and Botanical Beauty

A botanical motif, which catapulted with a rise in living walls and green visuals several years ago, is ramping up even more as an anecdote for a stressful, anxious world to one of well-being and serenity. While in Tokyo, Brian Boehm witnessed an increased usage of botanical pieces indoors across walls, sconces, art pieces and focal points.​

Also, who could pass up a color discussion without mentioning Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year, Viva magenta, with a focus on invoking the forces of nature in a color that not only galvanizes the spirit but also aids to build our internal fortitude.

All of these visual elements help organizations and businesses communicate their brand and should be considered with their next campaign.