Branding + Marketing

Graphic Design 101: What Marketers Need To Know

October 26, 2022

3 minutes

Small business marketing managers wear many hats. The to-do list can seem never-ending, and with all the competing priorities, graphic design often gets pushed to the back burner. We don’t think this tendency to overlook graphic design is intentional. More often than not, graphic design is simply misunderstood or misapplied within the larger context of marketing.

Experienced marketers will agree that graphic design is integral to a successful marketing strategy. You literally cannot brand a business or organization without strong visual communications in place. But it does take time and expertise to do it right.

To that end, we’ve compiled this “graphic design 101” post. If you have questions about the graphic design process and how it relates to marketing, this post is for you. Here we unpack the basics of graphic design, how marketing and graphic design work together, the value of graphic design, and how to know if your current marketing materials need a graphic design update. Keep reading for more!

Graphic Design: The Basics

Small businesses need to know the basics of graphic design in marketing in order to create a memorable and consistent brand identity. Customers should be able to recognize your brand logo, colors, and fonts at a glance. A well-designed website, social media profile, business cards, and other relevant collateral will reinforce your brand identity and help you stand out from the competition.
For small business marketers, graphic design can be a powerful tool for building brand awareness and driving sales. However, it’s important to remember that graphic design is not just about creating pretty pictures. To be effective, graphic design must be strategic and align with your overall marketing goals. Here are a few basics that all small business marketers need to know about graphic design:

1. Define your goals.

Before you begin any graphic design project, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your website? Boost social media engagement? Once you’ve defined your goals, you can start developing a creative strategy that will help you achieve them.

2. Know your audience.

Who are you trying to reach with your graphic design? Your audience will inform every aspect of your design, from the colors and fonts you use to the overall tone and messaging. If you’re not sure who your target audience is, take some time to research and define them before beginning any projects.

3. Simplicity is key.

When it comes to graphic design, less is often more. Effective visuals are typically clean and simple, without any extraneous elements that can distract or confuse the viewer. When in doubt, err on the side of simplicity and use only the elements that are absolutely necessary to convey your message.

4. Use color strategically.

Color can be a powerful tool for drawing attention and evoking emotion. When choosing colors for your graphic designs, consider both the meaning of each color and how they will work together in harmony. For example, blue typically signifies trustworthiness and calmness, while yellow is often associated with happiness and energy.

5 . Consider typography carefully.

The font you use in your designs can say a lot about your brand identity. Do some research on different font styles and choose one that reflects the tone of your business. For example, playful fonts may be better suited for a children’s toy company, while more sophisticated fonts may be appropriate for an upscale fashion retailer.

6 . Pay attention to white space.

In addition to color, white space is another important graphic design element. White space refers to the areas of a design without visuals, giving the eye a place to rest. Be intentional with your use of white space – too little can make a design feel cramped and cluttered, while too much can make it feel cold and uninviting.

Read More: What’s a Style Guide and Why You Need One

The Importance of Marketing and Graphic Design

In today’s business world, graphic design and marketing are two essential pieces of the puzzle. When combined with other marketing strategies, graphic design can be a potent tool for driving results. In harmony, these two disciplines will capture attention, communicate messages clearly, and create an emotional connection with customers.

Unfortunately, many businesses treat graphic design and marketing as separate entities when in fact, they go hand in hand. As a result, their graphic design efforts are often ineffective, and their overall marketing campaigns fall short.

When it comes to graphic design and marketing, the old saying, “if you build it, they will come,” won’t work. When you create a great design, always plan how you will market that design. Otherwise, you may miss out on the fullest potential impact you can have on your target audience.

Read More: Brand Identity 101: The Ultimate Guide to a Fresh New Look for Your Business

The Value of Graphic Design Expertise

Given the importance of graphic design, it’s essential to enlist the help of a professional designer. You will still be in control and have the final say in the outcome, but you will also have the peace of mind that comes with consulting an expert.
Without the proper training, you will likely miss an important detail that could water down the effectiveness of your message. A trained graphic designer will know what looks good and how the design fits into your overall visual identity. If you’re creating graphics that clash or conflict with your core branding, you will hinder or stunt your efforts in the long run

A professional designer will also advise you on graphic design techniques that you may not otherwise know. For example, things like scalability, color variations, orientation, and which file types to use in specific applications can significantly impact the final look and feel of your design. This isn’t something you want to take on without proper training and expertise.

How To Know if You Need a Graphic Design Update

Depending on where you’re at as a company, you may think it’s time to rebrand or refresh your graphic design presence in the marketplace. You may need a major overhaul, or you may just need a minor refresh. Whatever the case, please don’t initiate a redesign without consulting a professional. That said, here are four signs that it’s time to freshen up your graphic design:

1. Your brand no longer feels relevant.

In today’s fast-paced world, you must maintain relevancy with your target audience. If your graphic design feels dated, old, or tired in any way, it’s likely that your brand does too. A graphic design update can help you communicate that you’re keeping up with the times.

2. You’re not attracting your ideal customer.

Good graphic design can help you target your ideal customer and communicate what makes you unique. If you’re not getting the kind of attention you want from your target market, it might be time for a change.

3. You’re not making a good first impression.

First impressions are everything in business. If your graphic design is unappealing or confusing, potential customers will move on to someone else who makes a better first impression. Be sure to align your graphics with what your audience expects from someone in your industry.

4. You’re not standing out from your competition.

In any industry, you must differentiate yourself from your competitors. Otherwise, customers will have no reason to choose you over them. If you’re struggling to stand out, graphic design can be a powerful tool to help you achieve that goal.

5. You’re experiencing technical difficulties.

If your designs are not properly executed from a technical perspective, you may need to make an update. Take logos, for example. If your design doesn’t scale well, has too many colors, or is too complex, you may need a professional designer to make minor changes to fix these problems.

If any of these four signs sound familiar, it’s probably time for a graphic design update. By freshening up your graphic design, you can attract more customers and grow your business.

Read More: Learn Why a Strong Visual Rebranding Strategy Can Help You Get Unstuck

Looking for a Graphic Design Team of Professionals?

Graphic design is a critical piece of any marketing mix. It’s the first impression your potential customers have of you, and it can set the tone for the rest of their interaction with your company. Good graphic design communicates who you are, what you do, and how well you do it. If your current materials don’t reflect that, it might be time to invest in some updated graphics.

Our team can assist if you need to get started with graphic design or update your current marketing materials. We’d be happy to schedule a meeting and chat about your needs. Let us know how we can serve you!

Cross & Crown

About Cross & Crown

Cross & Crown is a team of creatives who are passionate about solving problems through design and technology, taking what is there and making it better. Based in Chambersburg, PA, we strive to help educate, advocate, and thrive in a digital world.

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