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Misinterpreting the subtlety of good graphic design choices can heavily impact the success of any business or marketing campaign. In an age where visuals rule—from the stylization of text to complex graphical landscapes—undermining the importance of graphic design is a missed opportunity for connection.
The beauty of marketing graphic design is the ability to make a departure from the company’s standard visual elements. Time-sensitive stories can be told, sales promoted, and information highlighted all with visual elements. Aside from temporary design changes, graphic design is the backbone of the visual representation of your brand. Color schemes, visual styles, and typography combine to create your brand in the eyes of the consumer.
The importance of graphic design has been growing by 2.5% each year since 2015 (market size), which signifies just how much emphasis you should place on your own graphic design efforts.
Communication Through Graphic Design
Graphic design is a method of communication, first and foremost. It communicates the brand, power, connection, and values. Using a mix of graphical elements that align with your target audience’s own values, you can expect an increase in profits and brand loyalty.
The flipside to this is if you focus too heavily on profitable outcomes instead of connection. This tactic might work in some cases, but overall, it’s a strategy that will break your business. Once you lose faithful customers and brand ambassadors, it’s much more difficult to gain them back or find replacements.
Marketing graphic design should always reflect your brand, even when there’s an aesthetic departure from your standard visual identity. Customers should be able to look at something—a business card, sales promotion, email newsletter, banner ad—and recognize your brand.
If you’re aiming to change things up, some advice would be to keep at least one visual element the same. That could be keeping the color scheme the same or photographic style or graphic style but changing everything else. Customers need to be able to recognize you through the change in aesthetics.
Every business has a position of power. Some are heavy, like Apple or Macy’s, others are light, like Magic Leap or Warby Parker. Find your position of power and use it in your brand’s graphic design decisions.
Of course, you don’t want to imply that your company is stagnant and won’t grow. But you should be comfortable in your position in the industry and run with it. Find the design elements that represent your business’ strengths while aligning with your ideal consumer’s preferences. You’ll gain more of a following and can scale accordingly.
By far one of the most important aspects of graphic design in marketing and branding is connection. Every business has a consumer base. Your ideal client may not match your actual client, the clients that buy your services. Go to where your actual clients are and stop chasing your ideal audience. That method of marketing is detrimental to your business’ success.
Going to your actual audience also means reconfiguring your graphic design choices. Customers need to feel connected to a brand in the 21st century. How you sell is just as important as what you sell, meaning you need to listen to actual customer feedback and adjust your marketing accordingly.
Imagine if Apple’s graphic design suddenly looked like Google’s. Or Airbnb looked like Hotels.com’s. Their customer base would be halved in an instant because their graphic design no longer communicates with the actual audience. Even though the service is the same, connection to the actual audience is removed, and thus consumer interest.
Consumers are more conscious these days about the behind-the-scenes actions of the brands they follow. Use graphic design to your advantage to express the values your company holds and supports.
While it may not necessarily break a business, it will certainly help grow valuable audience support. Values don’t have to equate to altruistic activity like supporting world hunger or cleaning the ocean. Values can mean anything: valuing the privacy of the consumer, valuing comfort, valuing the quality of materials, valuing equal opportunity. It can be anything. As long as it’s real and your business truly supports it, that value is something you should absolutely represent through graphic design (otherwise consumers will see right through it and leave you in the dust).
This is most easily represented through color and spacing between elements. Don’t be afraid to test out graphic design choices on select groups within your target audience. You can use their feedback or lack of feedback to make adjustments.
Using Graphic Design to Convert Visitors into Customers
Marketing graphic design is a powerful tool that can convert viewers into loyal customers. Use it to build clout, awareness, and sincerity within the communities you interact with. Nearly half of all surveyed marketers in a study performed by Venngage admit that visual content plays a key factor in marketing strategies. That percentage will only grow from here.
We all love an underdog but living in that realm permanently is harmful. You need to build brand authority so users can support you for the long term. Think about all the failed startups that had so much potential, like Quibi or Shyp. While startups fail for a plethora of reasons, it can be boiled down to authority and commitment.
Take Quibi, for example. It was a cool new way to consume media designed for the mobile user. It spent a ton of money in marketing and promotion and gained quite a few followers, but in the end, it failed because it couldn’t position itself as a valuable asset or authority in the market.
The takeaway is to state clearly what makes your service valuable and develop a following around that. You can do this quite easily through graphic design. Create eye-catching content through photos, graphics, fonts, etc. that your followers respond positively to. Authority is king when it comes to stabilizing your position. Find your niche, develop valuable content, accrue clout, and succeed.
Again, standing out matters when it comes to graphic design choices. You need to be recognizable from afar. How do you do that? By creating a logo and brand assets that are unique and identifiable. In fact, 73% of companies are willing to invest significantly in design to make their brands more recognizable.
Flat, black-and-white logos are one of the most popular design choices lingering for the past decade. It’s okay to do this for your brand, but you need to use unique graphical elements or typography to help your brand stand out. Simple is always better, but don’t be so simple that users mistake your logo for a typo.
Don’t be afraid to play with perspective and color. You shouldn’t solely rely on one element to make your logo or marketing material stand out. Use a mix of font and type if you’re going for a letter-based logo. Or color and shape. Think about how easily you recognize the Windows logo, and it’s just four squares. Or the Twitter logo and it’s just a cartoon bird. Or the Facebook look and it’s just an F. There’s so much potential in simplicity, you just need to find the one that represents your brand and aligns with your audience.
Copy those design decisions over to all of your materials and awareness for your brand will grow exponentially.
Knockoffs are not okay when it comes to following a full-fledged business. Your business needs to be sincere and uniquely valuable, otherwise, it’s completely forgettable and worthless. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take inspiration from other brands; it just means you shouldn’t outright copy them.
The biggest issue isn’t necessarily stealing another company’s aesthetic, it’s trying to use an established visual identity to represent your own. It just won’t work; it’s already used elsewhere. If you create a new social media platform called The Feed and decide to use a lowercase “F” as your logo, you better believe that visitors are going to confuse it with Facebook. That’s not helpful for your own growth or brand representation.
Aim to create your own visual identity while taking inspiration from other successful companies in your industry. You’ll end up with a sincere graphical personality that consumers can get behind.
Graphic Design Is One of The Most Important Elements for a Brand’s Success
Graphic design might appear to be the icing on the cake—the last element to focus on when building up a business. In reality, its importance seeps further down into the core of a company, and therefore the potential success of that business.
Start your graphic design process early and do the research on various platforms, including social media, to find what graphical styles your audience (intended and actual) responds to best. This will help you maximize potential profit margins, scalability, and position within the industry.