In an era run by smartphones and tablets, most people have been truly consumed in the digital world. In fact, there are about 3.8 billion smartphone owners and roughly 4.2 billion active internet users today.
With roughly 80% of consumers have gone online, businesses are likewise thriving to adapt to the ever-changing environment of the digital space. Based on recent statistics, about 60% of businesses now have websites and more than 10% of companies’ marketing budget has been allocated to online platforms. With tighter competition brought by digital transformation, how can you make your brand truly stand out?
Digital design plays an integral part in the success of any business or brand in the age of the internet. Why? It is simply because an effective digital design creates brand identity and builds credibility, which will eventually translate to brand retention and of course, sales. Although, it is important to note that digital design is more than just creating graphics. It is about representing your brand and conveying your message to your potential audience.
However, the cost of hiring a professional digital designer has been a common challenge among start-ups and entrepreneurs. Luckily, there are easy-to-use applications and tools available for those with little or no experience in design – but that doesn’t mean that you cannot create well-thought-of and effective materials for your brand. Let’s take a look at the best digital design tips and trends this year:
1. Define your goal
Whether it be a simple social media post or a complex website design, it is important to determine the goal of every brand material.
- Is it to drive sales?
- Is it to raise awareness?
- Is it to increase website traffic?
- Is it to get more engagements?
Having a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve will ultimately make the design process a lot easier. Your purpose will set the direction for the content and elements that you want to include. This shall reflect on the tone, style, and overall impact of your output.
2. Know your audience
Let’s say you have determined your goal and you know exactly what you are trying to deliver. The next important thing to consider is your audience. Because, how can you communicate well if you don’t know who you’re talking to?
One common mistake of starting designers is to create a material that is generally addressed to everyone. But, in reality, not everyone speaks the same language nor has the same profile.
Defining your target audience, you’ll know how to communicate to them and capture their attention better. You can determine what appeals to them and what does not. Here are some questions to think about your target audience:
- What are their demographics? (i.e. age, sex, location)
- What are their interests?
- What are their needs and wants?
- What are their problems and frustrations?
- What digital platforms do they often use?
A quick research on the background of your target audience can help in the efficiency and effectiveness of your design.
3. Less is more
A nice design does not have to be complicated, especially if you are not experienced to curate many elements together. The trick is to keep it simple and straightforward. Stay away from clutter and just focus on what you want to highlight.
Using too many elements will just create distractions and will not be able to convey the message effectively. Instead, you want your audience to focus on the most important text and image of your material.
You can start with a plain slate and a couple of elements, then, add in only the necessary details. This style makes a more lasting impression than having an overly cluttered design with no coherence and harmony.
4. Font matters
The number of fonts available today can be quite overwhelming – because there are literally thousands to choose from. But, this simple detail is undoubtedly significant in building your brand and needless to say, in creating a design.
Fonts create mood and can highlight the personality of your brand. It affects how your message is conveyed and how your audience interprets such messages. As a rule of thumb, you only need a maximum of three different fonts to not create any sort of distraction. It is best to combine contrasting fonts to make your design more appealing and readable.
5. Colors communicate
Color is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and even influence physiological reactions.
In marketing and design, colors are used to appeal to consumers and target audiences. For instance, red triggers appetite, blue translates to security, green depicts harmony, purple is related to glamour, and so on
Choosing the right colors is a great factor in creating the identity of your brand, as you want your audience to recognize its personality at a glance. Here are some tips on selecting the best colors that fit your design:
- Pick the colors that best represent your brand
- Choose combinations that are comfortable to the eyes
- Adjust vibrancy based on the emotion that you want to portray
6. Icons create visuals
A text-heavy material can be boring and most likely won’t catch the attention of your audience. Instead, you can incorporate icons to make your design more visually appealing.
There are many icon sets that are available online for free, which you can utilize to emphasize the information that you want the audience to retain. Icons are often used for bullet points, buttons and also for other elements that add value to the overall aesthetic of your design.
7. Contrast makes impact
Contrasting is a design technique used not only to create more visual attraction, but also to promote thought organization and focus to the audience. However, contrast is not just about colors. It can also apply to fonts, colors, alignment, size, among others.
Here are some other contrast ideas that you can apply to your design:
- Dark background and light elements (vice versa)
- Sans serif fonts and serif fonts
- Left and right alignments
- Large and small images
8. Alignment helps
Proper alignment of design elements enhances readability and helps in comprehension of your audience. But, not everything has to be in the middle of your canvas.
You can explore different alignments such as center, left, right, justified, or combinations thereof. Just remember, alignments should redirect your audience to the flow of your message because readability is way more important than aesthetics.
For instance, people would first read from left to right and from top to bottom. To produce an effective marketing material that delivers a message clearly, it is best to organize the elements in such a way that it follows the natural movements of the eyes.
9. Consistency is key
To build retention, your audience should be able to recognize your brand across all digital publications. Your designs should support and connect to one another, which can be quite challenging especially if you have many varying ideas. But, you can always go back to your goal and take it as a core on your designs.
A consistent style will allow your audience to have a better understanding of your message and the brand itself. If you are making a series of designs for a single brand, try to use the same colors, same fonts, familiar elements and even similar tone.
Remember, digital design is more than just aesthetics. It is not about what appeals to the eyes but rather how you portray your brand and how you want your audience to receive it.
A good design is able to depict your message clearly and represent your brand effectively. It can be difficult at first and would definitely take time to really master the skill
These tips would definitely help your business, but, if still in doubt, you can always consult with professionals. Eight Media Solutions can help your brand really stand out online. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!