Digital Marketing and Graphic Design – Where Will You Be When These Industries Collide?
A digital marketer’s job is to create something that converts well. Hmm, and that’s the exact same job as a designer, whether they know it or not…
The digital marketing field is growing fast, and what it means to be a digital marketer is changing at an alarming rate. Technological advancements in this new industry have created an accelerated environment, where what was true last month may not remain true in the next. We know that the future of the industry is heading towards hyper connectivity, hyper-focused marketing, and hyper-relevant content, and as we bear witness over the next 30 years of THE GRAND DIGITAL MARKETING CONVERGENCE, we will see many changes in the definition of what it means to be a marketer, designer, SEO consultant, media buyer, social media manager and countless other job titles commonly associated with this industry.
The first “convergence” has already begun, and it starts with the melding of digital marketing and graphic design. These industries have become inseparable; a digital marketer can’t do their job well without using some sort of image, infographic, or video, and a graphic designer can’t make a good image, infographic, or video, without understanding how it will be marketed. Even if the differences between marketing and design were palpable a year ago, these sentiments are no longer true today. So, no matter what side of the fence you may be on, if you don’t possess the skillsets required by both fields, you will soon be left in the dust.
Why is this happening? Because a Picture is Worth 1000 Words…
- No one actually likes reading… almost no one. Put a book next to a TV and see how often the book wins.
- Every good blog post needs a captivating image.
- Every good social media post needs an image that evokes a call to action.
- Every good web page needs images that portray the purpose of the page.
- Call to action buttons and lead generation forms are now being designed instead of looking like an excel spreadsheet.
- Information overload means that we are literally all competing for attention in the same marketplace, ie. the internet.
- The best image wins the attention war.
- Even videos get more engagement when they start with a captivating image.
- Every captivating image requires the designer to take into account its target audience.
- Images are becoming “interactive” through social sharing, incorporating calls-to-action, incorporating flow charts, etc.
Luckily, businesses like Canva are making the image creation process super easy for marketers, but you still need some design talent in order to build that perfect Canva creation.
And for calls to action, you can use an embedded sidebar form from Opt-in Monster or [affiliate partner link] a lightbox popup from LeadPages. Both of these tools make it easier for a marketer to design something a little bit better than a cookie cutter form, but require a designer’s eye to perfect.
Stock images are a band-aid, used for hiding the wound that is a missing designer and a lack of caring about your own content.
Since our agency is literally found by a digital marketer who wants to be a better designer, and a designer who wants to be a more effective marketer, we have noticed several mistakes that we make on a consistent basis.
Digital Marketer Mistakes on Design
- Spending time to create content but not backing it with a custom and compelling image
- Not budgeting appropriately for images
- Not putting images with social posts
- Covering faces in images with text (this one is a personal pet peeve of ours)
- Making excuses for a design not working under a different browser, platform, screen resolution, etc.
- Forgetting about mobile
- Creating one image and sharing it across multiple social platforms and having it get cropped inappropriately
- Using overly dramatic images that are completely unrelated to their content
- Using under dramatic stock images that are too fake
- Hiring a designer to create an image but not finding a designer that understands their goals
Graphic Designer Mistakes on Digital Marketing
- Focusing too much on the aesthetics of a design, not its functionality (“Yes it’s pretty, but it has nothing to do with this webpage.”)
- Not having enough information or enough insight to truly understand the user’s experience
- Not being sales or conversion focused, or not even seeing the “end zone”
- Not acknowledging that copy should inform design, and not the other way around
- Letting their “inner artist” take over ( allowing their artistic flair take them in a direction that is unrelated to the content or copy)
- Not researching the goal of a project before beginning the design process
How do I Prepare Myself to be the Best of Both Worlds?
Well, acknowledging you have a problem is always a good first step. Most likely we all need to go back to “school” and familiarize ourselves with the other side of the fence. Whether that “school” is a blog post on the design elements of call-to-action text, an entire series on Copywriting (you simply must take this course!), or even something as simple as understanding how to shrink an image for web use (important for anyone uploading images to their website), there are plenty of steps that we can take to better ourselves in both marketing and design.
So, we want to learn, and we know there are plenty of great resources out there to combine our inner marketer and inner designer, but what hybrid qualities are businesses looking for these days?
- Experience with Adobe Creative Suite, (which is now known as Adobe Creative Cloud)
- Ability to streamline the process of ad and image creation
- Website optimization, conversion rate optimization, and maximizing conversions
- Ability to write attention-grabbing headlines, blog posts and social media posts with customized images without even having to talk to another team member or department
Digital marketing has become a significantly visual field. With online advertising, social media, and branding all have roots in imagery, you can no longer get away with not knowing at least the basics of design, image resolution, or the difference between JPG vs PNG, if you want to be successful as a digital marketer.
- A designer that can use graphics to get a user from point A to point B
- Someone with a strong grasp on how to utilize their design abilities to create products that convert
- A designer with in-depth knowledge of headline writing and copywriting
- Infographic designers – designers who can take the information or stats on a subject and turn them into a visual display of data
- Ad creators – designers who can create a compelling image to go alongside a compelling headline, tagline, or title; an image that converts
- A designer who understands target personas and who actively incorporates this knowledge into their work
- A designer who understands the psychology of their projects target audience
Graphic design has evolved. Now, the designer has to imagine themselves in their client’s shoes. They are required to factor functionality into their designs and they are tasked with being an integral part of the marketing cycle. So, as a designer, it is more important than ever to weave some marketing principles into your projects.
The Future of Digital Marketing and Graphic Design
AI is taking over many of the some of the more mundane design tasks, including color palette creation, color and image matching, font design, and even layout design. The guys over at thegrid.io are fixing to put a hurt on all of the designers who aren’t adapting to the new age of design. This doesn’t mean that design is going extinct, quite the contrary. It will forever be entwined with marketing, and that one day soon we will witness the extinction of the designers who didn’t adapt to the change (much like how the Neanderthals lost out to the Home Sapiens some 40,000 years ago).
And on the flip side, there is no more “marketing” school without classes in Photoshop or the like. If you’re a digital marketer and you can’t change an image’s resolution, shrink for web use, or crop the image to fit a different social platform, you aren’t a digital marketer. On the other hand, if you are graphic designer and you don’t know the first thing about how to fashion a CTA button that stands out, or to create a design that solves a problem effectively, you won’t have a job for long.