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Canva’s Visual Economy Report 2024

June 20, 2024

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The Visual Economy Report 2024 by Canva explores the impact of visual communication across the entire workplace, including the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to transform sales. It also illuminates the nuanced convergence of AI and visual communication, which has opened up endless possibilities for professionals to create high-impact content at scale.

Visual communication has become a major force in global marketing that simplifies complex ideas and engages audiences more than ever before. It goes beyond clarity, uplifting productivity and creativity, improving brand awareness, and enhancing employee culture, communication, and experiences. 

The report aims to help organizations understand and navigate this new visual world of e-commerce.

How the Canva team conducted their research

  1. Canva had Morning Consult survey 3,707 global business leaders to understand how they are using visual communication tools and practices in the workplace.
  2. The people surveyed hold high-level positions in departments such as Marketing/Communications, Creative, HR/People, Sales, and Ops/Admin.
  3. The survey sample included business leaders from all around the globe, including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  4. Respondents include Heads of (VP, C-level) or Directors in Marketing, Sales, People/HR, and Admin/Ops, working at companies with 500+ employees globally.
  • 10% – Admin and Ops
  • 26% – HR and People
  • 27% – Marketing, PR, Comms, Design
  • 37% – Sales

A Visual-First Approach To Unlock E-Commerce Potential

Teams can use visual communication tools to express their ideas more effectively. This helps to increase engagement and understanding from their audiences.

Most business leaders surveyed believe that visual communication:

  • 93% – Enhances ideas articulation
  • 91% – Increases efficiency
  • 77% – Increases business performance

Design skills are now essential in the workplace, regardless of job role. 92% of leaders surveyed expect employees in non-design roles to have design skills and knowledge.

Employees Require Access To The Appropriate Tools

Always aim to provide employees with the right tools to do their job well. This not only boosts productivity but also affects their job satisfaction. High productivity, job satisfaction, and morale are connected. Issues like burnout and lethargy produce a disengaged workforce and gravely lower productivity. Today’s workforce desires purpose-driven work, which ultimately benefits the business just as much as it does the employees.

For retailers with a hybrid or flexible working model, having advanced equipment and tools is crucial for productivity and high performance. If companies don’t provide the right tools, employees may not succeed. It’s important to ensure that all resources are in good working order and easily accessible. Small frustrations can lead to disengagement and low morale when added together.

When evaluating visual communication solutions, business leaders prioritize:

  • 93% – More streamlined workflows
  • 93% – Synchronous collaboration
  • 92% – Unified functionality

The way we work is being transformed by evolving AI tools

AI-powered automation doesn’t just impact one industry — it has spread through our lives so quickly that its takeover has been almost unnoticeable. And now machine learning is everywhere, changing how organizations work and grow by helping them create content more efficiently. E-commerce leaders are quickly adopting AI-powered tools because they promise to increase productivity and creativity. 

In fact, 82% of leaders have utilized AI-powered tools to create visual content in the last twelve months. The increase is due to tighter budgets and a growing customer demand for more content.

‍Over 80% of surveyed leaders believe that AI tools help streamline tasks and save time while igniting creativity and productivity like never before. In particular, visual communication has seen a tremendous improvement. The appeal of AI lies in its ability to automate boring tasks and save employees time so they can focus more on creative thinking.

The rise of the visual economy from Canva’s Visual Economy Report 2024

Visual communication is using pictures, graphics, and other visuals to share information, ideas, and messages in a way that is interesting and easy to understand.

Visual economy, on the other hand, implies the growing importance and value of using visual communication to increase engagement, growth, and success within an organization. Ergo, when it comes to engaging customers, using images and videos is much more effective than using a chatbot, text, or phone call. In fact, 65% of people are visual learners

Over the past year, using images and other visual tools has been crucial for business leaders to clearly communicate important points that may have been hard to explain otherwise.

89% of digital marketing leaders believe that visual communication has helped them express crucial points. It is not a surprising number, considering Canva reports that using visual communication solutions has helped most business leaders in impactful ways:

  • 75% achieved more with fewer people/resources
  • 77% saw increased performance

Today’s customers need shortcuts. And don’t we all? Nobody has more than 24 hours in a day. Coincidentally, visual content is processed 60,000 times faster than text, so it’s a great way to deliver information. 

Also, good imagery and engaging branding can make a company seem more friendly and personal. They give customers a way to connect with the company, which helps build better relationships.

According to Canva’s recent survey, 91% of leaders agree that using optical communication tools has helped remote and hybrid team members stay connected. As teams are now spread across the globe, it is crucial to take a visual-first approach to maintain engagement. By providing your team with the right tools and design knowledge, they can create visual documents, presentations, whiteboards, and more that effectively communicate information.

When you use visual communication effectively, it doesn’t just get attention. It also helps people work better, come up with more ideas, become more aware of your brand, and make it easier to communicate and work together. This can help your business work better and more efficiently.

Adopting a visual-first approach brings a host of business benefits, such as enhanced efficiency, collaboration, and return on investment (ROI).

  • 91% – Improved competence
  • 90% – Enhanced teamwork
  • 90% – Positive return on investment

The Growth Of Design Literacy

Design literacy, the ability to create engaging presentations, compelling social media posts, and visually impressive documents, has become a universal requirement in many roles. In fact, 92% of leaders expect employees in non-design roles to have design skills and knowledge. Proficiency in visual communication has become an expected standard in today’s professional landscape. 

In today’s world, where information fatigue can be overwhelming and turn people away from brands, creating visually appealing content is essential for professionals to share their ideas. Business leaders have taken notice, so 63% of surveyed stakeholders provided visual design training to non-design employees. This education has paid off, and over 90% of their loyal workers now understand what’s expected of them from a design perspective and know where to get design help.

Remember, creativity thrives in the right environment. Visual communication creativity is essential in the workplace because it encourages engagement, collaboration, and innovation.

So, what’s holding your employees back from putting out more creative ideas?

69% of the processes are inflexible

66% of the communication is based on text

65% indicate that teams are isolated and have poor cross-functional collaboration

64% of the deadlines are unrealistic

64% of diverse perspectives are being ignored

64% claim that leadership does not value creativity

Employees need better, more engaging tools. The traditional approach of applying one solution to all no longer suffices. Today, we need platforms that help teams create a lot of content quickly. But important tasks often find themselves spread out across different technologies that don’t always work together smoothly. 

As workplaces try to tackle upcoming digital challenges head-on, employees will keep demanding better platforms to facilitate their productivity. They want tools that are easy to use, fuse seamlessly with their existing gizmos, and promote teamwork. Tools that inspire creativity are also likely to make employees more engaged, increase productivity, and make the business run better.

Key Takeaways

We all want technology to make our team’s work easier, not harder. Business leaders recognize the value of investing in a better employee experience across their day-to-day tech stack. So, 73% of entrepreneurs are spending more on visual communication tools compared to last year. 

In conclusion, Canva’s Visual Economy Report 2024 underscores the transformative power of visual communication in the modern workplace, raising the bar for what employees can expect from their workplace technology. As the visual economy continues to grow, the report warns of an urgent need for businesses to adapt and equip their teams with the best means of remaining relevant and thriving in a rapidly changing world.