Don’t Deny The Importance of Graphic Design

It’s the first thing a customer sees—your design.

Packaging is all a part of the customer experience. Without the right design, you lose the attention of your audience. Everyone likes nice things, even if they don’t admit it. In the age of social media and visual storytelling, your design speaks to a potential customer before the product or service. From logos to websites, brochures, signage, even your business cards, all are a reflection of good branding through design.

It’s how brands stay competitive.

Businesses need good design to create gag-worthy marketing materials, down to the memes on social media. It’s all inclusive. Good design is now an essential part of business development on and offline.

So what is graphic design?

According to Design Hill, graphic design is the visual communication of a company which includes the process of developing typography, layering image with text, or animation in a specific way to convey a company’s unique and distinctive message. As a startup, entrepreneurs often bootstrap design elements, which sometimes works; however, if you want your brand to stand out and bring visibility to your products and/or services, a sizeable part of your budget should be reserved for design. You can Canva your way through business so much before you have to breakdown and hire a professional.

Unless you’re a designer, then…

Here are eight ways, according to Design Hill, graphic design creates influence:

  1. Sales boost
  2. Establish your company name
  3. Build goodwill in your industry
  4. Express your brand message
  5. Brand unity among staff
  6. Professionalism
  7. Persuasive power
  8. Content readability

Does your brand make the list? Click here to read more.


Reminders: Social Media is ‘Social’

Sure, we know social media is the wave, but there’s a responsibility that comes with it. Beyond bombarding your audience with information about your brand’s products and services, there is a duty to engage with your audience and know them intimately. In the early years of business, customers weren’t too concerned with mission and values, corporate and social accountability, or even the ingredients of products. If it tasted or worked good, it was good.

It’s a different time and day.

Consumers want to know as much as they can before they decide on where to spend their money and place their word. Brand loyalty is an investment for the consumer, as opposed to a necessity.

Though social media is a lucrative way to expand your target audience, the key is to stay engaged. It’s about building relationships. It’s hard to do so if all you do is drop a post and disappear. And yes, scheduling is necessary to ensure  continuity; however, lack of follow-up can cause a disconnect between the brand and the consumer.

Don’t forget to be social.

Have a social media manager crafting your content? Be sure they’re responding to comments and replying to DMs. Too much lag time in between responses makes your audience feel unheard and when people feel unheard, they rebel. Ever notice some pages have an influx of  “unhappy” comment? Lack of internal response is the culprit.

Social media is social.

In the age of technology, we’ve learned to remain connected in every aspect except human. Preserve your human currency. Consumers want to know that your business is human. Customer service doesn’t begin with an email inquiry, it starts with the first note of engagement. Your social media platforms may be their first experience and if it’s a sour one, best believe their network will know. For many, despite a hefty social media arsenal, word of mouth still accounts for a vast majority of their sales. The last thing a business needs is an adverse review before a dollar is spent.

Do more than merely push content.

It’s best to aggregate about fifteen minutes per post of “social time” to engage with your audience. The number of followers and reach of the post will determine if it’s longer or shorter. Even if you’re not responding to comments immediately, like the ones posted and be sure to go back send a note of thanks or, at best, an emoji. Acknowledgement goes a long way.

Are you social on social?

Share with us some of your tips and join the conversation on Facebook or Instagram.


Exercise Your Visual Storytelling Super Power With Photo Essays

“Pose for the camera, now flick!”

We’re sure Chinese Philosopher, Mozi, couldn’t surmise the pinholes he created in a darkened room would evolve into the cameras we have today. From the The Daguerreotype Camera of the mid-1800s to the Reise of the early 1900s, down to shakin’ it like a Polaroid, the ability to capture moments in time has become the fabric of cultures around the world. But it was Nicéphore Niépce in 1816, who we can attribute to the first successful photograph.

Since then, photographs became interactive ways to tell a story. Each image sparked a memory that led to a narrative and a rabbit hole of backstories that kept you engaged in conversation for hours. Over the last few years, Marketing Strategists realize this same community sharing is ideal for small business marketing. Creating intimate communities around products and services is important for small businesses and startups to best engage their target audience. Although considered an “overused” term, narratives engage the audience with a storyline they can connect and follow.

It’s all about relatability.

Posts we like: The Best Photo Essays of 2017

Visual storytelling brings life words on a page and allows the audience to create their own experience as if they were there and even imagine themselves in the still shots. Studies reveal web content with visual engage audiences up to 180% more than without. Although there are many visual storytelling elements to design, photographs are cost-effective and create immediate and long-lasting impact over time. Impact is a core outcome in all business. You want people to respond to your call to action. Click and learn more. Swipe through and comment.

Engagement is key.

Photo Essays help to propel a message forward and simple for even a non-tech savvy person to do. With Smartphones leading the way in technology, photo ops are easy and essentially seamless. Platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat provide the opportunity to master visual storytelling. Even the publishing platform, Medium, creates space for visual storytelling. Clear that image and text go together like PB&J.

So how can you get it done? What are the ways you can tap into your visual storytelling super power? We’ve compile four ways for you to begin using photo essays to craft your community conversation:

  • Royalty Free Images. Who doesn’t like royalty free images? Sites such as Unsplash and Pexels have become the saving grace for bloggers and web designers alike. If you have a graphic design hand, these images are perfect to “remix” with your own branding elements. Looking for create a color scheme? Type the color you want and watch the images flood. Mix the royalty free images with your own to create contrast but make sure the images aren’t too far off, then they’ll confuse your audience
  • Filters. Whether royalty free or in-house, impressing your brand aesthetic on your images creates visibility and a signature. Your audience immediately knows it’s you and engages. Don’t go overboard. For signature filters and design, VSCO is a great tool. Although considered an intermediate design app, it’s user-friendly with filters that can be adjusted to create the ideal look.
  • Elements. For the sake of this post, we’re going to call text, animation, and icons and such, elements. Sites such as Canva and Spark Adobe are perfect to add design elements to your image and create a strong brand image effect. Add shapes, animation, and text to further the narrative of your brand. Spark Adobe has image templates specific for IG Stories to add further customization.
  • Dollar stores and thrift shops. Designing on a budget? Dollar stores and thrift shops are great places to get set design elements. Doing a post on flat lays? Scoop up a few pens, notepads, glass jars, and faux flowers from the dollar store. Even places like Amazing Savings and Tuesday Morning have low cost items to add to your images. Feeling crafty, find a desk or patio set and make your designs there. But you gotta be quick! Snap real fast and make a dash.

There are many ways to create visual dialogue. Join the conversation on Instagram and share some of your favorite tips.