A Conversation with Visage Cofounder Jake Burkett


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Visage Cofounder Jake Burkett talks all things Visage: why Column Five’s clients inspired the software application, the challenges faced along the way and how Visage will become a part of the visual communication landscape.

What inspired you to create Visage?

Although we had the idea to create Visage first, the major validation came from Column Five’s clients. We often heard them lament that they couldn’t afford the agency’s fees or that their art departments were too swamped to update the reports and dashboards we created for them on a consistent basis. This was a problem our agency couldn’t solve but a software application could.

What did you learn during the creation process?

So many things … but predominantly that the complexity of creating a scalable and secure application that dynamically draws beautiful and accurate visualizations seemed infinitely easier than it actually turned out to be. Another cool lesson was hearing our clients ask us if Visage could be used to solve problems we never thought about ourselves. That has been particularly enlightening and satisfying.

Why is visual communication important to the enterprise?

Two big reasons: first, brand compliance. Everyone we’ve talked to understands how frustrating it is to build a brand you’re proud of only to see someone in the organization create something so far off the mark, featuring a flying unicorn (aka, random clip art). Visage helps brand teams ensure this doesn’t happen. Second, on-brand professional quality design communicates the message that what you’re seeing is valuable, important and worthy of consideration (both internally and externally). There is so much utility in perception, and we’re really hoping Visage can continue to deliver on that front.

How do you see the visual communication landscape shifting in the next few years?

We are seeing a ton of momentum in the inbound and content marketing space. The hottest types of enterprise software on the planet right now enable the planning, scheduling, management, distribution and tracking of visual content. There really are no tools that address creation. You’re currently looking at agencies, marketplaces or internal talent for all things content creation. We see this as a major area of growth over the next few years.

What role will Visage play/what are exciting potential applications?

There are currently four major Visage use-cases we’ve identified: publishing, internal communications, client reporting and content marketing. Although we really think content marketing is the most exciting, client reporting has been most prevalent. When an organization sends a beautiful client-branded document that reports the results of their work, it results in higher retention and more abundant upselling opportunities. That’s been really fun to see.

What has been the most exciting thing about creating Visage?

The response we’ve gotten after we finally publicly launched at SXSW in Austin. I don’t think any of us anticipated the awards received, competitions won or the overwhelming volume of inquiries. It’s been the most pleasant of surprises.

Want to learn more about Visage? Contact us, and we’ll be in touch. 

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