The holy grail. Your one reference point to ensure a consistent, cohesive identity. But do guidelines always exist? And when they do, are they sufficiently detailed for the distribution channels of today? One thing is certain, clients know their brand and rarely do they want to see it change from one campaign to the next. Sure, they are passionate about new content but this content must represent the brand and their ideas. So, study and follow the brand guidelines when they are provided! The brand book will include everything from the kerning of a font to the precise HEX code of their colours – having these details on file as a reference point is recommended. Remember, their identity will mean everything to them and straying away from the brand they care about is likely to cause friction between yourself and the client..
It would be fair to say that the choice in colour scheme has the ability to significantly alter how an ad campaign is perceived. Marketers need to be familiar with the product/service/brand and understand the unique selling points and why it appeals to their audience. Marketers then need to communicate these points clearly to design teams so that an appropriate response can be defined. Think about whether the campaign should be image or word based – remember that pictures paint a thousand words, but words can change a story. When working with a healthy food company it might seem obvious to choose the colour ‘green’ that as it embodies nature, fitness and goodness but these things really are important. Similarly, you may wish to avoid ‘pink’ or ‘red’ as such colours may be perceived as a warning, dangerous or even unnatural. As a digital marketer it is vital you understand the importance of colour; in order to make an ad standout and also to convey the correct meaning for your client.
The font can make or break the aesthetics of a campaign. For any digital marketer you need to have the knowledge about what font choices are best suited for various marketing materials. The final product or medium may differ, indeed, it could be a brochure, video, animation, poster or flier and so it needs to work across differing formats. All fonts have their own characteristics and emotion and these need to compliment the campaign goal. Trends constantly change in graphic design and formats regularly develop in digital both so it’s vital that both teams keep a constant tab on what’s new as such things ensure competitive advantage. I’ve made the point already but the font is essential. Products need to be both recognisable and legible, whilst also representing the unique values of the brand.
Design trends change too, one minute simple and slick is the norm and then all of a sudden big, bright and bold is the newest trend. Digital marketers should consider keeping up to date on such trends as a key part of their role. They should give time to consider how changing trends might affect their clients and look to incorporate these points in future campaigns. A current design trend we have seen is the move towards authentic photography. By this I mean real, original imagery that delivers impact. That’s not to say it can’t be stock photography but the end result needs emotional impact. Avoid cheesy, generic stock photography at all costs!
Whether you realise it or not digital marketers and graphic designers have to deliver very similar results; for any business to thrive both must resonate with the right audience. You honestly do not need a fancy degree or even years of experience in the creative world to know the basic design concepts discussed above. So, you now have the essentials covered, what next? Read design blogs, follow designers and similar groups on social media, visit the myriad of design inspiration websites available and in general have an open mind and allow yourself to be inspired by the world around you.