What does graphic communication encompass and why is it important to know about for your business?
Have you heard the term graphic communication being used and wondered what makes it different from graphic design? Both graphic design and communication are essential to attracting and interacting with potential customers and as well as your existing customer base. In order to get your branding across clearly to your target audience, a mix of engaging content as well as beautiful graphics is crucial. Graphic design is also an essential part of search engine optimisation too. Let’s talk about what the differences between graphic design and communication are, then how to ensure that your graphic communication is coming across how you want it to.
Traditional graphic design is the art of projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content. As Meg said in her Brighton SEO talk, graphic design is essential in being able to communicate effectively. It can be physical or digital and include images, words and graphics but usually involves a mix of all three. Graphic communication, simply put, is communication using the aforementioned graphic elements. From symbols such as glyphs and icons, and images such as drawings and photographs, graphic communication is more about including passive contributions of substrate, colour and surroundings than traditional design. Both graphic design and graphic communication incorporate words and images to convey data, concepts, and emotions. Granted, the two overlap and some designers use graphic design and communication design interchangeably due to their combined skills but it is important to know their differences in order to make sure you’re achieving both of their purposes.
A communication design approach is not only concerned with developing the message from the aesthetics in media but also with creating new media channels to ensure the message reaches the target audience. Communication design often takes a systems-based approach in which all of the media and messages within a business are looked at together.
So how can you be sure that your graphic communications are getting your brand image across, that they’re working hand in hand with your digital marketing strategy and helping you achieve the results you want for your business? Here is our check list for graphic communications:
1. Get your content together before you even think about designing anything
Before you get started on design, make sure that your final content is ready. That means your positioning statement, tone of voice, brand values and site / brochure content. Graphic designs and communications will be based on the content provided. The design process will be able to progress a lot faster, and much more smoothly, if you have your chosen pieces of content, such as photos and copy, ready to go before you turn your project over to a designer. That brings us nicely onto the next point, which is…
2. Work with professionals
If you aren’t skilled in graphic design and communications then get some advice from professionals. Something as important as the way in which your customers view your brand should not be left to Canva (as useful as Canva is). A graphic communications expert will be able to provide you with a multitude of creative templates that you can use for your marketing as well as digital and non-digital communication. Ask around for recommendations and read testimonials so you know you’re going with the right company for you. It will be a worthwhile investment.
3. Get feedback from your target audience
It’s vital that you talk to your target audience and find out whether or not your graphic communications are attractive to them. There are plenty of ways in which you can do this from focus groups to online surveys. You won’t always be able to please everyone’s tastes but aim to get the majority of the section of your target audience that you talk to about your graphics to be complimentary and feeling that your business is something they need in their lives. Take their feedback on board and implement any changes that you can. Doing this kind of research before you even get started with your graphic design and communication will save you money in the long run as you’ll be able to get it right a lot faster. The only person whose opinion holds weight at the end of the day is your client. Remember that, otherwise, you’re at risk of wasting time and cash.
Use A/B testing when considering making any drastic changes in order to be able to assess whether or not your proposed differences are worth making. This site here will talk you through which tools are most useful for a variety of situations: https://www.sitepoint.com/ab-testing-tools/
5. Give yourself time
People don’t always realise how long it takes to create effective graphic communications. Allow yourself time to research, to work with a designer, to review and to re-work. Rushing can seem essential when deadlines are looming over you but in the long run, it’s always best to give yourself time to think. If you’re unsure how much time your project would take, get a hold of an expert and talk your time scale through with them before it’s too late so that neither one of you needs to scramble to get everything together. Point 6 can help with this…
6. Make it part of your overall marketing strategy
Include graphic communication when thinking about your overall marketing strategy. It plays an important role in everything you do whether it’s in-person events, giving you the opportunity to hand out business cards and flyers, or the pages of your website where you can communicate your value proposition. Graphic communication is part of the user experience which can have an impact on your website’s SEO too. Check out Meg’s slides on using stunning design to leverage your SEO. So really, graphic communication encompasses a great deal of your overall marketing and is vital to know about for your business.
Have you thought about graphic communication before now? Talk to us in the comments below.