Since we live in a visual world, marketing and graphic design exist in a symbiotic relationship. Therefore, your marketing team must think intentionally about how to employ design in pursuit of your goals.
A winning marketing strategy certainly involves more than great design. Nevertheless, great graphic design and visual branding are an essential weapon in a marketing team’s arsenal, and marketing campaigns with bad design are poor campaigns.
Here are three important truths about design for marketing.
1. Good Design Establishes Brand Identity and Builds Trust With Customers.
In the same way you craft a marketing message that outlines what problems or challenges your products and services address and the unique way your organization can help customers rise to those challenges, your organization would also be wise to build a well-defined visual brand.
Your visual brand is your organization’s particular look and feel. It includes your company’s logo, brand colors, typography, and other graphical elements. In order to establish consistency across your organization’s marketing and sales communications, as well as internal documentation, your team should create a brand guide, outlining the proper use of your branding.
If you successfully implement a consistent and appealing visual brand experience, your customers will grow familiar with your look and feel and will begin to immediately recognize your marketing and advertising efforts, thereby increasing overall brand awareness.
Further, having a well-designed visual brand not only helps customers and potential customers come to feel familiar with your organization through visual repetition, but also enables your organization to build trust with your audience. Having branding that is visually pleasing, intentional, and consistent across platforms and collateral indicates that your organization is highly organized, that you care about the details, and you know how to execute at a high level.
A high-end looking design gives the impression that your products and services are themselves high-end. Your organization may pursue excellence in every aspect of its relationship to customers and clients, but if your visual brand is not itself excellent, then you undermine your authority with customers and must work to win it back. With great visual branding, you are already beginning from a place of implicit trust.
2. Good Design Drives Conversions and Better Marketing ROI.
Good design certainly helps your brand to stand out from other organizations. But more than getting noticed, great design in marketing actually considers the way people visually intake information, how it makes them feel, and what will cause them to respond. In other words, good design helps you convey your marketing messages in a way that is more visually compelling.
And that’s because there is much more to great marketing design than simply making it “look cool.” For example, your organization’s website should not only be aesthetically pleasing, but it should also be organized in a way that is intuitive and that drives users toward the next steps you want them to take. This is a product of intentionally crafted design.
Great marketing design also takes into account that you have the attention of your audience for a breathtakingly short amount of time, and it capitalizes on those mere seconds afforded to it. For instance, some estimate that people will only look at a piece of marketing material for three seconds. If it is not compelling enough to have captured their attention by then, they look away.
In this respect, it does not matter how well crafted your marketing copy is or how compellingly you tell your brand story. All that matters is the design. Great design won’t necessarily seal the deal on whether a customer purchases your product or service, but it is an essential aspect of getting your foot in the door.
3. Good Design Requires Time and Resources.
Good design is a worthy investment that will yield a return for your organization. But make no mistake: it is an investment. The reason why so many businesses do not have great visual design and branding is because good design requires a considerable amount of time and resources.
Depending on your organization’s size, you may only have enough budget to contract graphic designers for specific projects. If that is the case, you should work strategically to build trust and rapport with them, even though they do not operate within your organization’s reporting structure.
Nevertheless, if you have the budget to do so, you may want to employ one or more full-time designers on your team. Different designers serve different functions on a marketing team, each with their unique set of skills and contributions.
For example, you may have one designer focus on your overall brand identity and branding standards, while another focuses on designing specific advertising collateral and social media content. You may also want a separate designer focused on web design and online user experience.
If you are a smaller organization, finding a “jack of all trades” designer can be difficult, as each of these different areas of design can become highly specialized. However, if you can find one designer who is great at one aspect of design while being adequately proficient in others, they can fill in the gaps while also lending their expertise when outsourcing necessary contract work, making sure that those designs comport with your overall brand identity.
Developing a vision for marketing graphic design is highly strategic and can serve as a key differentiator for your organization. The question is whether you are willing to invest precious payroll dollars and allow your designers to do what they do best. If you are, graphic design is an investment that will always provide a return as you seek to connect with your customers.