Good graphic design is more than just creating pretty pictures; it’s a marriage between business and art, making it the business of visual communication.
Creating meaningful design solutions is about first taking the time to consider facts, perceptions, ideas, psychology and the buying behaviours of consumers. Any graphic designer that doesn’t realize this — or worse yet, doesn’t tell you this — is selling you something else and it is pretty stinky.
There are five key components to effective graphic design that encourages instant credibility, inspires confidence and trustworthiness and helps to clearly and concisely communicate your point to your audience.
As the successful American entrepreneur, author and marketer Seth Godin states: A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.
DESIGNER NOTE: Effective design is just the first step in establishing and maintaining a successful brand. Branding means more than simply creating good visuals, it’s about creating a consistent experience.
 Target Audience
It’s important to have a clear sense of your target audience in order to establish clear goals and objectives for a graphic designer to work with. The scope of the project obviously determines the depth in which strategies are developed, however, in order to make good design decisions, your graphic designer needs to understand your business, your goals and your audience.
DESIGNER NOTE: These elements drive the design and are crucial factors in how your graphic designer approaches the next three key elements.
Designers are well versed in the psychology of colour — why people resonate toward certain colours and how colours work together in layout. Colours mean different things to different people and have different connotations in different cultures and countries. Creating the right first impression is essential in design development because consumers make split second, and often subconscious, decisions. For instance, choosing a shade of green when targeting organic foodies will be more effective than choosing macaroni and cheese orange.
DESIGNER NOTE: It’s important to remember that a colour chosen online will look slightly different offline so always be sure to view the appropriate proofs before giving final approvals to any design.
Typography (also known as font, typeface or text) is often an underrated element in the design process. However, done right and the chosen typeface pairs beautifully with the layout and becomes unobtrusive; done wrong and the chosen font becomes a detriment to your professional image and a negative mark against your brand. For instance, a high-powered Bay Street company shouldn’t use curly, fun fonts on financial statements but those beautiful fonts do have a time and place in say, a wedding planning business.
DESIGNER NOTE: There is never a time or place to use Comic Sans. It looks like it was drawn by kids and it is for kids! Don’t be a Comic Sans criminal.
There is nothing more powerful than using stunning photography and artful illustration to set your business apart from the crowd. Like typography, photography and illustration set a mood. And capturing a mood that will attract your target audience is key to increasing awareness, building and sustaining customer loyalty and increasing your bottom line. Great photography tells a story without words and using illustrative components as part of your logo identity and marketing materials creates a unique presence.
However, investing in custom illustrations and photography is not always a viable financial or logistical option. Your designer has the resources and know-how to find the best solutions to meet your objectives.
DESIGNER NOTE: Web images can never be used without permission. There are legal ramifications to ‘stealing’ someone else’s artistic property without properly crediting them.