Graphic Design & Publication
Looks matter. Let’s face it. It doesn’t really matter what you’re offering if it’s not offered in a meaningful way. A way in which the consumer expects to find your information. There are industry-expected formats, printing/web quality standards and a host of variables you may need to take into account depending on your industry, target audience, and goals. If you’re looking for help and advice, one of the best things you can do is to get your very own professional graphic designer.
In today’s environment, the need for graphic design services has skyrocketed. That’s because the term graphic design has come to mean many different things, all based on the needs of the consumer. Graphic design is truly a multi-media effort in the modern marketplace. Web, print, email, social media and apps all require a certain amount of oversight to ensure the visual and textural aspects of your brand are communicated in a meaningful way. Consistency is always key. It’s also one of the areas most difficult to keep watch over on a continual basis. That’s where your graphic designer comes in. [There are obviously infinite considerations other than those listed here, but it’s a great place to start.]
Yes, print is still around and it’s here to stay. In fact, it never went away and it’s already coming back. Print items never really go out of style and I enjoy working on custom pieces. Most of the print work I’m involved with today comes in the form of business collateral and publication design. Collateral covering all of those myriad little things that reinforce your visual brand (business cards, letterhead, custom brochures and pamphlets, you name it. Publication design covering larger products like magazines, annual reports, books, and even zines. Trust me, when it comes to print, you need the right team on your side. SO much goes into print production, it would be an unwise use of space to try to cover that expansive subject here. Knowing how to best layout products of this caliber isn’t something to be left to the inexperienced unless you’re looking for that inexperienced look. And yes, that happens. Trust in the fact that the print industry, although changed, is alive and well.
Web graphics come in many different shapes and sizes, no pun intended. While product manufacturers, photographers and drone operation entities may need hi-resolution imagery, many types of websites and site operators do not. Your graphics need to be light, usable and suitable for the mood and feeling you’re hoping to pique in your target audience. Logos are site graphics also come into play, both of which may or may not overlap with the graphics used in your print products. Keep in mind that many things may fly under the radar of an inexperienced designer, like the opportunity to better your search results by treating graphics in specific ways throughout web and email platforms. In almost all cases, your print and web graphics should be stored separately (different directories) for appropriate use. And those graphics should be stored permanently for future access.
I mention imagery here before copy simply because [and trust me, I’ve put a lot of thought into this] imagery is more important than copy, or the text. Here’s my reasoning. If you can’t find some common ground with your target audience through immediately recognizable imagery, there’s little chance you’re going to keep them on your site long enough to read anything valuable. Even been to a site that had great information but just made you cringe every time you look at the screen? Everyone has. And you leave. So do your potential clients and customers. Having been a photographer since the mid-80s, I already know it’s important. I lean heavily on the Adobe Creative Suite and find it useful. It’s the industry standard when it comes to creative design (and many other things), so an effective designer should be fluent in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and a host of other Adobe-related applications to work in a multi-media environment or you’re probably not getting your money’s worth.
Copywriting is extremely important, but more and more today, we’re seeing video take the place of the written word. There are some major exceptions, but overall when someone says a picture says a thousand words, that couldn’t be truer. Excepting essays and other forms of prose that require extensive dialogue, today’s version of good copy should support the associated imagery to produce a consistent, meaningful message. In most cases, copy should be refined, concise, meaningful (there that word is again), persuasive and reinforcing of your specific message. Of course I don’t abide by my own rules here. Why would I? In all seriousness, this is written for a broad range of people who need help, so I have to outline the playing field a bit more. I’ll replace all of this with video in the future as the marketplace changes.