Better Marketing by (Graphic) Design:
Improve Your Marketing Effectiveness with Professionally-Designed Materials
For some reason, many business owners who don’t hesitate to invest in marketing suddenly balk at spending money on graphic design. Countless websites, ads and other graphics are outsourced to high school- or college-age friends or family members as if graphic design is a skill inherent in anyone under the age of 21. And the advent of desktop publishing has made design tools so widely available, anyone with a computer can come up with something they call “design.” But the fact is, you can tell a professionally-designed piece from one produced by an amateur. And so can your customers. Read on to find out how good design can lead to better ROI for your next marketing piece—and how to achieve it.
Imagine…Better Marketing Made Easy.
In this email, the latest in a series from Signs By Tomorrow designed to help you be more effective at marketing your business, we break down the elements of design so you can more confidently evaluate your graphics – and ensure they lead to someone choosing your product or service over a competitor’s.
A critical component of any design is the type treatment. Choosing the right typeface or font, correctly sizing and spacing it and making sure it is legible in context are critical to the success of your piece. For instance, what looks great on your computer screen may be tiny on an oversized banner, or loom larger than life when printed out. Additionally, remember when you’re sending something electronically, unless you save it as a PDF it can look different if the recipient doesn’t have the same font installed. Finally, don’t go crazy and use 10 fonts in one piece. A good rule of thumb is to use one typeface for headlines and another for body text.
Color is another element that can make a dramatic impact. Here again, the way a color looks onscreen (a three-color spectrum of red, green and blue) can vary dramatically from a four-color process such as that used in printing. Colors can even look different depending on whether they are printed on coated or uncoated material. For the most accurate results, try the Pantone Matching System, which ensures your print partner knows exactly what color you want. Ask if your vendor uses any color matching equipment to ensure that your colors are consistent across media (SBT does!). The Pantone website also provides a great resource for staying up on current color trends – did you know the 2013 Color of the Year is Emerald?
Tips for Choosing and Working With a Graphic Designer
- Ask to see their portfolio, or samples of different projects they have worked on
- Make sure you like their overall design sense/style
- Request referrals and ask the provided referrals not just about the end product, but the process
- Discuss budget up-front so you have a mutual understanding of what is realistic
- Don’t automatically go with the lowest hourly rate. A more experienced designer may charge more per hour but work faster, yielding better quality and a lower price in the long run.
- Show them samples of marketing pieces you do and don’t like
While type and color play a vital role in the look and effectiveness of your graphics, they are ultimately just pieces in the final puzzle or “layout” of the piece. Lines can be added to divide space or direct the eye. Shapes assist in establishing layouts and creating patterns. Images draw us in or evoke emotion. White space—or the absence of it—can call attention to certain elements and change the overall feel and tone. Together, the positioning of all these elements should work to reinforce your brand, successfully communicate the desired message and inspire a reaction.
Last to be addressed but not last in the process is choosing the media for your design. Is a fabric banner the way to go, or would an engraved sign be more appropriate? Often businesses run a multi-media campaign that may include print advertising, an online presence and physical signage or graphics to support the message. The importance of identifying the media upfront so the graphic design can work across the board can’t be overstated.
There are dozens of other elements to consider when designing a piece, but this should give you some preliminary food for thought. For more specific graphic design tips, look for our upcoming white paper coming later this month.
And when you are putting together your next marketing piece, turn to a professional to ensure the best results and a smooth process. Contact Signs By Tomorrow at 877-728-7446 or use our Store Locator to speak with one of our on-staff designers or for a recommendation for a design professional or agency near you.