In today’s ever increasing visual world, anyone involved in promotion must venture into the realm of design, whether it’s to create a single flyer or develop a full-blown campaign.
Franco works closely with clients on a wide range of design projects, many of them created completely in house. Above are a sampling of recent print materials produced for our nonprofit clients.
But what if design is not your forte? Here are a few tips for getting the best from your graphic partner:
- Do a little soul searching. What exactly are you trying to communicate and who are you trying to reach? What is the best creative approach for your audience(s)? Are traditional print or online ads best? Does this call for a pamphlet? Would billboards do the trick? Is this an opportunity for something completely out-of-the-box?
- Be clear. What’s the end use for this creative? How will it be distributed and how do you want your audience react to or use it? Say you’re designing a giveaway for a special event, thinking through these logistics will direct your designer’s creativity and help ensure your piece generates the results you’re intending.
- Show and tell. Search online, skim magazines, take photographs, keep an eye on the mail . . . gather design samples that catch your eye and help you communicate specific creative elements you’d like your designer to explore. (Even sharing samples you DO NOT LIKE is helpful in keeping design on the right track.)
- Be real. What is your budget? No sense encouraging your designer to explore a multi-part print invitation with foil imprints, die cuts and other expensive bells and whistles when an oversized postcard is all your budget can handle. A skillful designer can achieve the look and feel you need at any price point.
- Be ready. Once you’ve agreed to a general approach, make sure to provide your designer with everything he or she needs for best results. Provide all text, images and logos at the outset so the initial design is as complete as possible.
- Take your time. When reviewing creative, “live” with it for a bit rather than provide immediate feedback. Make sure all the information you need to communicate is there. (Glaring omissions can be easier to catch at this stage.) Are the text, images and logos given the proper emphasis in relation to one another? Will the design reproduce well? For example, is the typeface too thin or small to be legible when printed in a newspaper?
- Be specific. What if the creative doesn’t meet your expectations? General “I don’t like it” feedback is not constructive and experience shows that by identifying the specific design elements you do not care for can turn a creative miss into a hit. Maybe changing the background color will make all the difference. How about eliminating a border or adding line art? Few design exercises are on target at first pass and require adjustments to get them right where you want them.
- Stay focused. It’s easy to be dazzled by a spectacular design that, with additional consideration, actually doesn’t meet your communications needs because the information is lost in the art. Compromise is key to finding the proper balance between the beauty and functionality of any creative designed for promotional purposes.
So the next time design factors into your promotional plans, take some time to do your homework before reaching out to your designer. It’ll make for a smooth process…and will reap wonderfully visual rewards! What design tips have you discovered along the way?
Pat Adanti-Joy, APR, is a vice president at Franco Public Relations Group, supporting the agency’s nonprofit clients, which includes a variety of design projects. You can reach her at 313-567-5046 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Imagine you’re sitting in on a presentation. It’s been a long day, you didn’t have time to make a run to the nearest Starbucks and your energy level is quickly waning. The presenter is walking through a text-only presentation – maybe something similar to this:
This presentation isn’t keeping anyone awake. Now imagine these details presented in a more visual way – bright colors, easy to read visuals, and only the most important facts presented on each slide.
An infographic is not only a great way to spice up a presentation, but can also make any campaign or project more appealing and easier to understand. They can help you engage followers on your social networks or even serve as reminder of the keyboard shortcuts on your computer.
At Franco, we think about an infographic in two ways – either similar to a persuasive article, where our goal is to create some type of action from the reader, or as an information piece to use as a quick data reference. No matter what type of infographic you’re creating, there are a few simple tips to keep in mind:
- Size Matters… Find your medium, figure out your allotted space and select a number of key points accordingly. For a single PowerPoint slide, it is a good idea to stick to one segment of data with about three to five points like the image seen above, or a single statistic. For a larger infographic, you can display three to five segments of data, or five to eight statistics. If you’re developing a larger infographic with multiple key points, consider breaking the graphic in pieces and revealing it in smaller sections to your audience within a presentation or on social media. This will help your audience digest the information on a smaller scale and allow the larger piece to serve as a takeaway at the end of the reveal.
- Show Your True Colors… Color schemes are important in any graphic piece and especially helpful for an infographic. When including your company’s logo in the overall design, pull colors directly from the image and find additional colors and neutrals to complement. Neutrals, including various levels of black, white, grays or browns are often used as background or font colors, but always remember to think outside the box. Use websites like ColourLovers.com to find or create color palettes that will help you achieve your vision. I like to start with three to five different colors depending on the size of the graphic.
- Choose Your Visuals Wisely… When developing your infographic, think about visuals that best represent your data. Find graphics to represent people or other imagery that is meaningful to your audience and use these images to develop graphs that show relationships between locations, audiences or competing products. For example, if you are trying to show the number of trucks per capita across a particular set of regions, create a bar chart that uses a truck as its increment for every 1,000 or 10,000 vehicles. While it is always best to develop your own graphics, free image sites like Clker.com or Flickr’s Creative Commons can be used for vector imagery. Adobe InDesign’s tracing tool is also a great way to transform an original photograph into an icon image. If you find yourself with artist’s block, Pinterest is a great source for design inspiration.
- Keep It Simple… When it comes to building an infographic, less is more. Keeping it simple is the best way to ensure your design and information is clear, clutter free and gets your point across.
- Don’t Forget What You’re Asking For… Aside from informing your audience on the facts, what else do you want to accomplish? A persuasive infographic should always have a clear call to action. Make sure your audience will know what to do with this new information, whether visiting a website, understanding a new set of target data or learning why your product is better than the competition.
For more infographic examples and tips, follow Franco Public Relations Group on Facebook and Twitter and let us know your favorite tricks of the trade in the comments below.
Erica Swoish is an account executive and the resident graphic designer at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at 313.567.5014 or email@example.com. And don’t forget to follow her on Twitter @ESwoish.