Use graphic design to make a strong visual impression on your target audience. What does your brand image say about your company? How can you drive home the core elements of your business?
It takes just 50 milliseconds to make a first impression with site visitors. People form judgements about your business based on what they see. If they enter your store, they may notice whether it feels clutter, how bright it is and how quickly you greet them. Online judgments come from how user-friendly a website is, whether your language matches their personality and what colors you use.
There are many ways graphic designers tap into the human psyche to build a strong brand identity. We’re going to look at six of the most effective ways of using design to make an impression on consumers.
1. Choose Your Symbols
Think about the symbols that showcase your brand. If you sell real estate, an outline of a house is one common factor people instantly recognize. Other things you might contemplate include a set of keys or a “for sale” sign.
You may work in an industry where the symbols aren’t as readily apparent. Consider your core values and how you might depict them in an image.
You may or may not use the symbols in your logos and other branding, but knowing what they are helps you decide when and where they might create an impression.
One example of a company using symbols to create a lasting identity is FedEx. Their logo is their name. However, there are also elements making the symbol look as though it’s in motion. Note how the letter “D” blends into the letter “E,” giving the logo an appearance of movement.
2. Offer Clear Directions
Put yourself in the shoes of a first-time customer. They may be uncertain about your process, the quality of your product and where to check out in your store. You can leave a lasting positive impression on consumers by outlining what they need to do and where to go.
Adding signs improves brand awareness and sales in your community. Place a large one outside your brick-and-mortar store to announce sales, hours of operation and special events.
Adding informational signage to direct customers through your store and even to help them understand social distancing recommendations helps create a seamless experience.
3. Grab Attention with Typography
One often overlooked area where graphic design creates strong impressions is through typography. Each font you choose has its own personality. If you want a bold, strong message, you can select chunky lettering. Soft script type helps create a romantic feel.
Think about what typefaces work best with your brand voice. You’ll use different fonts for headings than for body text. Make sure all work well with mobile devices, as many people access the internet on their smartphones.
4. Add Relevant Images
Are you consistent with the visuals you choose to represent your brand? Your style guide should outline the style of the photos, size and even additions such as adding a layer of transparent color to mesh with the rest of your design.
Any photos you choose should apply to your products and services. Using generic stock photos isn’t very effective. You must take unique snapshots no competitor has, and that highlight your inventory in its best light.
5. Build a Color Palette
According to Reboot, choosing a signature color increases brand recognition by 80% and can even tap into user emotions. You should have a set color palette users encounter whenever they experience your brand.
If they hop on your social media page, the primary colors should be the same as if they visit your physical store. Don’t stray away from your chosen palette. You might add a pop of color for a call to action (CTA) button. Other than one or two accents, stick to the selection you use elsewhere.
Every color evokes a particular psychological reaction. The color red might make people feel excited, while yellow is a cheerful color. Think about the impression you want to leave with your audience and seek colors tapping into those feelings.
6. Create an Experience
One underserved area of graphic design is experiential displays. Use three-dimensional images to create a one-of-a-kind experience for your customers.
As they enter your store, transport them into a new world. Wallcoverings, floor murals and stand-up displays all work together to take a typical atmosphere and make something special.
Some companies choose to create a pop-up experience and team up with a local restaurant or bar. Think about what taps into products you offer or services you provide. If you sell merchandise from a popular licensed cartoon, for example, you might recreate a restaurant depicted in the television show.
Experiential design focuses on shaping the customer experience. It’s the next level of graphic design and will make an impression on people. You’ll stand out from the competition with your creativity and uniqueness.
How Others See You
Brand identity is about so much more than the way you want your customers to see you. It’s the way they actually perceive you. You can only control so much of the equation.
If you want to truly tap into brand building, you must know who your target audience is. Study their preferences and psyche. Figure out what makes them tick. Only by fully understanding who receives your message will you be able to shape your image.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.