Effective Marketing Design – What It Is and Tips to Drive Conversions

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Words are powerful. But good design, it’s unstoppable. 🦸‍♂️

This is why, whether you’re marketing your brand or your clients’ to up your game, you need strong marketing design.

It only takes 5 to 7 impressions to start building brand awareness. But it’s visual messaging that people remember the most. The human mind recalls 65% of what it sees but only 10% to 20% of what it hears or reads.

But without a clear understanding of what marketing design is and what it can do, you’re not going to maximize its potential. Basically, you’re leaving money on the table.

And we know you don’t want to do that! 😉

The good news is, with a little knowledge and some design ingenuity, you can elevate your marketing strategy with design.

In this article, we’re sharing some of our best design tips and insights for marketers. So, let’s jump in and see what effective marketing design is all about.

What Is Marketing Design?

Marketing design is the creation of visual elements, such as the logo, social media images, animations, and designs for print materials, to cultivate a clear perception of a brand. The goal is to use graphic design to connect with a target audience, build trust, and, ultimately, drive conversions.

Graphic design plays a key role in marketing and advertising. It’s basically the heart of a company’s branding.

Why Design Matters

Visual marketing and design are about far more than making your brand look good. 🤓

With a consistent aesthetic style, colors, and visual personality, design will express what your brand is all about. This enables customers to become familiar with your company and, eventually, develop trust in it.

This all happens effortlessly for the audience because design operates on the subconscious level. For example, every color evokes a certain emotion:

  • Blue conveys trust.
  • Yellow symbolizes joy.
  • Purple creates a sense of luxury.

Each font and stylistic choice impacts the way people feel about your brand as well. The same goes for navigational features, layout, and other user experience (UX) design elements.

But to make it work, everything has to look good together.

What Good Design Does Not Look Like

When it comes to graphic design and marketing, every detail matters. This is true no matter what the design project is and how seemingly minor its role is.

All the small parts need to act holistically to achieve a specific, easy-to-define brand identity. Whether it’s:

  • Professional, trustworthy, and experienced
  • Innovative, data-driven, and agile
  • Friendly, down-to-earth, and young

All of these brand personality traits come through in the design.

And then every design piece — every infographic, brochure, social media image, and more — should convey this same feel. This cohesion is what introduces the customer to the who, what, and why of your brand. It’s what further builds the relationship. And it’s one of the most important factors in building brand trust.

Types of Design in Marketing

There’s no question, the world of marketing design is pretty big. So, to help you determine what you need, let’s start exploring the different areas.

Branding and Logo Design

Branding design refers to all the digital and print design a company uses to visually represent itself.

Sounds like the whole enchilada, doesn’t it? 😉

And it is, theoretically. Because you can make the argument that everything, from your business cards to your latest ebooks, represents the brand.

But to simplify things, branding design specifically refers to the design elements that make up a brand. The color scheme, typography, and other stylistic features used to convey brand identity.

Branding design is also the logo.

A company logo is basically the brand’s public name in symbol form. Nike’s swoosh. CBS’s creepy Illuminati eye. Apple’s apple. 😁

And logo design refers purely to logo creation. Then, once designed, you include your logo on almost all of your marketing materials, digital and physical. So, it should be amazing, professionally done, and something you’re proud to plaster all over your website.

Website Design

Another key area of marketing design is front-end website design.

Front-end refers to the parts of your website that are customer-facing — it’s what the site visitor sees.

This website design includes all the visual components that make up the company website.

Web design includes:

  • Desktop and mobile layout
  • White space
  • Typography for headlines and body text
  • Navigation menu design
  • Hero images
  • Background images and videos

Your website is basically your brand’s digital home base. While it lives online, it should complement the graphic design you use on print materials, packaging, and anything else in the “real world” that represents your brand.

Packaging Design

As far as brand building is concerned, packaging design is a critical area. Whether we’re talking about the package your physical product comes in or the download email or download page for your digital product, the “box” matters.

Product packaging design is your chance to further the desired impression of your brand.

It can include the choice of materials — for example, using recycled packaging to remind customers your brand cares about the environment or a velvet bag to demonstrate your commitment to quality at all costs.

The artwork used on your bag, box, or other material, is also part of the packaging design.

What’s important to remember about graphic design for packaging is that the best practices are more flexible. This is a little different than the case with web design or advertising design, where your designer is following a set of standards to ensure a good user experience.

UX still matters, but there’s more room for creativity. Fun, whimsical packaging, for example, can help your brand stand out.

Email Design

Email design is key to building relationships and connections with your audience.

When people sign up for your brand’s newsletter, they are expressing interest in your brand. This is a HUGE opportunity! These are the people who are likely to convert. Your lukewarm leads.

Now you can make them toasty warm with great email design. 🥰

Email design focuses on developing emails that tick a few essential boxes:

  • They are aesthetically pleasing to your target audience.
  • The messaging is clear.
  • Brand identity is clearly expressed.

In an email, the design should compel the viewer to take a certain action, such as clicking through to a blog post or following a link to browse products on your website.

Digital Advertisement Design

So far, we’ve focused on graphic design in a marketing context. But it ties into advertising as well.

Digital ad design refers to visual elements used in online ads — such as display ads, native ads, and email ads. It can include photo images, text, illustrations, and video.

The ads your company might put in apps, social media, on the sidebar of a website — sure, they are selling products and services. But they are also an expression of your brand voice.

This is why it’s so important to make sure the design in your ads is pro-looking. Attractive, relevant to your audience, and compelling. Otherwise, you’ll spend ad dollars without driving conversions.

Social Media Design

Social media design refers to any artwork you publish on your brand’s social profiles. The type of social media design you use depends on your audience, social media platforms, and your industry.

For example, a trendy bakery would leverage the visual power of Instagram to post mouthwatering photos of its treats, while a consulting agency might want animated visuals and infographics to promote its white papers on LinkedIn.

When developing your social media design strategy, keep the same style and color scheme you use for the rest of your graphic design.

You can also take some creative liberty to revolve the designs around each social site. For example, there are some things that work on Twitter or Instagram that wouldn’t be a good fit for your blog posts or email newsletters, so be sure to design for the channel.

Print Advertising Design

Brands are focusing less on print advertising today and more on digital. In 2019, US digital ad spend surpassed print for the first time.

But print is still important. You want customers to have a cohesive brand experience both online and off. And this is where exceptional design for magazine ads, newspaper ads, and physical marketing materials is critical, especially for reaching local audiences.

Whether you’re stacking promotional cards at local coffee shops to promote your business or buying ad space on public transport, print advertising design will help sell your brand.

Top Benefits of a Pro-Grade Marketing Graphic Design

So the question of the hour is — do you need to pay a pro designer? 🤓 🤨

The short answer: if you want to make an impact, absolutely! An experienced graphic designer can take your concept and goals and turn them into an eye-catching design that will resonate with your target audience.

A newbie or amateur designer may be able to make something look good. But without the ability to design for marketing, you’ll miss out on all the goodies of effective graphic design.

Let’s take a look at what those are.

Builds brand awareness

When people are aware of your brand, they are more likely to buy from you and to talk about your products and services. So what does brand awareness mean?

Is it having a recognizable logo? Achieving a positive memory so your customers think of your company the next time they make a purchase? Or maybe it’s garnering more social media followers on your business page?

It’s really all of the above and more. Building brand awareness is the ongoing process of making a mental connection with people through one positive impression after another.

And graphic design is at the heart of building brand awareness because it’s the visual that is the most recognizable and memorable.

Increases trust in your brand

As you continue building your design arsenal — your logo, web pages, social posts, print and packaging design, and more — each piece should convey your brand’s personality. This creates familiarity, which then builds loyalty and trust.

Brand trust isn’t just nice to have. It’s critical, especially for younger companies.

The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report found that trust is the second most important factor for consumers when deciding to buy from a new brand. (Curious what the top-rated factor was? Its affordability.)

To leverage graphic design for trust-building, work with the same designers when possible. This way, you’re more likely to have consistency across all your digital and printed marketing materials.

Boosts conversions

With pro-grade designs, you can count on more awareness, more trust, and more sales.

But making your brand more memorable isn’t the only reason why great design drives conversions.

A skilled graphic designer also knows how to ensure a good user experience. When done well, UX makes it easy for your viewer or site visitor to understand what next step to take to fulfill their need. This is true whether they are looking for specific info to help them make a purchase choice, or they want a pathway that lets them buy with confidence.

Well-placed call-to-action buttons, purposeful use of color, proper layout — all of these factors are what can turn your website, social media posts, brochures, and other brand assets into conversion driving machines.

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you need to drive conversions.

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Tips on How to Create Better Marketing Designs

Great design leads to great results. The best part is, once you get things going, the path becomes even smoother. More people know your brand, the level of trust is stronger, and you generate more word-of-mouth marketing. Which leads to more sales, more positive reviews, more awareness. And the beat goes on. 🎧

Now, let’s look at what you can do to power your brand’s marketing strategy with great design.

Here are 6 tips on how to up your design game:

Know your audience

To ensure your designs resonate with your audience, design for them.

How do you do that?

Know your audience.

  • What style do they prefer? Look at your demographics to gain an understanding of what your audience might gravitate toward.
  • What colors do they respond to? What fonts? Use A/B testing to compare the difference between two options and discover what works best.
  • What types of designs get the reaction you want — detailed illustrations, photos with people, without people, minimalist, edgy? You can use A/B testing in your emails, landing pages, social media marketing, and more to dig even deeper into what appeals to your audience.

Stay true to your brand

While tweaking your designs to revolve around customer preferences, don’t stray from the heart of your entire marketing strategy: your branding.

Stick to the color scheme, typography, logo, and other details that make up your branding design. This is your foundation.

When you do this, you create a seamless experience for your audience. This cohesion between social post, packaging design, web design, and more is what drives all that trust-building that comes with great design.

Keep it simple

One of the biggest mistakes amateur designers make is going overboard.

Too many colors. Too much detail. Too many cool illustrations packed into a 600 x 600-pixel space.

In marketing design, less is usually more. Stick to a limited color palette. Opt for two fonts or less. Use things like whitespace, a clean layout, subtle details, and other techniques to create designs that tell a clear story rather than overwhelming your audience.

Uncluttered design allows your audience to focus on what matters, whether it’s information about your product, next steps to reach a conversion, or a positive impression to help build trust and interest in your brand.

Use contrast to draw the eye

To help your designs stand out, use contrast. This includes color contrast, contrasting fonts, and contrasting styles.

Cherry red paired with muted grays. Whimsical illustrations paired with a traditional font. Bright and vibrant call-to-action buttons against black and white photography.

You can also contrast things like size, shape, and positioning. Contrast helps to direct the eye, which can help to lead the viewer to what you want them to see.

Define the purpose behind every design

Speaking of what matters, you should know the purpose behind each design before creating it.

What’s the end goal? What do you hope to achieve?

  • Loyalty
  • Sales
  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation

Think about what would work for each design project to achieve your goal.

If you want to convince someone to buy your product, you might use an attractive photograph of someone using it. If you’re trying to convince someone to sign up for your newsletter, graphic design can help to illustrate the journey you want a viewer to take when they land on your web page.

For product and packaging design, the focus might be on building trust. In this case, you might decide to design around your logo or to use a simple design that expresses your brand’s personality.

Knowing why you’re designing will lead the creative process. And it will help you end up with a design that’s effective.

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Keep evolving your design

There’s a lot that goes into ensuring your designs are making an impact. You need to know your audience, your brand, and test different design features.

You also want to keep an eye on trends and pioneering ideas in graphic design.

The reality is, what works today might not be as effective in a few years. Your audience’s tastes may evolve. Your current designs may start to appear dated.

New design techniques may help to freshen up your marketing design.

You shouldn’t necessarily chase trends or fill your marketing strategy with innovative designs that don’t align with your brand or audience’s tastes. But it is worthwhile to keep an open mind. Study where design is headed. And experiment with fresh color schemes, design techniques, and new styles.

When you put all of these tips together — and rely on professional graphic designers — you can get amazing results with your marketing designs.

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Stop Wasting Time (or Money) on Ineffective Design

The line between good and great is everything in visual marketing and design. The reality is, you can take the best marketing graphic design ideas, apply them to your strategy, and still not get results.

This is why it’s so important to be strategic with your marketing design. Have a plan. Know your audience, purpose, and goals. And, use professional-quality graphic design across all of your brand assets.

Visual Marketing and Design FAQs
1. What makes a good marketing design?

Good design consists of thoughtful use of color, white space, typography, shape, and contrast. Take it one step further, and great design helps your brand achieve a goal.

It also invites the viewer to step into the world of your brand, walk around, and get comfortable. This is because you’re creating a consistent visual experience that customers can recognize.

2. What are the 8 types of design?

All of the following fall under the umbrella of graphic design:

  1. Branding and logo design
  2. Print and publication design
  3. Website design
  4. User experience and user interface (UX/UI) design
  5. Animation design
  6. Data visualization and infographic design
  7. Typography design
  8. Graphic illustration
3. What is the difference between marketing and graphic design?

Marketing refers to all the tools a business uses to get the word out about its product and brand. Written content, promotional events, videos, ads, email newsletters, social posts — these are all channels a company can use to communicate with customers.

Graphic design is used in marketing. It, along with video production, is the visual aspect of marketing. Marketers use design to support what they’re saying through text, video, and audio, and to visually convey brand messaging.

4. What is the difference between marketing design and product design?

Marketing design refers to all types of graphic design used to promote a business and its products and to build customer relationships, trust, and loyalty for the purposes of selling something.

On the other hand, product design relates directly to the design for a product. Whether you’re talking about a car or a software program, an engineer will design the product. Then, the company might use marketing design to help sell that product.

Jan 20, 2022

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Brenna

A content writer and editor for over 12 years, Brenna spends her days (and nights!) creating content to help brands better connect with their audience.

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