Expert Insights: Top Graphic Design Strategies to Implement in 2022
We spoke directly to the graphic design experts themselves about how to create a unique, well-rounded graphic design strategy that resonates with consumers in 2022.
In marketing, you may have heard people say things like “creative is nothing without strategy.” At the same time, many in the advertising and marketing disciplines will remind you that strategy needs creativity, too. The two are so integral to success in marketing, and especially digital marketing, that separating them would make both less effective.
In this case, we’re talking specifically about strategies that can be applied to graphic design. Graphic design is not just about pretty pictures and great fonts; far from that, in fact. Within any creative field like graphic design, there are not only creative approaches, but also practical strategies, practices, tactics, and considerations that continually evolve in order to benefit both the field and the end results.
We asked some of our top graphic design and creative experts to share their thoughts about current graphic design strategies that your business can and should implement for 2022 (and beyond). Take a look at these 12 tips about marketing strategy, brand strategy, and design that they offered, and learn more about how they can apply to your in-house design team or creative agency.
Remember the Importance of Your Brand
Many of our experts started their advice by emphasizing just how critical a brand is to the strategy and approach for graphic design needs. From social media content to motion design, email marketing, website design, infographics, and everything else that falls under the visual design umbrella, the brand was the place to start.
“Make sure your designs are things that speak to your company! If you don’t love and embrace your design, then customers won’t either.” —Mackenzie Whipp, Business Development Specialist at Online Optimism
Even if you already have a company logo established, and brand colors are chosen, it is never too late to reevaluate whether they truly work for your company. Some of the biggest and best companies in the world are always evaluating their brand as well as the current design and visual landscape because they know something important—change is okay!
“Make sure you have your brand figured out—your brand colors, logo, etc. That way, whether it’s paid media or organic media, you have a guide to stay on point and make sure any graphics you design and put out there are branded and cohesive.” —Alexandra Van Doren, Co-founder and Senior Dynamic Social & Content Integrator at Agency onethree LLC
Small businesses, entrepreneurs, established firms… no matter the size of your business or the field and industry you’re in, the brand is what people will come to know and recognize. And that’s what makes it so important.
“You may work out of your basement, but your brand shouldn’t look like you do! A solidly built brand will take you far.” —Jennifer Gauerke, Creative Director at Yellowdog – Design Print Marketing
And one of the main reasons why the brand is so important? The fact that it can impact everything from customers’ first impression to the bottom line. The best and most recognizable logos in the world are also just one part of that company’s brand. And the full brand is what makes the logo and image so recognizable.
“A strong brand image has been proven to attract more business, therefore resulting in more revenue. Having a naff logo can damage your brand’s identity.” —Sophie Ridge, Graphic Designer at Clash Copy
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4 Unique Graphic Design Trends and Considerations
While there were some common themes among our experts’ advice, there were also a number of great strategies and tips that might not immediately come to mind.
“Don’t overthink it! It is far better to have 10 projects completed than to have 1,000 projects on the drawing board. For a small business, it is easy to get carried away with trying to make things look perfect. Perfect is the enemy of good enough when you’re a small business!” —Timothy M. Nyberg , Founder at The MacGuys+
Related to the brand discussion above but slightly different, the quality and consistency of image use were of particular importance for some of the design experts we spoke to. Especially when it comes to social media marketing, eCommerce, and website design, ensuring a consistent look for imagery is a key consideration for graphic designers and design agencies.
“Keep the consistency of your images on point. Too often we see small businesses go from fun memes to boring stock photos to wacky illustrations within the same blog article or landing page.” —David Wurst, Founder at WebCitz, LLC
Controlling that impulse to fill all of the available space is an important consideration, and is one of the practices that sets great graphic design apart from noisy and ineffective assets.
“When designing for the digital marketplace, consider using white space for your web pages. Remove distractions on the web page and focus on the call to action.” —Melih Oztalay, CEO at SmartFinds Marketing
And speaking of leaving space, what if your business is planning to expand into multiple international markets? Or what if you are already there? Graphic design professionals need to consider the fact that different languages will take up different amounts of space on the page, and account for this with flexible design and templates.
“If you plan on translating your designs later, avoid putting too much content on the page. Other languages will expand, so leaving space will prevent the translated versions from being too cramped.” —Darren Jansen, Project Manager: Translations at IVANNOVATION Language Management
Tools of the Trade
If you’re an entrepreneur or a startup founder, you might have limited resources—especially for hiring outside vendors and experts. If you’re planning to go it alone and begin some of the design elements for your business yourself, there are definitely graphic design strategies you can apply, as well as tools available to make it easier.
“To be fair, there is a good reason why a good designer gets paid what they do. So don’t think I’m saying you should never use a pro. But for a large majority of the design work that a small business needs, you can use tools like Canva.” —Timothy M. Nyberg, Founder at The MacGuys+
Some of our experts cautioned against diving into certain tools that are available, though. And for some of the most important design elements, they cautioned against striking out on your own.
“NEVER use free website builders such as Wix, Weebly, or similar. They will advertise all over your site, plus you risk having your site look like someone else’s.” —Christian Gonzales, Owner of Creativity Design Group
Graphic design, and specifically logo design, are areas where spending the money for professional assistance will absolutely pay dividends.
“Working with a professional to design a logo that is unique to your business, reflects your brand and your core values, and (let’s be honest) makes your business look fantastic, is worth its weight in gold.” —Sophie Ridge, Graphic Designer at Clash Copy
Finally, you want to consider the value of your own time, and put your own abilities and energies into areas where you can have a significant impact. Do you have bigger things that you should (or could) be devoting your time to, and would your expertise in those areas help your business? If so, then the time savings and the expert skills that come with hiring a digital marketing or design agency will always outweigh the costs.
“Spending hours of your valuable time trying to design your own marketing materials when that is really not your strong suit. Stay in your lane, do what you are good at and your business will thrive!” —Jennifer Gauerke, Creative Director at Yellowdog – Design Print Marketing
Graphic Design is Critical in 2022 (and Beyond!)
From content marketing to web design, social media memes to TikTok videos to Microsoft PowerPoint templates, graphic design work is a key component of success for every small business. New marketing trends in logo design, brand strategy, SEO and site optimization, and many other areas that have emerged over the past year are key considerations and are all part of a sound graphic design strategy.
Additionally, new findings on how the pandemic has impacted consumer behavior and approaches to updating and developing visual design will continue to inform design work and brand strategy for a long time to come.
There are so many terrific and nuanced parts of graphic design to consider, and design agencies and design professionals maintain a focus on these nuances. Graphic designers are passionate about these nuances. From typography to brand identity, from new trends to new products and cutting-edge brands (like Nike, for example), there is a tremendous amount of knowledge and strategy available when you work with a great designer.
Whether you’re operating a non-profit organization or trying to launch a new product specifically aimed at Gen Z, consider putting the expertise of talented and knowledgeable graphic designers to work for your business. And as part of the conversation, be sure to ask them about their own graphic design strategies that they employ on every project.