Happy May! Here’s an article about how good graphics and design (and graphic design!) can push your marketing content to the next level.

http://www.brafton.com/news/graphics-news/top-graphic-design-trends-for-2016-marketing-usable-mobile-accessible/

As of this writing, image-centric sites like Instagram are growing faster than the likes of Facebook, and “tweets with images receive: 18 percent more clicks, 89 percent more favorites, [and] 150 percent more retweets.” Don’t have the money for Adobe Creative Suite? Not a problem! All types of image editing software, new and old, are now available for free or otherwise incredibly affordable rates, including Canva, Photoshop Fix, Pixlr, and Aviary.

And there’s no better time than now to start exploring career options as a designer: More and more marketing teams are hiring design specialists (thus freeing up existing staff to focus on non-design roles). In fact, “according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for graphic designers are expected to grow by 7 percent between 2012 and 2022.”

How has this growing emphasis on good visual design impacted the way marketing is done? Glad you asked. Let’s take a look at the mediums in which visuals have appeared throughout the last century. Newspapers and billboards, some of the earliest channels through which visual marketing could reach consumers, frequently used quite naturalistic representations of of things found in the real world (think Norman Rockwell).

You know...this guy

You know…this guy

Visuals in mass marketing were a new phenomenon at that point, and the most natural starting point tended towards the kind of visuals that viewers were already used to. That made consistent branding a challenge, however, as the artistic style of the artist could often become more of a focal point than the product itself.

http://cdn.barrett-jackson.com/staging/carlist/items/Fullsize/Automobilia/97927/97927_Auto_Front_3-4_Web.jpg

Television, particularly TV commercials, starting changing this. Now, with the constraints of a 30-second time slot, viewers needed to be able to identify a brand quickly, or otherwise miss what the product was in the first place (Still a challenge today. See: All those awesome Super Bowl commercials for some car I don’t remember). “Responsive design is leading designers to find a unified balance for all the graphics they make. It can be a major challenge to keep graphics as consistent… as possible to fit these widely ranging formats.”

Let’s jump ahead. Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 12.28.13 PM

What designs are common today, and why? Lately, it’s all minimalism. “Minimalism and flat sensibilities have cemented their role in graphic design for major brands because they can fit all formats, sizes, devices and media.” The article posts the evolution of branding elements for Google, Starbucks, Pepsi, Windows, and…. Batman, and it’s pretty clear that the designers chose to move away from representational imagery and more towards abstract stylings, while still preserving the iconic visual elements that consumers would have associated with the logo in the first place. Except the modern Batman symbol. That’s obviously what a real bat looks like.

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This is a lot of words for a simple idea: That sometimes less is more. Let’s move on to the article’s final point, that digital graphics are now inspiring a lot of real-world design rather than the other way around. “The days of skeuomorphism (the digital representation of real-world objects) are over for the most part… Instead of app icons designed to look like beveled, textured metal buttons, we’re more likely now to see billboards in the style of digital flat tiles, or business cards that look more like a website’s landing page than a piece of cardboard.” This doesn’t mean that minimalism or abstract imagery is always the way to go. Following trends without understanding why they work is always a good way to get in trouble. Learn your brand, and you’ll learn how best to market it visually too.

Have a good May and we’ll see you next time!

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