I’m sure we have all heard the old adage: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. This is not great advice when it comes to marketing. Humans by nature are visual creatures and constantly make split second judgements made on appearance. Every day, people make first impressions on the way people dress, the packaging on a product, or the aesthetic of an instagram post. These first impressions can be very hard to shake. This is why it is so important to incorporate good design into your marketing and products.
What is Graphic Design?
Our designer, Katie, describes graphic design as such:
“Graphic design is all about master storytelling. The difficulty is not only telling a concise story with layout, color, and images, but allowing it to transcend language and cultures for all to understand.”
Most simply put, graphic design is the process of visually presenting information. Recall another popular saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Visuals often are the first exposure a potential customer has to your business. Make it count.
Have you ever browsed a shelf at the supermarket filled with an overwhelming variety of the same item? How did you decide which to buy? Did you go for the packaging that most drew your eye? Most likely. This is an example of what good graphic design should accomplish.
Another scenario: Ever visited a website that was really outdated or difficult to navigate, and thought:
“This website looks sketchy. Is this a reputable company?”
Poor design will turn people away from your business. It could cause potential customers to question your validity and trustworthiness as a company, as well as quality of your services or products.
Tips for Better Design
Remember that the goal of graphic design is to communicate information visually. The viewer should never have to struggle to see the message you are trying to convey. Make sure your text is legible, and keep designs simple and easy to follow. Modern design leans towards simplicity.
It is important to use clear, high resolution images in your designs. It’s always best to have your own set of professional photos unique to your business, but free stock photos are a great budget friendly option. You can find free high resolution photos and graphics on websites like Pexels, Pixabay, Vecteezy, and Unsplash. For higher quality images, you can also purchase photos through Adobe Stock.
Like the website example I used to open this section, an outdated design may make your company seem untrustworthy. You can incorporate retro design elements — but it must be intentional. Your design can have vintage inspiration, but should still adhere to modern concepts of user-friendliness and readability.
Keep your imagery and aesthetic consistent so that people can easily recognize content and products produced by your company.
- Typeface: Choose 2-3 fonts that you will consistently use. Mix display fonts with easier-to-read body copy fonts.
- Colors: Choose a set of brand colors — about 3 to 6 colors that compliment each other. Look up color wheel theory for help!
- Logo: Have a unique logo and feature it on all products and marketing materials.
Being consistent doesn’t mean you can never change your aesthetic. Intentional rebranding to keep your aesthetic current and relevant is a good thing!
UX (user experience) Design is a topic all on its own, but it is worth mentioning briefly here. Good design should always consider ease of use. Do not frustrate your potential customers with a website or app that is difficult to use or does not function properly.
Tools to Help You with Graphic Design
The three must-know applications for any professional designer are Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. But, if you aren’t an experienced graphic designer, don’t fret. There are plenty of tools available today to help people who aren’t trained designers produce visually pleasing designs.
- Canva is popular for social media design. Design posts, stories, and even videos. Best of all, it’s free! There is a paid subscription if you want to unlock all the features, but there is so much already available in the free version.
- Adobe Spark is similar to Canva. It also has a free version. If you want to upgrade, you can pay a subscription fee. If you already have an Adobe subscription, Spark pro features will be included.
- Easelly is great for creating infographic designs. You can use the free version or upgrade to a subscription of only $4 a month.
- Doodly allows you to create your own animated videos without any animation experience. Unfortunately there is no free version, and the subscription is pricey starting at $39, but it’s still software you might want to consider if you want to include animated videos in your marketing.
In terms of website design, there are beginner friendly options for that too. With platforms like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace, you can create beautiful websites with no coding experience.
Where to Learn Graphic Design Skills
If you want to improve your graphic design skills, you don’t need a four-year college degree to do so. There are plenty of affordable and flexible options to learn online. You can check out websites like Shaw Academy, Skillshare, UDemy, Domestika, or LinkedIn Learning to learn new skills on your time without blowing the budget.
Not a Graphic Designer?
If design really isn’t your forte and you’d rather find someone else to do it, you can hire freelancers. You can easily hire freelancers through websites like Fiverr or Upwork. You can also search for artists and designers on Instagram or Behance. Or do a google search for creative agencies in your area. You’ll be getting the help you need and supporting a local business.
Visual content dominates social media. Images, and especially videos, draw people’s attention significantly more than text. It is important that you keep good design in mind when planning how to present and market yourself and your business. Use graphic design to create a brand that is recognizable, trustworthy, and authentic to you. Remember, people do judge a book by its cover, so make that first impression a good one!
Read full blog on My Pocket Partner.
My Pocket Partner is comprised of individuals who understand good design and how to incorporate it into social media marketing. My Pocket Partner wants to make it easier for you by taking on your workload so you can get back to growing your business. If you have more questions on what we can do to help your business, email us at email@example.com for customized solutions.