Advertisements, content, and social media are rarely successful without the help of graphic design services. According to a report compiled at the Wharton Business School, 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, and we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.
Design is not mere decoration, but a massive part of our communication. Digital marketing relies heavily on communication. Whether it’s through blogging, downloadable content, websites, or social media, graphic design is a necessary part of digital marketing.
Seeing is Believing
Graphic design can accomplish what text is unable to do. If a viewer acquires a piece of content that has the same size, color, and font, they will find it lacking in appeal. They may even find it so uninteresting that they click away without taking the time to navigate through to the essential pieces of information. Graphic design can combat this by capturing two significant elements needed in all copy: attention and emotion.
- Cognitive Attention: Design elements help amplify our comprehension and recall. The visual cues help to enhance copy and provide emphasis to prominent information, which increases the chances that your audience will remember you.
- Emotion: Emotions play a central role in our perception and decision making. Pictures, contrasting elements, and the flow of text all influence how we feel about the product or service.
How Much Design Does Digital Marketing Require?
The short answer: a lot.
Graphic design is everywhere. It's in the advertisements you see, the eBooks you read, the videos you watch, and the social media sites you browse. Graphic design covers a broad range of services and requires a specific set of skills and trained eyes. There should be careful consideration given to every aspect of your digital marketing collateral, even down to the tiniest detail. It should look professional and represent your brand well.
Once you've spent time writing content, it can be overwhelming to know that you're only half-way done! Design can be time-consuming, especially if you aren’t familiar with best practices and the required software. Thankfully, this is where a graphic designer can save the day. A professional designer has the necessary skills to take a plain Word document and quickly turn it into a finished piece, ready to share with the world. Basically, content needs design – they are not standalone elements.
Consistency is Key
A bit earlier, we discussed issues with content lacking in appeal, unable to maintain reader attention. On the flip side, you will encounter similar problems if your content is over-designed.
If all text is big and bold, filled with graphics from top to bottom, it will be almost impossible for a reader to focus on the information at hand. A good design team can walk the line between over and under designing by adhering to rules of hierarchy, whitespace, and branding guidelines.
Your graphic designers should be able to create or work with existing design guidelines for your company. These documents ensure consistency across all of your collateral to maintain a professional and cohesive appearance. Branding documents should contain rules for font styles, colors, imagery, logo usage, and more. It is the reference point for any new content and especially useful for large teams to stay on the same page.
To take it one step further, your designers may opt to create a website style guide. Website style guides include any commonly used user interface (UI) elements such as buttons, links, and form elements as well as font sizes and font families for different header tags on desktop and mobile. This file is used by designers and developers alike as a reference when creating new pages.
Cover All Your Bases
As you begin to grow your digital marketing strategy, the type of content you produce will start to diversify to give your audience the information they need in the best format possible.
Here’s an overview of standard content types used in digital marketing and the graphic design services required for each:
Today, there are endless possibilities when it comes to building a website. They can be custom designed and configured with raw code, created in HubSpot, WordPress, or another CMS using templates, or quickly set up using a drag and drop editor like WIX. Undoubtedly, regardless of which you choose, you want your site to look great on all devices, clearly convey your message, and fulfill your company and client’s needs.
While it's certainly possible to set up a website yourself or have your developer handle design, an experienced designer who stays up to date on trends and knows the industry is your best option. Similarly, you could put a new roof on your home when it begins to leak, but it’s a job that’s better left to an expert.
A designer will work with you from initial strategy and conceptualization through Q&A and launch, to ensure your site is beautiful, modern, and user-friendly. Even after launch, designers can take your website to the next level by observing how visitors are interacting with it and suggest changes and new features based on real user data. They can also handle any mandatory updates like changes in pricing or company policy.
“Video on landing pages is capable of increasing conversion rates by over 80%, and the mere mention of the word “video” in your email subject line can increase open rates by 19%.”
In other words, if you’re not doing video yet, now’s the time to start! Other than landing pages and emails, videos add appeal to your website pages, blog posts, social media, and ads. They are also often used as standalone content offers, such as webinars.
The types of videos you can create also varies. You can record video interviews, where a designer adds an intro screen, descriptive text throughout, and a closing screen with a call to action. You can source animated explainer videos, which are excellent for product promotion, or hire a videographer to collect custom footage.
The main tools used by professionals for video creation are AfterEffects and Premiere Pro and require highly skilled designers who know the software inside out.
3. eBooks & Whitepapers
An eBook is judged by its cover. How you present your long-form content offer can make or break a user’s decision to download. eBook covers should be creative and unique so that they stand out from the pack. While they can all possess a similar style, when lined up on your resources page, each should present as a distinctive original. Whitepapers, on the other hand, contain higher-level content as they are more quantitative and research-based. These should have polished, refined covers, but still follow design best practices. Sometimes the simpler a design, the more difficult it can actually be to produce and still look professional.
If your cover impresses the visitor enough to download your content, you will want to make sure they remain engaged once they begin reading. A skilled designer can create a branded template with a standard look for the table of contents, chapter, and body pages with equal margins and matching font sizes for common elements like headers and page numbers.
Within seconds of starting the eBook or whitepaper, readers will react to it positively or negatively. To catch their attention, you must infuse the pages with visual elements that support the copy. These elements can range from charts, graphs, quotes, photographs, icons, amongst others.
4. Infographics & Tip Sheets
Consumers love infographics and tip sheets because they are effortless to digest and convey useful statistics or helpful ideas. These content types are especially design-intensive. Your entire message may consist of around 85% visuals and 15% text. Good design is critical in these circumstances and can be the difference between a confusing mess or a compelling story.
Whether they’re starting from scratch or using a stock image as the base, designers know how to manipulate graphics in Illustrator to make a finished product that is unique to your business.
5. Social Media
Social media relies heavily on graphic design services. A social media post that includes an image is ten times more likely to get engagement. However, just like with content, it isn't enough to choose a random stock image to go along with your text. The graphics you select for your social media platforms should be consistent with your branding and relevant to your content and audience. If you're looking for creative branding ideas, take a look at the link.
In addition to visual consistency, social media requires a certain level of commitment. Your business should have a consistent schedule of relevant, engaging content. This content could be original blog posts or videos you create, plus highly valuable, informative pieces found and shared from elsewhere. It can also include simple messages that let people know you’re thinking about them.
You should post to your social platforms a couple of times a week to stay at the front of your audience. You'll need someone to design several images, in the correct dimensions, across all platforms, and keep up with the posting schedule.
It is also a good idea to use a variety of visuals in your social media campaigns. Switch between using photos, short video clips, infographics, typography, and illustrations. The array will capture and keep the attention of your audience and set your company apart from the rest.
Take the Next Step with Graphic Design Services
As you can see, graphic design services are a vital part of digital marketing. Businesses grow when they stand out and promote themselves through compelling content and design.
Will your audience deem you distinguished, professional, contemporary, or amateurish? Graphic design services help to establish a distinctive and unified image that will help your audience absorb your message.
Need help getting started? Watch our free webinar to learn how to elevate and refine the design of your content pieces.