Good design makes people FEEL. It captivates, connects with an audience, and imparts brand identity in a way words cannot. Great design combines logos, color schemes, font choices, and striking imagery to leave a lasting impression and draws prospects into becoming clients.
A brand’s initial impression is based on the quality of its visuals. Great graphic design can produce a unique visual style that embeds your brand’s identity firmly in the minds of consumers. Graphic designers are masters of visual communication who convey complex concepts with a single picture. A great graphic designer can turn mundane images into engaging works of art that leave a lasting impression on consumers and pushes the creative direction of your brand.
Graphic Design is performed by design professionals who rely on specialized tools (such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.) to convey information in an engaging and professional way. Designers combine many elements to create sophisticated documents, including logos, color palettes, fonts, vectors, and other imagery. The right approach to graphic design imparts an impression on your audience that will be remembered, an impression that speaks of your company’s skill and character. The wrong approach does none of these things and carries the risks of undoing the fragile trust you have built with your audience.
Your marketing collateral is the face of your company. In fact it goes deeper than that – it is the soul of your company. Every time you place something in front of the customer your company ethos is on display. Anything that bears your name needs to express the quality of your products and services, and leave a lasting impression on the customer. Great graphic design does just that, and Arc Reactions does great graphic design. We believe in the artistry of blending stunning imagery with your company message to craft a ‘story’ that resonates with consumers. Graphic design is the ultimate expression of your brand, and determines how credible or professional your company is.
In a world where first impressions mean everything, sharp, eye-catching imagery is a necessity. Proper graphic design is often the difference between being seen and being heard. If any of these issues apply to you, professional graphic design can help:
• Your current graphics are outdated
• Your current graphic style does not coincide with your brand
• Your marketing collateral is sending mixed messages
• Your current style clashes too much with established competitors
• You are going through a rebranding process
If you want to give your business personality and flair there’s nothing easier and more direct than good graphic design.
This is a great question and boils down to two considerations:
1.) The ability of the image to convey your message
Photographs have the power to affect people, but only the right image has the power to motivate people. Stock imagery is great for an emerging company as they can provide an excellent range of good quality images at a low cost. The downside to stock photos is that it becomes hard to capture the essence of a service business or find photos of a niche industry. The key to successfully using stock images is to ensure they do not have the feel or look of stock images in the final media. If you can find images that adequately express your company brand and focus on the message you want to convey then stock images are a viable option.
However, it might be the case that the images that you need to represent your unique product or service are not available in stock photos. In this case, your only option is to have professional photographs taken. Professional photographs lend credibility to your brand, and let you showcase your product or service the way you want it to be seen.
Graphic design unifies your brand. By painting all your marketing collateral with the same brush, you create a sense of cohesion within your company image. A cohesive image allows consumers to identify your brand across different media based on the visuals alone. This recognition gives the consumer an idea of what to expect from promotional material before even reading it. For instance, Company X values prestige above all else and successfully translates that trait into a succinct visual style. Consumers will then subconsciously connect the feeling of prestige to any marketing materials Company X sends out simply by looking at the imagery and motifs of the collateral; thereby increasing the inherent value of all marketing collateral.
A design brief is a set of parameters for the graphic design team. It instructs the designers on what is expected from the final design and gives them goals to aim for. The design brief will cover inspiration, feel, content, the desired outcome, and the goal. It will give detailed instruction on colour palette, font, layout, and images so that the designers have a framework to build from. This speeds up the design process and avoids costly mistakes. A design brief is critical to a more complex project, especially if more than one decision maker is involved. It guides the designers and the client through the project, making sure everyone is aware of the goal and how to get there. It is a document that is signed off before work is begun and provides the direction needed to produce the desired result. Consultation is needed to create it, and it may take a series of consultations or adaptations to make the correct design brief.
Graphic Design is akin to a delicate ecosystem, where every piece and every element, no matter how insignificant it may seem, plays a critical role in ensuring the success of the final product. This means that each aspect of the design needs to be well-thought out and must have a pre-determined purpose.
Why are fonts important?
The font you choose to represent your brand speaks volumes about your company. A font can be classic, strong, contemporary and can convey any range of emotions. Whichever font you pick will be invariably linked with your company for a long time so make sure the font you use is readable, expressive and creates the right kind of impression.
Using the chosen font throughout your collateral will add a cohesive element to your branding, and will strengthen the unity of your brand. You also need to choose a font that will “agree” with internet browsers, as the wrong font will not display the text properly and appear as a series of meaningless code. This not only creates a nightmare scenario for designers and developers but makes your company look highly unprofessional.
Why are icons important?
Icons are visual representations of universal concepts. They are simple images that are easy to interpret and provide a visual reference to the reader for the content that follows. For instance, if you are creating a page with information about the different services you offer
Why is imagery important?
Images are the most expressive element of graphic design and therefore require the most time and effort to get right. The perfect image not only makes a page more attractive but can accentuate the content that it accompanies. Images provide a way for designers to convey complex ideas in a simple fashion, they break up the monotony of text-heavy pages, suggest themes and emotions that affect consumer perceptions and add personality to your brand.
Why is layout important?
The layout is an often criminally overlooked aspect of graphic design. In essence, layout is the foundation on which all other elements are built. The purpose of a layout is to guide the reader through content in a natural and unassuming manner. It provides atmosphere to the “story” the content is trying to tell and makes it easy for a reader to skim a page or deep dive as necessary. A well-executed layout draws the reader in and keeps them informed and engaged.
Why are color palettes important?
Color, more than any other element, is the one aspect that is most closely associated with a company’s identity. What is Coca Cola without the red and white? Would McDonald’s be McDonald’s in any other color than red and yellow? The importance of color choice cannot be underestimated. There is a reason that so many studies exist detailing the psychological effects that colors have on people’s perceptions. Simply put, colors evoke raw emotions. A well-developed color palette strengthens the emotional connection between your brand and consumers. By developing that connection, your company can lay claim to a particular color scheme, bringing untold value to your brand.
There are many arenas of graphic design, which can be broken down into categories and sub categories:
Commercial Print Designer:
Commercial print designers specialize in producing printed items. They require the skills of a layout designer, illustrator, creative typographer and color designer. They create brochures, business cards, flyers, banners, postcards, tickets, tarpaulins, etc., right down to wedding invitations.
Publication designers are responsible for producing larger brochures, magazines, comic books and books, and their specialty is to design around words. They are highly specialized in creative typography and illustration and produce high quality niche designs.
Multimedia designers are another niche graphic design profession, and hone their skills on animation, video editing, digital media, visual effects, motion design, and mixed media graphics. These graphic design professionals have a great eye for detail, and are versed in a wide range of skills including illustration, design, font design, and motion layout.
Marketing designers focus on advertising. They require the skills of a layout designer, illustrator, creative typographer and color designer to create marketing collateral and marketing campaigns. These graphic designers assist clients in company image and brand development.
The skills required to support all these different graphic design functions are:
Specializes in making sure the visual appeal and flow of the media is optimized and draws in users. They create the structure for the content and dictate the restrictions in size and placement.
Specializes in creating new and custom drawings for content for graphic design. They range from sketches, icons, caricatures, vectors – anything unique that is needed to augment the design. They are highly skilled in artistic interpretation.
Expressive or Creative Typographers:
All content needs words or text and typographers create the fonts for those words. These graphic designers are specialists in hand written or digitally created fonts and turn words into an art form.
These colour consultants understand colour and can advise on the mood, effect, expression and impression of colour in a design.
Manipulation or Optimizing Designers:
These are specialists in manipulating images, such as hue evaluation and airbrushing, to make sure the images used are at their most effective.
Digital or Flash Designer:
These graphic designers specialize in digital design, such as websites, banners, and web advertising.
Graphic designers can be specialized into one niche or can be skilled across a number of disciplines. The key is that they are focused, driven, skilled and educated, and can understand what you want in your company brand.
There are many ways the final design can be delivered to you and that has a lot to do with the media, the way it will be used, and customer preference. A digital file is optional, but is highly recommended, as it is a great reference tool and easily sharable. Some graphic design projects need to be delivered as digital files so that they can be adjusted by the customer. For example, digital presentations include greyed out areas to place images and text boxes for you to customize the content. Another example are business card templates, which allow you to change the name and contact details to your liking.
Our proofs are provided in high resolution Jpeg files to give you an idea of what the final product will look like. The proof is a mockup of potential colours, font choices, and layouts to help you visualize your collateral. It gives you a basis on which to make decisions about how the collateral fits with your company image and branding. We offer a diverse selection of proofs for all the collateral we create except for design intensive projects (brochures, websites, etc.). For those projects, we create a single page to be proofed to keep the design costs down. All text must be proofed for context, spelling, and grammar prior to being used.
There is an ocean of software tools in the graphic design industry, but the most prevalent is the Adobe Creative Suite:
Photoshop and Illustrator are extremely versatile in creating visuals that are both high-quality and easily modifiable. These programs, while simple to use, require a great deal of skill to utilize effectively and maximize their potential. Photoshop and Illustrator are every graphic designer’s ‘go to’ when beginning a design simply due to the level of control you have over basic layouts, text and images.
InDesign is a common tool used to produce printed media, as it comes preloaded with many templates for printed marketing collateral.
Premier Pro and After Effects are both valuable video production tools that give the versatility needed to create professional-quality videos.
To maximize the use of the design hours on your project you need to know what you want, and by that we mean REALLY know what you want. By providing us with a detailed creative direction for your project, it allows us to focus our efforts on the areas you deem most important. This, in turn, speeds up the process and streamlines the design. Take the time to consider other options as sometimes the exploratory approach yields surprising results that are more suitable for your company brand or image.
A brand is the company you are. It is a mixture of an identifying company image and how you run your business. It exemplifies your quality, how you do your business and how you value your customers, all in one recognizable identity. It’s who you are, how people perceive you, and the values you represent.
Graphic design is a tool that helps you create that image; it adds colour, personality, and life to what would otherwise be a drab, faceless company. Graphic design adds increased value to your brand by creating a connection with a strong visual style. For example, Coca Cola’s graphic design is so potent that any white text on a red background immediately evokes thoughts of their company. The actual product contains neither color and yet that association always comes through. That is the power of graphic design; to add color and memorability to a brand
One of the most useful ways of tracking graphic design ROI is to use “ceteris paribus”, more commonly known as A:B testing. “Ceteris paribus” is the notion of comparing two items with all things being equal and evaluating their success. By creating two pieces of collateral in the same media - for example, two advertisements - you can compare the performance of ad A to the performance of ad B and track the success of the design and the ROI. By comparing the preferences of your audience (as opposed to the preferences of the decision maker) through A:B testing, you can produce collateral in alignment with the needs of your customers and increase their efficacy. It provides a baseline to work from and gives guidance on what needs to be done to best reach out and get a return on your collateral.
The ROI on graphic design is easy to identify, due to its similarity to branding ROI. By stylizing your company image you are creating a connection with customers and potential consumers. With the amount of choice in digital commerce the first impression is the only impression, so your company image must outperform your competition’s, and not just some of your competition – all of your competition. A well-branded company armed with brilliant graphic design can cut through the white noise of the Internet, leading to a noticeable increase in traffic AND a higher conversion rate online and offline. People are visual creatures that assimilate information and make decisions based on what they see. So, creating attractive and enticing images is crucial to the success of your business.
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Are you ready to create something amazing? Have questions about design or promoting your business? We’re happy to help!
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