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You’ve almost certainly heard the adage, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” While that may not always be exactly true, what is true is that visual content should be part of a marketing strategy. That’s especially true when it comes to social media, where graphics can catch the attention of users in a way that words sometimes can’t. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to start using visual elements on your website, on your blog or in social media posts. However, learning the basics can be a great way to get started and be successful in this area.

Graphic Design: The Basics

Alignment and Balance

One of the key aspects of design is alignment. Alignment simply means that all the elements of the design are lined up appropriately and are in correct proportion to one another. Incorrect alignment can look haphazard, and it can ruin an otherwise attractive professional website or graphic. If you’re an infographic maker, for example, ensure that all the elements are placed in the right spot. If there is too much activity on one side of the graphic, or elements are not lined up straight, it won’t be visually pleasing. Balance is also critical, especially when you’re sharing images on social media platforms like Instagram or Pinterest.

Alignment and Balance

Color and Contrast

Adding colored visuals to written content can increase readership by a significant percentage. Knowing this, it is obvious that most marketing professionals, business owners, and designers will want to gravitate toward color whenever possible. Keep in mind that from a psychological perspective, certain colors can help you achieve certain objectives. Blue, for example, is a color often used by banks. That’s because blue subconsciously conveys feelings of peace and security. Green is associated with health and wealth, red indicates urgency, and yellow can be both optimistic and creative. Just as important as color is contrast. This can refer both to contrasting colors and the difference between dark and light in the visual content. High and low contrast color schemes tend to be less appealing, so aim for somewhere in the middle.

Color and Contrast

The Value of Visual Content


Visual content is valuable for a number of reasons. To start, people are more likely to remember your brand, your product, or your services when they see visual content paired with text. Plus, visual content is far more engaging than text-only content. In social media, engagement is all about the response you get to your content. Higher engagement is nearly always a desirable thing, and visual content can help you get there faster. Visual content is also more likely to be shared, increasing the reach of your campaign without any additional effort or expense on your behalf.

The Shareable Factorof Visual Content


As you’re creating visual content, don’t forget about the share factor. The reason that visual content is so popular has a lot to do with how it spreads. When internet users like a great photo or a fascinating infographic, they will share it with their own friends. That expands the reach of your content, generating more interest, increased brand awareness and a boost in your web traffic. Make sure your visual content is easy to share on social media platforms.

 
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Types of Graphic Design Content


There is no single type of visual content that works best. In fact, using a variety of content types is often recommended. This keeps things diverse and interesting for your audience, and it allows you to experiment with the best way to connect with your readers or your customers. Take a closer look at some of the most popular types of visual content you can create.

 

Step 1

Photos:

Perhaps the most obvious form of visual content is the photograph. If you are a photographer or you have someone in-house who does photography, you can easily use original photos for your visual content. However, you can also use an image finder to locate stock photos or even original, unused photos instead. Knowing how to order images is key for any designer.

 

Step 2

Videos:

As internet speeds get faster, the use of video content becomes increasingly popular around the world. There are many types of video content that you can create, but some of the most popular varieties are live videos and short videos. Live videos are a way to show your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your business. Short videos, especially with captions, can be watched quickly on social media.

 

Step 3

Infographics:

An infographic is a combination of data and visual imagery. It usually contains multiple elements, each of which combines a graphic with a key piece of information. An infographic maker needs to have a keen sense of design because visual appeal is a big part of an infographic’s success.

 

Step 4

Text on Images:

Another way to combine graphics and text is by overlaying text onto an image. If your business targets a younger demographic or you’re involved in the world of pop culture, then memes could be appropriate. Otherwise, motivational quotes on beautiful photographs or just quotes and reviews on a colorful background can be more impactful than text alone.

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A tip for finding images

Using an image finder online, it’s easy to come across countless images, photos, and icons. However, not all images you see on the internet can be legally and freely used in commercial campaigns. It’s important to know how to order images that can be used in everything from Instagram content to infographics. There are typically two options for finding images. First, you could pay a monthly fee to access images, but that might be more than you need to spend. The second option is to just pay for those images that you need.

 
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Graphic Design Briefings: Getting the Most out of Your Order

 

Step 1

Classifying the Project

A great design brief always starts with classifying the project at hand. Are you looking for a shareable, colorful infographic? Or do you just need a blog post that contains images? Make sure that you are clear about exactly what kind of project you’re hoping to receive. This ensures that the final product is what you’re looking for, and it also gives creators the confidence they need to take on the project. Unclear directions in a briefing are one of the most common reasons that creatives opt to skip a job offer for a particular client. If you need a set number of characters or a set number of words, be upfront about it. This helps define the parameters of the project in a clear and unambiguous way.

 

Step 2

Setting the Tone

Your design briefing should also specifically set the tone for the project. If a creative is making a slideshow presentation for a B2B campaign, it will probably be formal and educational. That’s very different from the tone for a youth-focused brand hoping to go viral. One way to set the tone is to choose the point of view: First person, second person, or third person. Then, choose whether slang is encouraged, contractions are recommended, or casual text is approved. Another way to specify the tone in a briefing is to link to an existing website. If you already have a social network profile or a blog, let designers take a look. This helps others to clearly see what kind of voice, tone, and brand image you’ve already set for your company.

 

Step 3

Comparable Projects

It’s common for a business or a client to have a specific project and outcome in mind but struggle to find the words to describe it. If your design brief isn’t specific enough, you might not get the result you’re hoping for. A great way to be clear about what you expect is to highlight a comparable project. If your company has already undertaken a similar project, include it in the design brief. Adding a link to an existing infographic, for example, highlights exactly what you like. You can also link to a competitor who has the look or project you’re planning to achieve. While skilled designers won’t copy the work of your competitors, they can draw inspiration from the look. In a design brief, specificity is key. Whether you’re talking to an infographic maker or a writer who needs to include a few photos, be as clear as possible in the briefing.

 

Step 4

Outline Whether Graphics Are Needed

Often, businesses seek writers to craft the text for an infographic. However, it is important to specify whether writers also need to find images. If so, you can suggest an image finder or online resource that you already trust. Keep in mind that writers don’t necessarily know how to order images your project. If you have a specific need, it might be best to source the images yourself. Alternatively, you could ask writers to offer their suggestions for a graphic. While your marketing team can source or buy the graphics as needed, they can work on the suggestions of a writer. You can’t create a viral infographic without the graphics, so make sure you’re clear in the briefing about the plan for finding and using images.

 

Step 5

Set the Deadline

Last, but certainly not least, is the deadline issue. Make sure that you set a hard and fast deadline for each order you place. This ensures that creatives work quickly and have your work back to you in time. Many clients also take it one step further and build in a day or two of extra time. If you need an infographic by the end of the business day on Friday, for example, you could set the deadline for Wednesday. That allows for any last-minute hiccups, delays, or other issues that might slow down the publishing process. If you’re working with international writers or designers, specify your time zone as needed. This can clear up any confusion about deadlines right from the beginning.

 
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