Graphic design is powerful, far beyond pretty pictures and sleek tools and techniques. When done well, graphic design can elicit feelings and emotions that draw your audience closer to your brand. Warning: We’re about to get a little touchy-feely here.
Think about the last advertisement that made you feel something. Maybe you were motivated and energized by a Nike print ad in a magazine depicting a sweaty athlete, clearly working hard and reaching her goals. Or maybe Oreo’s “Stay Home, Stay Playful” COVID-19 campaign left you feeling lighthearted and thankful. Whatever it made you feel, it stuck with you because, on some level, you could understand and relate.
According to a recent study by CustomerThermometer, more than 65 percent of participants shared that being emotionally connected to a brand made them feel like the company or business cared about people like them. Graphic design is an important tool in creating connection, and it can do so in ways that brilliant copywriting or killer SEO can’t on their own.
As you look to create more meaningful designs that allow people to connect with your brand, here are some things to consider.
Set Yourself Up for Success
If you ask a designer for a display ad that meaningfully connects with your audience with a 2-hour turnaround, you’re unlikely to get what you hoped for. Good design starts early and requires more thought to do it effectively. Make sure you give yourself or your designer plenty of lead time to understand the audience, the message and the feeling you hope to evoke to create that connection.
Know Your Audience
This is the single most important thing when designing to create connection. People feel connected to a brand when they feel known and understood. If you don’t understand your audience – their lifestyle, their wants, their needs – how can you connect with them?
That’s why it’s so important to do your research and show your audience that you get them. This includes understanding your target demographic and making sure your design will both reflect them and appeal to them. Also consider your relationship with your audience. Do most of them already know about your brand, or are you new to this audience?
Design for Feeling
Consider how you want to connect with your audience – what you want them to feel. The feeling of a design can be altered through a variety of elements: color, soft or sharp lines, clutter or white space, typography, and many more.
Color plays a big role in evoking emotions, and scientific studies on this topic have trickled down into the hands of designers and marketers, giving them more to think about when selecting colors for logos and advertisements. Consider these examples of how logo colors are used by several recognizable brands to evoke emotions:
- Red - Bold, passion, love, exciting, action (e.g., Coca-Cola)
- Blue - Caring, trustworthy, calm, secure (e.g., Facebook)
- Yellow - Logical, forward-thinking, confidence (e.g., Commonwealth Bank)
- Green - Organic, growth, fresh, earth (e.g. Evernote)
- Orange - Happy, sociable, friendly (e.g., Hubspot)
- Black - Seductive, sophisticated, professional, elegant (e.g., Vertu)
- Multi-color - Playful, bold (e.g., Google)
Design for Clarity
Finally, there’s no connection without understanding. Clarity is key. Your design should be easy for someone to understand in a short glance. This means the right combination of a smart design and short, concise copy that play off each other. Make sure you also consider your audience in considering clarity. For example, if you expect to have viewers whose first language is something other than English, it’s important to design in such a way that the message will get across without relying on the copy.
Designing to connect with an audience takes another layer of thinking and strategy, but it’s well worth it, especially in today’s environment where consumers want to feel connected to the brands they give business to. At PRIME, we work with our partners to develop smart, powerful designs that leave an impact. If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to us.
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