In this blog, 14 creative leaders discuss the importance of graphic design as they serve as our front liners in saving businesses.
Initially, when we think of essential services, we immediately think of healthcare, food & beverage, as well as transportation & logistics among others. But other industries were also crucial in keeping everybody afloat.
And the aid brought by graphic design and other creative services does not limit itself to businesses, too. Let’s recount how these fourteen amazing creatives from all over the world helped people through their art and creativity:
1. “The client was able to not only retain his existing staff but also hired extra drivers, and helped keep vulnerable people safe.”
— Melissa Montang, Australia
Melissa is currently the Head of Marketing and Communications at Businessary, a business advisory and digital marketing company in Australia.
“Having strong imagery and engaging copy that resonates with your ideal audience is absolutely necessary. My prediction is that we’ll also see the trend continue of using graphic design and creative opportunities to communicate the purpose, values, and even sometimes political views of businesses.
One client was previously a catering company, which obviously came to a complete halt during the pandemic. He quickly pivoted to being a market-fresh grocery delivery business—using the same fresh fruit and veg, butcher, and bakery suppliers that he had cultivated for his catering business.
He was able to offer safe, convenient, and high-quality grocery delivery boxes. We helped to quickly create a new brand, website and social media campaigns to drive the growth of the business.
The client was able to not only retain his existing staff but also hired extra drivers and helped keep vulnerable people safe by bringing groceries to their door so they wouldn’t have to go out into busy shopping centres.
It was a wonderful service, and I can attest as one of their regular customers! Truly everyone involved in the service from beginning to end benefitted: the suppliers, the client, and his team, the drivers, the customers and, I would argue, the whole community. Then when things started opening up again, the client landed a huge catering account and was able to go back to doing what he truly loved.”
2. “Our company developed a comprehensive web app for doctors to help them with their everyday clinic operations, so they can focus on what they do best—treating their patients.”
— Kier Labrador, Philippines
Kier founded Neitiviti Studios—a multimedia design company that creates modern web and mobile apps.
“Even though we’re not doctors or nurses, we as creatives did our fair share of saving lives through informative designs or infographics that helped distribute clear and accurate information on pandemic preparedness… and that’s something to be proud of in this business.
In our first months, I personally offered free design services to small businesses that are most affected by this pandemic. It made me feel how important our work is as artists and designers especially in extending assistance to those who are starting or transitioning their businesses online to stay afloat.
And in an effort to contribute to the healthcare industry, our company developed a comprehensive web app for doctors to help them with their everyday clinic operations, so they can focus on what they do best—treating their patients. We launched the app last April for free and it’s called Elena – Your Clinic Assistant.”
3. “I noticed many people don’t know if they want vaccines or not, so many companies create vaccination campaigns… I myself am creating awareness templates and videos.”
— Subhajit Das, India
Subhajit is the artist behind @subhosketchbook on Instagram; an art page that features nostalgic illustrations. He works as a graphic designer at Shyam Future Tech.
“I love to help people with my skills if they have any issues with design and illustration. I saw some people, especially teenagers, always posting that they feel bored and lockdown made their life worse. So I thought they could release their stress through art so I started to influence them through my art on social media platforms like Instagram.
Some of them took an interest in art and some found their childhood memories. One thing I learned from my followers is to never lose hope and never compare someone to others. We just need to appreciate people so that they can make progress.“Also, I noticed many people don’t know if they want vaccines or not, so many companies create vaccination campaigns. I myself as a graphic designer am creating awareness templates and videos.
And graphic designers play an important role because they have to make them attractive and understandable with simple communicative design for people to convey awareness. I also saw some infographics and doodle videos on social platforms teaching how we can fight corona and handle the pandemic situation.”
4. “Graphic design was an integral part to defeating the pandemic by filtering an insane amount of jargon, unfamiliar by most; into easily digestible and concise forms of graphic material.”
— Emilly Barrow, Australia
Emilly runs a small freelance graphic design business specializing in refined, minimal solutions. Based in Melbourne, Australia; her services include branding identity, business touchpoints, graphic design, marketing collateral, and website design.
“During the start of the pandemic, there was mass panic and confusion from the public. The virus frightened the people. And the Hollywood horror movies that depicted these events suddenly became a whole lot more realistic.
Graphic design was an integral part of defeating the pandemic by filtering an insane amount of jargon, unfamiliar by most; into easily digestible and concise forms of graphic material (especially that of social media posts) that could be understood by the majority of the public.
They did this rapidly, and consistently throughout Australia to ensure unity and guidance within our country. It was critical graphic designers understood what to communicate and what not to communicate—a fine line between misguidance and causing confusion.
Long regarded as a ‘non-essential’ discipline, I truly hope that graphic design becomes more recognized for its critical nature. Graphic design creates a unified language to help us understand more deeply and more critically.
I found my clients in 2020 to be a unique breed of people. They were willing to try new things; open-minded and despite the pessimistic state of the economy—were excited to be diving into passions.”
5. “Axel Scheffler illustrated an informative picture book explaining Covid in a simple, friendly way to children.”
— Georgie Birkett, United Kingdom
Georgie is a children’s book illustrator and author. Her works include Teddy Bedtime, the How to… series with co-author Jane Clarke, and more. Check out Georgie’s Instagram page to see more of her illustrations.
“Children’s books bring all sorts of positive messages to children, to boost their confidence and self-esteem during uncertain times, and they provide magical places for the imagination to escape to during lockdown.
I know that Axel Scheffler illustrated an informative picture book explaining Covid in a simple, friendly way to children. Creativity is one thing a computer cannot replace, people are naturally creative, and thrive with the arts and creativity around them, in whatever form.
During the pandemic, Instagram has remained an active and supportive place to share work and enjoy other people’s work, and also share feelings about pandemic life.
Many artists including me took part in The Bookmark Project, making bookmarks for an auction to help a school in Africa. Instagram has many prompts in which artists promote and share work on a theme through a hashtag.
I have gained a lot of interest from publishing editors in this way, and occasionally I am tagged in a post in which someone has been enjoying my book, which is really lovely.”
6. “Graphic design is a visual representation of every culture of every generation from Politics, Religion, Art, Fashion and Entertainment, Events, etc.”
— Ferdinand Onandia, United States
“As a graphic designer for CRU or the Jesus Film Project, I can only hope that I’ve made an impact. The way we measure impact in our industry is based on knowing how many people have accepted and committed their lives to Christ.
That could be someone who just watched the JESUS Film online or maybe someone making a donation after receiving some informational brochure that I’ve designed, or maybe someone responding to a Facebook ad.
I do know that people’s lives have been changed because of the work that I’m part of. It’s always a collective effort and not just from one person. I believe there’s always gonna be a demand for graphic designers, almost every industry needs it. If you have the passion for it, you can never go wrong choosing this career.”
7. “The efficacy of an infographic is largely determined by its quality. We frequently judge the authority and legitimacy behind the infographic and how reliable the data is based on how it appears.”
— Candice Tiongson, Philippines
Candice is a graphic designer turned email marketing specialist at Future Holidays; a creative-led firm specializing in helping companies build a lasting impression through smart design and engaging digital experiences.
“Graphic design has become a massively powerful means of communication in the ongoing war against COVID-19, becoming an unanticipated but successful weapon; with striking infographics capable of dispensing complex messages to the masses in a clear and convincing manner.
As an email marketing specialist, I work with email automation software, designing and sending out email blasts, newsletters, and more.
I think designing for a digital audience is so impactful because you can measure it. For emails, you can record open rates, unsubscribe and bounce rates, CTR, and delivery rates. This provides you with a greater comprehension of how your campaigns are working, and which ones to change or which ones to dispose of.
In this digital era, data doesn’t lie and it’s the number one thing you can rely on and base your actions on. So pandemic or not, the creative industry is the future.
With that said, I hope that these businesses recognize the value of quality design and branding and will enlist the help of a designer or web expert to help them cater to and distribute these messages.”
8. “Most of everything I come across is design in the form of news.”
— Mayur Chettiar, India
Mayur is the founder of Kaamyup, a multi-faceted freelancing app.
“I don’t read news on news sites anymore, because most of everything I come across is designed in the form of news. This change was inevitable with so many people joining the community of graphic design within such a short period of time.
It would be safe to say that the designs we see are the new-age version of the comics we used to see. I encourage a different type of thinking, where people can look at the other side of the story and react on both the situation.
When the shweta meme exploded and people were busy making shweta feel stupid, I made a post asking people to look at the other side. That post reached 300K people in Explore, I think.
I think, in the next 10 years into the future, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are going to be a big hit and every other artist would be creating their own NFT, and that’s a good thing for the Art and Design Community.
No longer would people consider Arts as an Industry with no ROI and parents will start supporting their kids more. I believe the wave after covid would be the wave of the artists, and we would finally be able to pursue our dreams and not be afraid to like what we want.”
9. “When it came to Covid, many brands and marketers used [graphic design] tactics to relay important information about education, fundraising, news, and more so that people could get important information and updates quickly.”
— Lindsay O’Donnell, Canada
Lindsay is the founder and marketing director of Piquant Marketing. A Vancouver-based company that provides marketing campaigns to local food businesses.
“Graphic design helps us create shareable, engageable content and also allows us to combine different mediums (photography, design, animation, etc). When it came to covid, many brands and marketers use these tactics to relay important information about education, fundraising, news, and more so that people could get important information and updates quickly.
I work with food so I saw a stark divide immediately. Food brands that were in grocery stores were suddenly very busy while food brands that had their own cafes or storefronts were at a standstill.
Everyone was moving online to support and connect. I was here to help them connect with their community and keep their business growing or stabilized. We focused on digital content, digital selling, and stabilizing their revenue streams.
For the last ten years, I’ve seen the marketing industry REALLY specialize. Now you can be a social media marketer, a social ads marketer, a copywriter… I even have one graphic design person just for social graphics.
I expect marketers to continue to grow in demand as we move more virtually every day with so many new ways to entertain, educate, and sell.”
10. “Design, layout, and typography, besides the written content, have a strong influence to bring over a message in any kind of desired way.”
— Roy Selbach, Netherlands
Here’s what he has to say: “Bringing over difficult information doesn’t have to be hard.”
Design, layout, and typography, besides the written content, have a strong influence to bring over a message in any kind of desired way. You can see that during this time, trust, reliability, and engagement are important aspects to bring over a serious message in the right way.
The creative industry has always been very dynamic and adaptable. The most beautiful thing about the creative industry is that no matter what new medium will arise, there’s always a need for beautifully designed work.”
11. “Without designers, people would need to read bland signs with walls of text. And we were already maxed out on all the emotional scales so, easy-access was—and has been—key for a while now.”
— Megan Scanio, United States
Megan is a self-taught graphic designer. She is the owner and lead designer of Millie Paper Co. They offer custom illustrations and vector graphics.
“The use of graphics during the pandemic has helped relay info to the public so effortlessly, so that’s made it so essential.
Something as simple as a picture of a mask on the door of a store or business was enough to let people know that ‘hey, you need a mask to come in here.’ And that’s kind of amazing!
Without designers, people would need to read bland signs with walls of text. And we were already maxed out on all the emotional scales so, easy access was—and has been—key for a while now.
This field seems to be ever-changing, which is amazing, but so hard to keep up with at the same time. It’s so awesome to see how illustrations and graphic designs have become normal.”
I think going forward, the Arial bold, plain black, typed printout from Microsoft Word isn’t going to cut it. Especially when it comes to something as simple as a message on the door of any business (I mean, thank goodness right, lol).
I’d like to think that at the very least my art has served as an escape from the could-be-dreary every day. I tried to draw things that would spark joy in people. So if their day was hard, they could see an avocado with a happy little face. And it would cause a bit of happiness, no matter how fleeting that moment might be.
Life has been so hard this past year. And knowing that I could do something to bring joy to people has been pretty amazing.”
12. “People have been bored for long periods of time. So it has been great to fill that void and get out as much content as possible.”
— Alex Vella, Australia
“We found people really engaged with our graphic design through [the lockdown]. Probably because they weren’t getting much engagement from elsewhere!
Throughout the pandemic, I have made a lot of connections that wouldn’t have occurred if the world was in its ‘normal’ state. People are looking for interactivity online and I’ve never messaged this many strangers in my life!
People have been bored for long periods of time. So it has been great to fill that void and get out as much content as possible.
As more and more people work from home, they are forced to create by themselves and not with their colleagues in an office. So I think this will force people to express themselves on more of an individual basis. And we will start to see more rogue ideas in the industry.”
13. “Even non-designers started to learn and appreciate the effect of visual representations.”
— Anelle Silerio, Philippines
Anelle is a creative entrepreneur. She is the founder and creative director of Illustrados Creatives. A company that builds creative solutions through IT, Digital Design, Marketing, and Content Creation.
“As we spend more time indoors, we rely on getting global news and obtaining information on the internet and other forms of media.
Graphic Design helps the front liners present the essential information clearly and understandably. Although some of them convey different emotions to people due to cultural differences.
But what strikes me the most is that even non-designers started to learn and appreciate the effect of visual representations. They contribute a lot when it comes to spreading truthful content and genuine positivity.”
14. “Graphic design is a powerful way to bring positivity during a pandemic.”
— Ezra Acebron, Philippines
Ezra is the head of operations at DotYeti.
“I’ve been working home-based for four years and I know what it’s like to isolate yourself from the world…although it’s different now since the pandemic.”
Graphic design is a powerful way to bring positivity during a pandemic.
The importance of strategic-thinking creatives has exploded as clients realize that creativity isn’t just about what something looks like. It’s about usability, purpose, and functionality.
“Graphic design emphasizes and lets you digest the facts easily through infographics,” says Ezra.
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