Marketing is a demanding sport, even in B2B. The challenge to get your brand out there and call attention to your latest product launch, webinar, event or whatever can be grueling. And no doubt, you have limited time and budget!
Maybe you have in-house graphic designers at your disposal, or you might use freelancers or agencies to help you get it all done. Either way, you want to achieve a custom-designed look without going overboard.
As an experienced freelance graphic designer who also spent years working on in-house design teams for various B2B products, I have a few tried and true tips to help you get the job done creatively and efficiently. Lucky you, I'm in a sharing mood.
Tip #1: Be original in some way
If you're picking a slogan, headline or theme for your promotion, it's hard to be original. And sometimes, that's OK. Business is rife with 'already done' concepts and often you just don't have time to reinvent something totally original. If that's the case, at least try to interpret the theme in a unique way, or style the design in some way that is totally yours. A past colleague of mine would offer the advice: "take that already-done idea and turn it on its ear."
Let's take an example. Say you're planning your annual sales kick-off meeting and you've been given the theme "Leading the Pack." Not much for originality, but you don't have time to argue the point and come up with something new. Instead, interpret it in an original way.
Maybe tie it in with your corporate mascot, or your local sports team. Or maybe choose imagery that is specific to your product/solution and what "leading" might look like for your sales team, not just the generic race-car theme that could just as easily be seen at your 7-year-old's birthday party! No one wants that, my friend.
Tip #2: Keep the concept clean
The best designs start with a concept that makes sense to the content and the application. Maybe you're doing a lead-gen campaign. The main asset is an ebook, based on an industry research survey you conducted. Research stats in-and-of themselves are not very sexy. Your ebook needs a hook. The concept for the hook will drive your title, your graphics and the stats throughout the ebook. It must be relevant and attention-grabbing to your intended audience.
Here are a few examples:
The point is to find a concept that works with your content and can drive the visual presentation of the information in a compelling, relevant and memorable way.
Tip #3: Be consistent and integrated
This leads us to our third tip which is consistency and integration of the design concept. Rarely does one marketing asset stand alone. Once you write that ebook, you have to promote it on social media. Maybe there is a similar webinar the presents the same data. And for all of that you no doubt need emails, landing page and website assets to promote them. To get the most out of your design, be consistent with all your asset treatments and your campaign will work well together to make a bigger impact.
Using the same words, colors, images and URLs will create a truly integrated campaign. Your design investment will go farther because you're just resizing and repurposing what you started with when developing the initial concept. Aren't you the smart one?
Tip #4: Stock art can be your friend
The days of cheesy clip art are a thing of the past -- or they can be when placed in the hands of a skilled graphic designer. Sure, it would be great if you had an unlimited budget like some tech giant who can hire an illustrator or photographer to create an original piece for every project. Reality check; that rarely exists!
Not to worry. Every graphic element doesn't have to be developed completely from scratch to look custom to your project and brand. A good designer knows how to follow your brand guidelines to stay consistent with style, color and fonts. And the best brand books allow room for a skilled designer to stretch their creativity.
Source files can be purchased very inexpensively that are editable and customizable to match your color palette. Typography can be combined with modified vector files, inexpensive stock photography (chosen carefully), textures and backgrounds. With originality you can walk away with something truly unique and custom -- on-brand, on budget and unique to your need.
The secret's out.
It is possible to achieve a custom design look without going overboard in time or resources. It just takes a little creativity and skill plus a willingness to work with what you've got. So, go ahead! Think big and aim for something unique even though you may only have a small budget. Only small imaginations think that's a real limitation. We know better, now, don't we?
Hi. I'm Barbara Bogue. The name [double b] came from my initials. Here I share tips and advice on marketing, design and copywriting.
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