Here’s the thing about social media: The quality of your content doesn’t really matter if that content doesn’t look really, really good. All your social media followers are busy and impatient – you need to catch their eyes ASAP. Fortunately, visual content is one sure-fire way to get their attention.That’s why establishing a visual brand is an absolute must.
Regardless of your industry, your design standards have to be appealing and consistent. Before you call up a graphic designer, here’s what you need to know about establishing a great-looking digital presence.
Why design is worth the investment
Good design helps build brand awareness and trust; a consistent aesthetic will establish your brand’s “personality” in the minds of your target audience members. A strong visual identity also helps you stand out from the crowd – take it from these brands.
Ultimately, creating the right visual brand for your company will help increase your audience size and engagement levels, both of which are crucial for meeting your business objectives.
How bad design hurts your brand
Using bad (or boring) graphic designs will obviously make it harder to win audiences over, but there are also some overlooked repercussions of bad visual branding that could zap the life out of your digital strategy:
- Too much text (a.k.a clutter) in your design probably means that none of it will get read by impatient readers, preventing you from getting your message across.
- On the other hand, choosing form over function – like unnecessary animation or cool-looking but difficult to read fonts – will seriously hurt your content’s usability. Yes, you want it all to look good – but it needs to be practical too.
- An unprofessional, out-of-date visual identity can lead people to believe that your company’s performance is out-of-date, too. It’s all about perception, after all.
Getting started on your new design strategy
Maybe your digital aesthetic is stuck in 2009, but you’re unsure of how to initiate an update. Kick off the project by following these steps:
- Do some market research to figure out what kind of aesthetic appeals to your target audience.
- Determine which colours best represent your brand. For example, if you’d like to highlight your organization’s environmental efforts, green might be a great option to include. There’s tons of research on colours and their psychological implications.
- Find examples of graphic design work you love. Don’t copy it, but use it as a tool to communicate your style to others.
- Decide on your key message – what do you want people to think and feel when they see your branded content?
- Set up a meeting with your graphic designer (or get some recommendations from trusted sources if you don’t have one).
Consistency is key
Your new visual design strategy should be consistent across all platforms. A rule of thumb: Keep it cohesive. When crafting your new look, remember to include your:
- Website (including your blog)
- Social media banner images and avatars
- Social media graphics
- Instagram story templates
If you have tangible marketing materials – signs, banners, thank-you cards, you name it – give them an update, too!
Ultimately, your visual design choices tell your brand’s story – so what kind of story do you want to tell?