In our case, this specifically refers to designing the visible elements of a web or mobile application. Visual design combines the standard considerations of graphic design, like color, composition, and texture, with the considerations of user interface design such as context, coherence, metaphor, and visual affordance. Good visual design communicates clearly and helps the user process complexity.
The work of visual design begins by establishing the visual metaphors and style of an application. This work can be done alongside other strategic types of design such as information architecture and interaction design.
With the underlying metaphors and styles in place we complete the rest of the visual design just-in-time with development making feature-specific decisions as they come up. These helps keep our design process as agile as our development.