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How brands can win in today’s Visual Economy

We surveyed 1,600 global business leaders to understand the challenges and opportunities they’re facing in an increasingly visual world. Here’s what we learned.


Eighty-five percent of global business leaders believe visuals carry more authority than other methods of communication, and 89% say that visual communications tools contribute to the business return on investment (ROI).

These findings, among many others, were found in Canva’s inaugural Visual Economy Report(opens in a new tab or window), where we surveyed 1,600 business leaders across the US, UK and Australia to understand the challenges and opportunities they’re facing in an increasingly visual world.

As a visual communications platform, democratizing design is critical to our mission – not just with consumers, but also in the workplace where visuals are dominating how we all communicate. And this isn’t just driving how and what we as professionals are producing, but it’s also impacting how organizations hire, market, and sell. Today, we’re living in the era of the visual economy.

Through The Visual Economy Report(opens in a new tab or window) we also discovered 89% of global business leaders feel communicating visually helps them articulate ideas better, and 88% agree visual communication tools have accelerated sales cycles.

And of course, information overload is a massive challenge for everyone in the workplace where time, attention, and productivity are at an all-time premium. A wall of text is the fastest way to lose anyone's attention, and our study shows 26% of leaders are struggling to get through so much text-dominant content.

Visual Communication: A strategic imperative

Amid shrinking attention spans, visual communication is quickly becoming the most impactful way to communicate. Global business leaders are showing a strong preference for using visuals, over text and audio, in any work situation. Whether it’s collaborating on creative concepts or presenting plans and ideas, visuals reign supreme. It’s why nearly all agree that visual methods increase efficiency, enhance collaboration, and are more impactful than other methods of communication.

Design literacy unlocks organizations

Every business is now in the content business, and design literacy is more critical than ever for all employees, including those in non-design roles. Sixty-one percent of global business leaders say design acumen is now table stakes. For them, everyone should be able to make visually compelling presentations, design-oriented proposals, and create new graphics from scratch with ease. This part of the work experience is no longer a nice to have; it’s increasingly a must-have. This is why 63% of global business leaders are providing visual design training to those in non-design roles.

This surge in design literacy has seen hundreds and thousands of individuals listing Canva as a skill on their LinkedIn profiles. The last 12 months have seen a 104% increase in people listing Canva as a skill on their profiles*, with companies including LEGO, TikTok, and Amazon calling out design as a required talent across non-design roles.

Brand consistency builds trust

In today’s environment, you can’t have trust without credibility, and you can’t have credibility without consistency. Brand consistency has become a particular challenge as companies try to meet the insatiable demand for visual content. The explosion of new design-forward platforms has created an ever-hungry beast that brands need to continuously feed. But even with this matter in the foreground, more than half surveyed are struggling to make their content output aesthetically pleasing (53%) or consistent (56%).

With marketers and creatives tasked with creating huge volumes of content, visual communication tools have to enable efficiency and scale while simultaneously safeguarding brand identity. In fact, when evaluating visual communication platforms, 92% are prioritizing the ability to quickly create visual content as well as the ability to keep content on brand.

In a world where companies have to differentiate or face their eventual demise, it’s never been more important to communicate your brand's mission, goals, and purpose in a visually compelling way. Today, we’re in the midst of a creative and design revolution that’s fueling a visual economy – and this is only the beginning.

To learn more about how you can get ahead in an increasingly visual world, dive into The Visual Economy Report.(opens in a new tab or window)

*LinkedIn Talent Insights

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