It’s smart to use graphic design trends in marketing

by: dRC

Postcard for Cleveland EOdRC website launch postcardRack card design for Bainbridge Recovery Centerwebsite ux elements

We’re talking trends this month at designRoom. For me, when I hear the term, trends, I think of fashion (I’m usually thinking about fashion anyway). But trends in graphic design and advertising are just as publicly apparent. Looking at some trends graphic designers are using lately, you see a lot of retro influence, hand drawn type, geometric shapes and technology influences, just to name a few. Peek at a few of the dRC projects above that demonstrate some of these trends. We also have a Pinterest board devoted to design trends.

Like fashion trends, employing trendy design elements in our work allows it to stand out as current and fresh. On the other hand, design trends can make your work feel dated very quickly. I mean, who doesn’t have a stack of old direct mail postcards hidden in a file cabinet at work?  Or a trucker hat collection at home? Or leg warmers (apparently those are back in)? Trendy pieces might pass quickly but, done right, the impression can be lasting. Here are five ways you can use current design trends in your communications in a fresh new way:

  1. Create a special promotional piece. A beautifully designed poster or calendar is a quick statement piece that can go very far by being in the moment. Have you seen what designers are doing with the tried and true inspirational poster?
  2. When appropriate, a presence for your brand on a popular app can be very effective. Consider pinning relative content on Pinterest or try out an Instagram account for your company. I love this article which explores creative ways to use Instagram for business.
  3. Small doses can go far: try a small design trend element in your communications. Chad has given me tons of grief about my propensity for using a ribbon element in my designs this summer. We joked that anything could, and should, have a ribbon on it. In the end, a small nod to a 3D ribbon effect worked really well in these communications for the Cleveland chapter of EO (the Entrepreneurs’ Organization).
  4. Try it on something unusual for your brand. Ever considered a t-shirt giveaway, a greeting card, or Facebook campaign? Something special “just because” for your existing customers will be appreciated, and keep your company top of mind.
  5. Utilize the mundane. Consider adding new design elements to your regular communications, such as email or direct mail pieces. These marketing workhorses will benefit from a fresh jolt of design inspiration. Speaking of email campaigns, have you checked out dRseen, our monthly summary of designRoom happenings and know-how?

Whatever new design elements you choose to integrate, remember that everything you do has to relate to your corporate brand. A good designer can find cohesion in most elements: use trend elements but keep your corporate colors. Or try a similar typeface. Varying from the norm is fine in small doses, but keep your roots in your established corporate brand. That way, when you look back at your marketing efforts you won’t cringe. Instead, you’ll remember just how good that piece made you look. Just like when you first tried on that Keep on Truckin’ trucker hat.

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