The role of graphic design has always been crucial in marketing campaigns.
Unlike other creative marketing mediums such as TV, radio, and print, digital marketing is not limited to text. It can include visuals like logos, banner ads, infographics and much more. Therefore, a marketing campaign cannot be successful without good graphic design.
This makes graphic designers an integral part of any marketing team. For this blog, we interviewed the CEOs & leaders of some of the most successful agencies out there about the role of graphic design in their marketing campaigns.
These renowned agencies specifically responded to the following question:
“What impact does graphic designs have on the effectiveness of marketing campaigns?”
Let’s check out their responses…
1. Anthony DeMarco
Founder of the Boston Web Group
“A picture is worth a thousand words. Graphic design is an essential part of creating a mood and a ‘vibe’ for any advertising efforts. The human cognitive & visual functionality has been proven to make split-second assumptions based on images alone—totally ignoring words.
Since people were living in caves, we’ve used pictograms to communicate thoughts, ideas, and emotions. Today, we use color, images, and layouts to guide the eye, and the emotions of the readers. And it’s all possible with great graphic design.”
2. Ryan Hertel
Founder of the Socialocca
“It’s wild how important your digital presence and graphic aesthetic have become just over the past 2 to 3 years.
It was already important before the pandemic. But now, we have millions of new customers who were once window shoppers… finally shopping from their phones, laptops, and desktop computers.
The digital graphics and advertisements around e-commerce are simply crucial now. Quality receives attention even amongst the quantity.”
3. Ali Schwanke
Founder & CEO of Simple Strat
“Graphic design is a staple of content marketing in today’s world. We are driven to consume visually before we consume words, thanks to social media and platforms like TikTok and YouTube.
Furthermore, the brain processes images 20,000 times faster than text. Therefore, having a graphic that can adequately convey what you’re trying to deliver is more than best practice—it’s expected.
If your graphics look sloppy and off-brand, it creates little slices of distrust and can lead someone to question your credibility. So it’s important to think about the graphics at the same time you’re developing your copy.”
4. Andrew Erickson
Partner at Alaniz Marketing
“The marketing ecosystem has gotten so layered and complex over the last ten years. We’re surrounded with an almost infinite number of platforms, technologies, marketing channels and tactics we can take on.
I think that proper attention isn’t paid to creative and design in the industry, in general. And that can be for a variety of reasons, which may include budget constraints, overload, talent gap, or just over focus on tactics over strategy.
Instead of saying, ‘let’s do pay per click’ or ‘we need a new website’, let’s start by exploring scenarios and painting a picture of a winning campaign. From concept to creative to rationale for success.
The concept and delivery through design is half of the key to success.”
5. Courtney Smith
Co-Founder & Executive Creative Director of PureMatter
“Graphic design is a visual language that provides structure balanced with beauty to communicate concepts that could otherwise not be done so elegantly with words alone.
Bad graphic design—even if someone couldn’t tell you why it’s not working—literally creates ‘dis-ease’ inside of us. Humans crave balance and are attracted to beauty.
This means that great graphic design ‘makes’ us want to look at it. In the context of marketing campaigns, this means more eyeballs, for a longer time. The design, combined with a compelling offer, inevitably increases the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.”
6. Michael Quinn
Founder of My Site Ranked
“For me, a custom YouTube thumbnail can make or break a video’s success. I put just as much thought, if not more, into the design of my thumbnail images—and this has been a game-changer for my YouTube channel.
In fact, 90% of all top-performing videos on the platform use powerful custom thumbnails, according to YouTube expert Derral Eves. A thumbnail image is the first impression someone has with a video, and will influence whether or not they click on it.
For my SEO clients, strong graphic design elements create an advantage on Google. Powerful images and infographics in website content make it more trustworthy, useful, and shareable—plus keep people on your site longer. These factors all impact Google rankings.
If you want to rank higher and create more customers, put more emphasis on your images. You won’t regret it!”
7. Juan Sanchez
Co-Founder & CEO of Bagby
“Unfortunately, we live in an image-led world mainly powered by platforms like Instagram. Marketing campaigns need to be eye-catching and attention-grabbing if brands want to survive the news feed competition.
At Bagby, we help people reduce their screen time while increasing their human time. In order to be successful in communicating this big mission, we must upgrade our graphic design, not only for our products but also for the imagery and new vision we are trying to portray.
Graphic design in our marketing campaigns must do two things:highlight a change in behavior and how people can become a better version of themselves. This is something that sits at the center of our marketing strategy.
So if you ask me what impact does graphic design have on the effectiveness of marketing campaigns? I would say that’s capital.”
8. Ronjini Joshua
Owner & President of The Silver Telegram
“Now, more than ever, graphic design is a key component of making your marketing, social media, and PR campaigns stand out. We encourage our clients to leverage video and images whenever possible to bring a strong brand presence to what they are doing.
Design and style are a part of the marketing mix that help your audience quickly identify and recognize you. The business of brand awareness is what we are in. So wherever we can tune into that aspect and push a little more, we do.”
9. Vix Reitano
Founder & CEO of Agency 6B
“Marketing campaigns—no matter where they are placed—are meant to be strategically designed to move consumers to do something. Whatever the movement desired by the company, brand or business placing the ad, the result has to be the same: movement in some direction that achieves a business goal.
Graphic design is incredibly important in today’s world, perhaps more than ever before. Why? Consumers are distracted, overwhelmed and burnt out by a year or more of unrest.
The pandemic might seem like it is not as big of a factor now that we’re nearly 2 years into it. However, the stress on human beings and on their brains is real, and presents a true challenge for every area of life as we know it. Consumers need to be directed and the best way to do this is with graphic design. Calming, reassuring or urgent, the CTA does not matter but the look, feel, tone and vibe of the campaign does. And at the heart of it all? A graphic, a logo, a color palette designed to move the consumer forward.
10. Mike Kennedy
COO of Stikky Media
“A major part of any successful marketing campaign is how it’s presented. Leveraging powerful graphic design tools and tactics can level up any marketing campaign because it ties into the credibility and trustworthiness of your brand. The discerning eye of your customers can always tell the difference between a pixelated jpg that is a lower quality resolution versus a pixel-perfect image designed to perfection and presented elegantly.
Here are a few reasons why graphic design is critically important for conversion and awareness marketing campaigns, both online and offline.
In the digital environment it’s vital to use high quality graphic design tools and pay attention to every little detail. For example, in a paid ads conversion campaign, leveraging high quality and elegantly designed creatives when someone lands on your website is essential. Whether your objective is to convert visitors into a sign up, sale, booking or any other action, using the highest quality materials is vital to success.
Online awareness campaigns have different goals than conversion campaigns. Nevertheless, the impact of graphic design is the same. For example, if you are educating prospects about your organization and products and services through social media, first impressions count. Using high quality imagery, sophisticated typography and the right complementary colors will have the impact you desire. This is especially important on channels that are image-centric like Instagram.
For e-commerce websites, graphic design is highly important and will give off a great impression of your store and products. Whether you sell through Amazon, Shopify or Wordpress, studies have shown there’s a direct correlation between image quality and e-commerce sales. It’s well worth the time and effort to spend time on a well designed website and product page to fully optimize the likelihood of a sale.
In the offline environment, graphic design is just as, if not more, vitally important. Whether it’s a promotional sign for your business, a banner at your in-person event or your company pitch deck, graphic design is critical to establishing a positive impression of your brand and influencing action.”
11. Patrick King
Founder & CEO of Imagine
“Marketing without good design is like cookies without milk; it gets pretty dry really fast.
I started my career in graphic design, so I don’t really see a way to separate the two. Yes, research and strategy are super important. But, if you don’t have that compelling visual hook (the kind that a professional design can create), you’re selling yourself short.
The mind works in this two-phase pattern, whether your customer is buying cars or candy bars. The emotional, intuitive side of the brain kicks in first; then, the logical side steps in to make sense of things and rationalize the purchase. If the former isn’t engaged, you’re stuck with the ‘accountant side’ of the mind and that’s always a harder sell. With good design, you can more easily win customers over by appealing to both sides of the brain.
And we want customers to be fully engaged, right?”
12. Rachel Svoboda
Founder & CEO of Sunday Brunch Agency
“Did you know that 73% of businesses invest in design to help their brand stand out against the competition? This is critical because companies need consistency in order to build a strong and memorable brand that is going to lead to sales. That translates into a style guide with set colors, fonts, photography style, etc. which enables your brand to look, sound, and feel the same across all integrated touch points. These touch points include logo, website, emails, social media, print ads, and more.
Visual assets (photos, videos, illustrations and infographics) play a pivotal role in the communication of a brand story. As of 2021, companies are creating 10x the number of design assets than they did in previous years! Furthermore, on social media, videos generate 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
Visual content from graphic design grabs consumer attention 60,000 times faster than text content. No wonder, the past years have seen a rapid growth of visual content marketing. This trend is poised to continue in the future.
13. Jeff Sauer
Founder of Data Driven
“Quality graphic design has a big effect on marketing performance and can make a difference in several ways.
First of all, when acquiring new leads, quality graphic design with proven images and design contrast will increase the rates of opt-ins and quality of leads. Think of it this way – would someone want to give you their email address if your website was the online equivalent of a shack in the woods with a big hand-painted sign that says ‘Free Candy!’? Heck no. Same goes for your site. High-quality design attracts a high caliber of customer.
And it doesn’t just stop there. Consistent branding across emails, website and sales assets will provide a clear path for a prospective customer and help them become more familiar with your offerings.
There’s no part of the marketing process that doesn’t improve with good graphic design.”
14. Brian R. Johnson
Co-Founder of Canopy Management
“That song, the one that keeps repeating over and over in your head, is called an earworm.
In the marketing world, graphic designers have the ability to create an ‘earworm for your eye’ when they create your logo or design. The graphic design of a logo, when crafted with skill and forethought, can generate an image that your eyes see, your brain appreciates, but you do not even notice at first glance.
Three famous examples of this are the Arrow in FedEx, the Peacock in the NBC logo, and the double hidden eye worms in the Amazon logo of the smile and the arrow leading from A to Z.
There are dozens more. You see them, but you don’t. And when you really do notice them, you cannot unsee them.
Graphic designs that make you think are bad designs. You do not want your prospect or customers to spend time thinking ‘what does that design mean?’
But you want your design to make an impression on the subconscious mind of the viewer. You want it to leave an unmistakable impression: that design means your brand.
If the copy in your marketing campaign is the lyric, then the design is the music. You want a design that stays with the viewer in a positive way, so that whenever they see it, they know that’s YOU!”
15. Rich Kahn
CEO and Co-Founder of Anura Marketing
“Graphic design has a huge impact in marketing campaigns because it’s the first thing that catches your attention.
If your design isn’t on point, it’s not going to catch anyone’s attention. If it’s not turning heads, it doesn’t matter how good your messaging is, it’s not going to be read.
The design is what convinces people to invest a few seconds to read your ad. If you have poor design, people ignore it. Design is the first thing people look at. It forms the first impression they have of your campaign and the first thing that attracts them to your brand. Graphic design is everything in a marketing campaign.”
16. Sandra de Novellis
Co-Founder of Evolve Strategic Communications
“To develop an effective marketing campaign, one must embrace the importance of graphic design. Graphic design is critical to the overall success of a marketing campaign and should align with a company’s overall brand.
Creative designs are an efficient way to communicate ideas. And when done well, it optimizes your marketing efforts across all channels: online and offline. When the visual content is strong and consistent, brand magic can occur. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. If visual content is inconsistent and not aligned with the brand, it can undermine credibility as well as confidence with your customers.
Graphic design should accent the strategy and messaging of your campaign. For example, If you have unique and creative imagery in your campaign, it stands out from the competition and is much more effective in supporting customer engagement, building brand awareness and influencing the decision-making process.
Being consistent in your marketing collaterals will also allow your brand to be easily recognizable. It gets your customers familiar with your brand identity and what your company has to offer.
Additionally, a marketing campaign with a distinct artistic flair will help to push the boundaries, provoking thoughts and demonstrating other ways to ‘cut through the clutter’ and get your message noticed.
In summary, graphic design is critical in how it communicates your message to potential customers. Eye-catching graphics can bring your ideas to life and effectively display what you want your audience to know about your company brand and the products or services you sell.
Every company or brand developing a marketing campaign should also think about investing in the development of brand guidelines to ensure they have consistency on design elements and assets.
Remember, you only have one time to make a first impression.”
17. Lucy Phipps-Kaye
Creative Director of Ascenial
“At a time when our attention is being pulled in a million different directions, the ability to capture an audience with concise, efficient, but powerful design can be worth millions.
The up-and-coming trend of UGC (user-generated content) is a great example of the effectiveness of graphic design in a unique way. Studies, and our clients’ ROAS, have proven that audiences today are more drawn to organic-looking ads. These are visuals designed to look like they’re a real post from someone you follow, rather than a professionally designed, glossy ad. Native text, or ‘Tiktok style’ font feels more trustworthy and holds one’s gaze longer. We’ve seen ads that suggest real reviews through UGC ‘testimonials’ dominate the performance of our client’s ad accounts heavily in the past year.
These days, high quality doesn’t necessarily provide a promised return, as audiences are more likely to swipe past an ad that feels critically designed. While this may feel counterintuitive for creatives and designers alike, the psychology of marketing remains the same: storytelling, and finding a way to provide value or excitement and relate to your audience is key.“
18. Kirk Deis
CEO of Treehouse 51
Graphic design is what vaulted ceilings and windows facing the sunrise are to a home. They give it life and makes every call to action pop. Furthermore, it guides you in and makes you want to plant your roots.
People connect with visuals. A good design is memorable, a bad one is quickly forgotten.
You want your conversions to increase?
Offer that dream home experience. Create a design people will associate your brand with as home.
19. Pamela Nochlin
Founder of Thrive Professional Women’s Group
Do you like smoothies?
I often make smoothies at home, but they never seem to taste as good as when I get one from a place that specializes in making them. Mine are either too thick, too liquid, too much of one flavor or not enough flavor. Yet, the ones I buy always taste better because they balance the flavors and mix them into a perfect consistency.
What does this have to do with the impact graphic design has on the effectiveness of a marketing campaign?
The same principle as making a smoothie applies to graphic design. Due to the proliferation of software like Canva, anyone can design something at home.
Yet, even if you can’t quite articulate it, when you see something professionally designed, you can see the difference. A professional designer knows how to mix the right balance of text, images, fonts, colors and logos.
In other words, a well thought out design draws a customer in. It might be the way the image is cropped, or how and where it was placed, or maybe it’s a certain color combination, or the size and font used. And a professional designer will optimize their design, ensuring brand consistency across multiple channels, whether it’s an email, banner, print ad or a billboard.
So the next time you need something designed, give it to a professional and use the time to go out and buy yourself a smoothie!
20. Katerina Gasset
Owner & Founder of Get It Done For Me Virtual Services
“You’ve heard it before: A picture speaks a thousand words. This is a timeless truth.
Graphics in your digital marketing campaigns can either elevate your internet presence, or diminish it based on their quality, tone, and messaging.
Make sure to create graphics that connect with your audience. Remember, it is not about you, it is about your ideal customer.”
These 20 agency owners represent a variety of industries and clients. In addition, they’ve seen trends come and go. What they all agree on, is the critical role that graphic design plays in creating a successful marketing campaign. Graphic designers who create designs that add value to a customer’s experience can push campaign results to the stratosphere!
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