Graphical elements are usually graphics that are functional, utilitarian, or supportive in nature. That is not to say they are unimportant. They are the backup singers, the hidden heroes, of the design world and should be given the credit (attention) they deserve.
As the hidden heroes of graphic design, icons, icon sets, graphs, charts, decorative touches, and data visualizations bring clarity and interest to whatever environment they’re placed, whether for web or print.
Header text is fine, but how much time can be saved by distinguishing text blocks of similar subject matter with carefully crafted or selected icons? How much clearer is data presented in a chart or graph? How much easier is it to communicate a potentially complex process with a detailed illustration or infographic?
If your content is running on or you’re detecting a lag in user/viewer interest, or if you’re having a difficult time simplifying your product, process, or concept to a client, maybe it’s time to consider value-added graphics. Maybe it’s time to consider Company Man Design.
Also, see Infographic Design.