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Graphic design is critical to the success of public relations and marketing professionals. After all, no matter how great our ideas to promote our clients are, it’s the ability to attract the general public that gets us noticed.
Whether reading a magazine, driving past a billboard, scrolling through Instagram or purchasing a new pair of shoes – we take pause and pay attention to beautiful design.
Strong, impactful visuals make an impression. They engage us with branded experiences and environments, and they influence our daily decision-making processes.
As PR professionals, we may be experts at media relations, key messaging and corporate communications. Yet, we live in a visual society. With social media channels hungry for visual content, the ability to develop engaging imagery has become an essential skill for marketers and PR pros.
Here are five things you need to know about graphic design to be competitive in today’s visual society:
1) Brand Guidelines
The best way to maintain consistency with the graphics your brand uses is to build internal brand standards and guidelines right away.
Effective brand guidelines have three traits:
- Inform what your brand is and how to effectively implement it; whether it’s an employee, a member of the media, or a graphic designer.
- Inspire the team to show what’s possible with the brand.
- Must be strictly enforced.
Without a great brand, companies are faceless, lifeless entities.
Brands give a corporation personality. A brand’s personality should be represented in the identity guide, as this will help the team really make the brand’s voice their own. The identity guide will also establish a solid foundation for all future brand content.
2) Designer Relationship
You should be able to work with graphic designers and ask for what you want in design, even if it’s vague.
Having an appreciation for the process and knowing the mechanics of graphic design can help you have a successful, collaborative relationship with the people who are breathing life into your ideas. Know what you like and be able to constructively talk about what you don’t.
Trust the designer to do his or her job and add value. Understand the value of design in delivering a solution. Skilled designers use graphics to meet goals in unique, often unexpected ways. Have confidence in their abilities and communicate openly in order to your achieve your goals.
3) Power Of Visual Communication
Graphic design displays and enhances messages in a way that garners attention.
Find a successful combination of content and design to best promote key objectives and brand identity. With identity comes mind share and that leads to market share.
- Informs & persuades – quickly and powerfully
- Tells a story – a photo release and caption can be an effective platform for news. For many press and social media consumers, photos and captions are the most convenient content.
- Maximizes infographics – infographics are extremely popular these days and get picked up when done right. They make quality web content for owned channels.
- Makes the leap to video & animation – for multimedia kits and presentations, rich web content, conference materials, etc.
4) Global Mindset & Visual Culture
The world is becoming a small place. The maturation of the PR business on a global basis will continue and those that have the global mindset will be rewarded.
With many brands crossing borders and becoming truly global, your media content may need to be tailored by audience. Colors and symbols can have unexpected meanings in different cultures.
Identify the trending and acceptable design styles in the markets you reach and be open to inspiration from international perspectives.
At the same time, it’s important to develop a deep understanding of your local markets and the ability to think about audiences in a local way. Know your audiences and how to engage with them through design.
5) Talented Designers
Seek talented designers that you can trust with your brand’s identity and integrity, and maintain positive working relationships with them, in order to keep everyone happy and competitive.
You can’t have graphic design without skilled graphic designers! Know them. Hire them. Appreciate them.
Design is more important to good business today than ever before.
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