Graphic Design is actually quite complicated. It is much more than putting pictures and wording together.
Many believe Graphic Design is, Billboards, Logos, Magazines, Flyers, Business Cards, these are the things that come to mind when you think about Graphic Design. It is a profession and if we dig deeper, it is truly an art. Here is the technical definition:
Graphic Design is the art or profession of visual communication that combines images, words and ideas to convey information to an audience, especially to produce a specific effect. In other words, Graphic Design is communication design, it is a way of conveying ideas through visuals and design.
But Graphic Design is not a black and white concept. To fully grasp the concept of Graphic Design, it is important to have a solid understanding of the elements and principles that make up Graphic Design.
Elements of Graphic Design
Design Elements are the basic unit of any visual design that forms the design's structure and conveys its visual message. The elements of Graphic Design are:
Line - The most basic of the design elements. Lines can be curved, straight, thick, thin, two-dimensional, three-dimensional etc. A line is simply an element of design that is defined by a point moving in space.
Shape - A shape is a two-dimensional defined area created by lines. Different types of shape included geometric, abstract, and organic shapes, all of which are basic elements of Graphic Design.
Colour - Colour is one element that is especially important in attracting attention because there is the psychology behind the feelings that colour can evoke. There are three main characteristics to colour: hue (the colour family), value (how light or dark the colour is) and saturation (the purity of the colour).
Typography - Typography is the art of arranging type (fonts). This one is critically important as it can greatly affect the Graphic Design's messaging. Different fonts, combined with varied sizing, colours and spacing can add power to the concept the designer is trying to communicate.
Texture - Texture in Graphic Design refers to how things look like they'd feel if they were touched. For example, texture can be rough, smooth, glossy, soft, hard, etc. The texture is another element used to draw attention. It can be added to other elements like shape, colours, images and type.
Size - Size is how small or large something is. In Graphic Design, size is used as an indication of the importance and it can also create visual interest in a design by using contrasting sizes.
Space - This refers to the areas of the Graphic Design that are left blank. These areas include any distance or areas between, around, below or above other design elements. Designers intentionally place spaces in the design to add emphasis to areas of the design.
Principles of Graphic Design
The principles of Graphic Design suggest how the designer should best arrange the various components of a page layout to ensure the elements of the overall design are connected to one another. The principles of Graphic Design include the following:
Balance - Achieving visual balance in Graphic Design is done by using symmetry and asymmetry. This is achieved by balancing the design in weight, meaning shapes, lines and other elements are distributed evenly. So even if the two side of the design isn't exactly the same, they have similar elements. Balance is important because it provides structure and stability to a design.
Alignment - Alignment is about keeping the design organized. All aspects of the design should be aligned with the top, bottom, centre, or sides to create a visual connection between the elements.
Proximity - Proximity creates a visual relationship between the elements of the design. It minimizes clutter, increases viewer comprehension and provides a focal point for viewers. It does not necessarily mean the similar elements need to be put right next to each other, it just means they should be connected visually.
Repetition - Once you have chosen how to use your elements, repeat those patterns to establish consistency throughout the design. This repetition ties together individual elements and strengthens the design but creating a feeling of organized movement.
Contrast - Contrasting is used to emphasize certain aspects of the design. Using contrast allows you to stress differences between elements, ultimately highlighting the key elements of your design that you want to stand out.
Find out more about Graphic Design in our next article.
Let's face it, Branding and ads can be boring. Consumers crave immersive Branding experiences instead, and brands that provide these experiences earn lasing loyalty from their audiences. It isn't always about showing off your product, it is about establishing an emotional connection that ties the brand and the lifestyle of the audience.
In a way, truly great Branding doesn't just introduce people to products. The experiences it fosters turn into memories, memories that tie too long term brands. And when people adopt brands as part of their personas, they transform into loyal customers. Memories can also be fleeting, so brands need to keep their Branding campaigns fresh. By attending to this goal, brands can keep the momentum going even after the big moment fades into memory.
Do you want your Branding to stand out more? Give your marketing a boost with these strategies:
1. Leverage the voice of everyday consumers.
People trust people over brands, and that is true whether they are close to them or not. Brands can benefit from this information by leaning on the voices of brand advocates. These people can spread the word via user-generated content and in today's society, that usually means social media posts from everyday people. When consumers talk about a brand on social media, these engagements positively impact social media metrics, boost authenticity and increase visibility.
2. Give influencers envy-inducing experiences.
No matter what the topic - beauty, sport, travel or something completely different - influencers will often function as a North Star for people seeking expert advice and insight. These influencers are especially popular among younger consumers. Marketers usually thing about Branding and influencer strategies separately, but combining the two can amplify the effectiveness of both.
3. Generate unique Branding content.
Just because people tend to trust influencers doesn't mean brands should abandon their own marketing. Audiences that haven't had experiences with a particular brand might not trust it words, but those that already view the brand positively expect a steady stream of high-quality work. People are paying attention to the brands they like, so plan a steady stream of work before, during and after experiences. Give audiences a reason to keep engaging with the brand. Be sure to post content, especially video content, which tends to perform better on multiple channels.
4. Bring the media
Any brand can publish a blog post, but earning media coverage can pose more of a challenge. For the best results, show journalists that the story or brand you have is worth covering and that the work they do is appreciated.
Each of these tactics has the power to generate Branding awareness on its own. Together though, they create a cohesive marketing and communications strategy that takes campaigns to the next level. When content extends the moment and carries the brand's energy to more people, the result will almost certainly be stronger, long-lasting emotional connections.
Nike spent billions on their Logo to teach millions of people that the swoosh is a symbol of human possibility and achievement, as well as status and performance. And if you are a designer, the typeface comic sans in a Logo is a symbol of bad taste, low status and laziness. A hundred years ago, a Logo was in its infancy. It wasn't something done by a billion people a day and every day as we market to each other online. Our ability to so this with intent can make the difference between success and failure.
What does this remind you of?
Busy people don't care about your work as much as you do. People scan instead of study, and when we scan, we're asking "What does this remind me of?". This means that the Logo you use, the stories you tell and the appearance of your work all matter. Words resonate with us, not only because of what they mean, but because of how they sound and how you use them.
It's not just the Logo, it's even the way you set up the room for your company off-site. People do not care about you, or how hard you work, they want to know are you a real deal and your Logo is the first brand they see to start making their decisions. Even something like how you design your website, if it is full of flashing images and cluttered, it immediately reminds someone of a scam, and that impression can almost never be undone.
Logo - What is your brand?
Your brand is NOT your Logo. In a crowded world, with too many choices and with just about anything "good enough", you are quite lucky if you have a brand at all. A brand and a Logo is a shorthand for the customer's expectations. What promise do they think you are making? What do they expect when they buy from you or meet with you or hire you? This promise is what your brand is, and again, it starts with your Logo.
Nike does not have a hotel, but if it did, you will immediately have a very good guess to what it can be like, that is Nike's brand. If you have true fans, the only reason you do is that this group has engaged with you in a way that signals that they expect something worthwhile from you the next time they do business. It's not specific, it's more emotional.
A commodity, even if it has a Logo, has no brand. If you are buying wheat by the ton or coffee by the pound or bandwidth by the GB, you don't have any specific expectations other than the spec. If you get exactly what you got for faster or cheaper, you will pay for it.
If you want to build a marketing asset, you need to invest in a good Logo and connection with your potential clients. If people care, you have your brand.
Does your Logo Matter?
It matters less than your designers want it to, but more than most people realize. If a brand is our mental shorthand for the promise that you make, then a Logo is the post-it reminder of that promise. Without a brand, a Logo is meaningless.
If you make a Logo list which you admire, the prediction will be that the Logo you have chosen is a brand that you admire, not because the Logo is well designed. No one will pick a Logo of a brand that ripped them off. This is because a logo is so wrapped up in the brand promise that we imbue them with all powers of the brand, ignoring all pixels involved. It is possible for a terrible Logo to adorn a fabulous brand, and many of the best brands have no identifiable or memorable logo (Google comes to mind).
But all this does not mean you should be careless when choosing your Logo. You should always pick a Logo that helps speak your brand, and that can work on all types of media. But mostly, pick a Logo that you don't spend a ton of money on or have a lot of meetings about, and keep it for as long as you keep your first name.
You might be losing potential customers on Google Ads without knowing it. How? By using basic copy on Google Ads (previously known as Google AdWords). Google Ads is one of the most trusted and reliable advertising networks on the web. Over 70% searches happen on Google Ads and the search behemoth is not slowing down.
Google Ads recently made some changes by offering more room to adjust expanded text ads. So using this network effectively is one of the key components to growing your business. We have seen benefits of good Google Ads copy and we have seen how bad copy can drag down a business. The Google Ads need to make potential customers to take action. With better copy, your quality score goes up, which both lowers costs and puts you in front of more clients. Here are a few tips on how to create click-inducing Google Ads copy.
Match your landing page and URL to your Google Ads copy
One of the keys to bringing up the quality score on Google Ads is making sure your ad copy matches the landing page copy. Lack of consistency is a killer of conversions, no matter what the context.
If you are advertising free shipping and you send your potential client to a landing page that does not even mention it, you have failed, no matter how good the copy on the page might be. Think of your Google Ads as laying out the benefit of your landing page. Both need to have the same theme which means optimizing them for the same keyword.
Do not use dynamic keyword insertion on Google Ads
Dynamic Keyword Insertion is a technology that allows Google to insert the exact keyword the customer searches for in your ad copy. The problem is, it doesn't seem like it's usually the way to go. It sounds great in theory by showing your customer exactly what they are looking for, but in practice, it actually can hinder your ad creativity, which is the exact opposite of what you are trying to do.
Use SKAG for your Google Ads copy
SKAG stands for Single Keyword Ad Group. Google Ads recommends five to twenty keywords per group, but this does not seem to be the most effective method of reaching customers. You only have a small amount of space in Google Ads text, and fitting all suggested keywords into the same ad is impossible. You are also going to run into the issue with relevance. You should focus on taking one keyword and optimizing it.
Find your best-producing keywords and add each keyword to its own ad group. Use an exact match, phrase match and broad match on each. Then create Google Ads that use the exact keyword. Use the keyword in both your headline and your page URL, and be consistent with your landing page as discussed earlier.
Be benefit-focused in your copy
When you are writing Google Ads content, you have to keep in mind that the average attention span is only eight seconds and that is not a lot. If you are not offering something that grabs attention, why would they pay attention?
What do you bring to the table that your competition does not? You need to keep an eye on your competition and find out what you can do that they do not. Be specific as there are thousands of advertisers out there saying "Free" and "Save" and "Buy Now". These Google Ads will get good results, but the best copy is specific, for example, "33 percent off your next order" or "five percent interest rates". Use numbers and cold, hard facts as well as your power words.
Use emotional appeal
Buying decisions always come from a change in emotional state. The six main emotions that drive sales are
Greed: I'll be rewarded for making a decision now
Fear: If I don't make a decision now, something bad will happen
Altruism: My decision now will help others
Envy: My competitors will win if I don't make a decision now
Pride: I'll look smart for making a decision now
Shame: If I don't make this decision now I'll look stupid
To find out which of these has the most emotional appeal to your audience, you will need to do market research. Look at every successful as out there - there may be concrete information that anchors emotional appeal, but to grab attention, a successful ad must trigger emotion.
Always use a strong Call To Action on your Google Ads.
You have focused on a single keyword, and you are giving the benefits and using emotional appeal to grab attention. What is next? Your potential customer is on the hook, you have to set it. If you do not give them something to do, they will not follow through so do not forget about your Call To Action. You need a punchy sentence to end your ad and make sure they click through to your landing page.
Here is what you need
A strong command verb - Buy, Shop, Download, Subscribe, Find Out. Avoid "click" as this has shown is not strong enough to cause conversions.
Emotion-provoking language - Exclamation points are surprisingly useful for this, this is why you see them used everywhere.
Give them a reason - Why should they do this?
Create urgency - While you can, now, today, here. Adding urgency increases the likelihood to get a click.
Gotfunk does various steps in accordance with the above as just doing the copy is not nearly enough. You need to prune out keywords, remove areas that are not relevant and so much more. It takes a lot of work and this is why you need to hire a professional to manage and maintain your Google Ads.
5. Packaging Graphic Design
Most product require some form of packaging to protect and prepare them for storage, distribution and sale. Packaging communicates directly to consumers, which makes it an extremely valuable marketing tool. Packaging Designers require expert knowledge of the print process and keen understanding of industrial design and manufacturing. Packaging design touches many disciplines, so designers find themselves creating other assets such as photography, illustrations and visual identity. Their work requires top-notch conceptual and problem-solving skills in addition to strong working knowledge of print and industrial design.
6. Motion Graphic Design
Motion Graphics are graphics that are in motion. This includes animation, audio, typography, imagery, video and other effects that are used in online media, television and film. This is somewhat a new specialty for Graphic Designers. Motion graphic designers begin by developing a storyboard and then bring their concepts to life with animation, video and traditional art.
7. Environmental Graphic Design
Environmental Graphic Design visually connects people to places to improve their overall experience by making spaces more memorable, interesting or easier to navigate. Examples include signage, wall murals, public transport navigation and retail store interiors. Environmental Graphic Design is a multidisciplinary practice that merges graphic, architectural, interior, landscape and industrial design. Because of this, designers typically have education and experience in both Graphic Design and architecture. Environment Graphic Design has produced static print pieces, but digital interaction displays continue to rise in popularity as a means of creating a more engaging experience.
8. Art and Illustration for Graphic Design
Graphic art and illustration are often seen as being the same as Graphic Design, but each is different. Designers create compositions to communicate and solve problems, graphic artists and illustrators create original artwork. Even though graphic art and illustration are not technically types of Graphic Design, but so much is created for commercial use within the context of Graphic Design that you no longer cannot talk about one without the other.