As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Graphic design remains an effective tool for marketers that is not only profoundly impactful, but also memorable. When people hear a message, they are only able to recall 10% of the information three days later. However, when a visual aid is included, that number rises to 65%.
Graphic design is an essential part of developing a holistic marketing strategy. Whether it’s designing content for your website or creating graphics to publish on social media, the power of good design cannot be overstated.
What Is Graphic Design?
Graphic design is art combined with communication. It includes visual graphics that can solve a problem, convey additional information, or work towards accomplishing goals by communicating messages to the target audience. Logos, typography, images, and color scheme are all part of graphic design. When combined, these aesthetic elements make up the visual topography of a brand and can help create a better user experience for your audience.
Why Is Graphic Design Important?
Want higher engagement? Try using graphics. Social media posts with visual elements, such as graphics, illustrations, or posters, have a 650% higher engagement rate than posts with simple text. More specifically, tweets with visual elements had 150% more retweets, and Facebook posts with images had 230% more engagement.
Using graphics as part of your website design can also boost social media engagement. Blog articles that utilize visual graphics and illustrations generate twice as many shares on social media when compared to articles without images.
Don’t have the time to do your own design? Let us help.
Things to Keep in Mind When Designing Graphics
Keep It Simple and Clear
Similar to our recommendations in our logo design article, your graphic design should be simple and clear. Keeping your graphic design simple ensures the message you want to communicate is easy to understand for your audience.
Not only does it bring clarity to your message, but a simple approach to graphic design can also be more memorable. With how fast-paced the marketing world can be, you only have a limited amount of time to make an impression on your audience—a simple and clear design is the most efficient way to get your message across quickly and effectively.
Remember Sizing Differences
Social media platforms will have different sizing specifications and ideal dimensions. It’s important to keep this in mind when designing graphics or posters so you can ensure none of your content is being cut off.
Have a Consistent Style
Keeping design styles consistent across platforms and various forms of media can be beneficial. While consistency is key, it’s also important to develop a style that is unique to your brand. Your design style is your unique combination of colors, typefaces, compositions, and illustrations. A specific style will make your design recognizable and perpetuate brand awareness.
However, sometimes it may be wise to change up or tweak your style slightly to keep your audience engaged. For example, instead of posting the same picture with different text, try posting a different picture with similar colors.
Create a Template
If you regularly push out a specific type of content, create a template for it. For example, if you create how-to posts every month, using the same template for these types of posts can help your audience recognize the format and associate the design elements with your brand.
Using templates can also save you a lot of time. In addition, it can be a quick way to train a new designer and get them to practice creating graphics and original content.
Remember the Design Hierarchy
Your design hierarchy will tell your audience what is most important about your post. Making use of the design hierarchy can help improve communication with your audience by ensuring that they are able to understand your content quickly and accurately. Using visual characteristics like text size, color, contrast, repetition, proximity, and alignment, you can use graphic design in a way that emphasizes the most important part of your content.
For example, if your headline is the most important part of your design because it entices your audience to read more, make sure to use a large font in a contrasting color so it stands out. CTAs (or call-to-action) and other parts that you want to draw attention to can also be emphasized in a similar manner.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Graphic Design
Step 1: Prepare
Before starting on your design, your goals and objectives must be clear. In order for you to be able to do this, you also need to clearly define who your audience is.
Ask yourself these questions before you get started:
- Who is my target audience or ideal customer for this design?
- Which social media network is this design intended for? Desktop or mobile?
- How will my design reflect my brand’s values?
- What message am I trying to communicate to my audience?
- What emotions should my design invoke in my target audience?
- What would my ideal customer do after seeing this design? I.e. what actions will they take?
- Refer to your content development strategy or marketing strategy. What type of overarching goal will your designs help your business accomplish?
Step 2: Brainstorm and Sketch a Draft
Now that you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish and how, it’s time to brainstorm.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing. What types of graphics are they posting on their social media? How do they approach graphic design on their websites? What is successful or unsuccessful? Having an idea of what your competition is doing can help inform your graphic design strategy.
This is a great time to revisit your brand’s values and brainstorm how you can incorporate them into your design. What are some ways to convey and communicate these values in a graphic?
List some possible types of designs. Is an infographic or chart the best way to present your content based on your goals, target audience, and message? Sketching out a few drafts can help you visualize your ideas. Starting your sketches in simple black and white can help you focus on the contrast and composition of your design.
Step 3: Choose Your Colors Wisely
Color psychology can help you decide what colors are best to use. Color can be used to affect your audience’s mood, invoking specific emotions in people who view your designs. Pick the best colors for your purpose and goal, and keep in mind what you are trying to communicate to your audience.
If you are designing a single graphic for social media, think about how it will harmonize with your other social media posts. Don’t constantly use colors that are too bright as the effect may be overwhelming. At the same time, don’t be too monotonous—use a color scheme that reflects your brand and the message you are delivering. To improve accessibility, ensure that your graphic will look good in the colors you choose as well as in greyscale.
Step 4: Include Sufficient Contrast
Contrast can bring attention to a specific part of your design and make it stand out. For example, designing your call-to-action as a button that “pops” from the rest of the design can help users pay more attention to it. Contrast can also help establish a visual hierarchy, which informs your audience what parts of your design to focus on and prioritize.
Step 5: Consider Typography
If you will be using text in your design, consider using easy-to-read fonts. Ensure the text size is large enough to be easily readable, especially on smaller screens such as mobile devices. In today’s digital landscape, it’s important that the message you’re conveying is easy to understand—no matter what device it is being viewed on.
Step 6: Include Consistent Branding
In addition to having a simple and easy-to-understand graphic, you’ll want to ensure that the branding is consistent with your business.
Since visual illustrations are more memorable than plain text, ensuring your branding is consistently used across a variety of mediums also ensures that your audience will remember your brand. Having your branding on social media and web graphics can also help potential clients identify you. Consistent branding solidifies your brand presence for your customers, both present and future.
Keep your brand consistent by trusting the experts with it.
Step 7: Decide Your Call-to-Action
To help you decide what your CTA will be, it’s important to ask the right questions. What actions do you want your audience to take after seeing your graphic? Do you want them to like, comment, and share your post? Is there a website you want to direct them to?
Once you’ve determined what your call-to-action will be, it’s time to design it. Your CTA should be aesthetically consistent with the rest of your design, but also eye-catching enough to draw the attention of your customers.
Step 8: Publish and Reflect
Now that you’ve created your piece, it’s time to publish it on whatever channel it was intended for.
Once complete, it would be wise to reflect on the results to see how future graphics could be improved. Ask yourself these questions to evaluate how effective your design was:
- Who is looking at or sharing your content?
- Did you accomplish your goals?
- What type of graphic or poster performed the best? i.e. what brought in the most traffic, if increased traffic was your goal?
- What type of comments are you getting on the post?
- Did posting during a certain time or day increase or decrease engagement?
Your answers to these questions can help you with your marketing strategy and inform your future graphic design process.
Let Us Help
In addition to advising best practices for graphic design, Imagine Better Solutions also helps with copywriting, content development, and social media management. As a company that strives to be a one-stop shop for ease of management, we have all of your marketing needs covered.