Maximizing Visual Impact: The Strategic Advantages of Employing a Professional Graphic Designer

Guest Post by Evander Hansen, Adobe (and, as a HUGE fan of Adobe Express and proponent of hiring graphic designers, I wholeheartedly agreed to post this blog article!).

Photo via Pexels

In today’s fast-paced and visually driven market, the importance of strong visual representation cannot be overstated. Businesses that aim to stand out in a crowded marketplace increasingly rely on the specialized skills of professional graphic designers. These creative experts not only bring artistic flair but also a strategic understanding of how visuals can enhance brand identity and communicate company values to consumers. This article hosted by Sparkbark details several key advantages of employing a professional graphic designer that collectively boost a business’s potential.

Enhancing Brand Recognition

A professional graphic designer possesses the unique ability to create a visual identity that resonates with your target audience, fostering instant recognition. This is more than just about a logo; it’s about choosing the right color schemes, typography, and design motifs that embody the essence of the brand. For example, think of the immediate recognition that brands like Apple and Coca-Cola command. Their distinctive visual styles were carefully crafted by professionals, making their products recognizable at a glance worldwide. This level of brand consistency ensures that customers can easily identify your products or services in a sea of competitors, reinforcing brand loyalty.

Bolstering Credibility and Professionalism

First impressions are crucial in business, and a well-designed visual representation speaks volumes about the company’s professionalism. A graphic designer ensures that all visual touchpoints—whether digital ads, business cards, or product packaging—convey quality and credibility. This professional appearance builds trust among potential customers, suggesting a reputable company that values quality in all aspects of its operations. This trust is fundamental in persuading customers to engage with your business initially and over time.

Creating Visually Compelling Marketing Materials

In the digital age, where consumers are bombarded with information, the ability to catch an eye with visually appealing marketing materials is essential. Professional graphic designers excel in creating layouts and designs that are not only beautiful but also effective in conveying the intended message. Whether it’s an impactful brochure, a memorable business card, or a dynamic online ad campaign, designers use their creative skills to make materials that grab attention and provoke action, significantly increasing the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Access to Specialized Design Tools and Software

Graphic design is an ever-evolving field that requires constant upskilling and access to advanced tools and software. Professional designers invest in the latest design technologies, which are often cost-prohibitive for many businesses to acquire and maintain. By hiring a professional, companies gain access to top-tier design tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign without the direct investment in expensive software or training, ensuring that the quality of visual content remains high and on par with current trends.

Expertise in Design Principles and Aesthetics

A professional graphic designer is trained not only in how to use design software but also in fundamental design principles including balance, alignment, contrast, repetition, and proximity. This training allows them to create designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also optimized for user experiences and marketing effectiveness. A deep understanding of these principles ensures that every piece of designed material functions well in its intended context, whether it’s enhancing readability, conveying messages effectively, or driving customer engagement.

Experience in Crafting and Executing a Cohesive Visual Strategy

Perhaps one of the most valuable assets a professional designer brings to the table is their ability to see the big picture. Designers help businesses develop and implement a cohesive visual strategy that aligns with their branding and marketing goals. This strategy encompasses various media and platforms, ensuring consistency across all channels. Such consistency strengthens brand identity, enhances customer journey experiences, and builds a reliable brand image that customers can grow to recognize and trust.

Showcasing Your Designs with Adobe Express

Adobe Express is a versatile design tool that helps both novice and professional designers effectively showcase their creative projects. Here are four ways you can utilize Adobe Express to display and extend the reach of your final designs:

  • Cohesive Branding Materials: Adobe Express offers a range of customizable templates that can be used to create unified branding materials. This includes business cards, letterheads, and email signatures that carry your brand’s visual identity consistently across various mediums.
  • Promotional Materials: With Adobe Express, you can easily convert your designs into promotional materials such as flyers, posters, and brochures.
  • Merchandise Design: Adobe Express enables you to apply your designs to a wide range of merchandise, including t-shirts, mugs, and tote bags. This feature is particularly useful for creating custom merchandise for branding or promotional efforts.
  • Social Media Graphics: Tailoring your designs for different social media platforms is crucial in today’s digital age. Adobe Express helps create optimized graphics for platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Employing a professional graphic designer offers myriad benefits that go beyond mere aesthetics. It is an investment in a company’s brand identity, market position, and ultimately, its success. As businesses continue to navigate a competitive environment, the expertise and creative prowess of a graphic designer can be a pivotal element in distinguishing a company from its competitors, fostering customer loyalty, and driving business growth.

What I designed today: A horizontal funnel to illustrate learner journey retention for Google Cloud

Disclaimer: I’ve been so busy working that most of the “What I designed today” posts are going to be a retrospective! I designed this horizontal funnel a few weeks ago. The funnel was used in executive presentations using Google Slides for Google Cloud Partner Learning & Certification. The intent was to illustrate Google Cloud learner journey progress through a 5-stage funnel. I had a difficult time finding a vector or raster graphic for a horizontal funnel, so I drew one in Adobe Illustrator! I actually drew two versions: a horizontal funnel WITH a gray path and one without. Here’s the original .ai file for Adobe Illustrator for you to copy and tweak or a transparent PNG. Not-so-incidentally, this fits standard Google or PowerPoint Slides perfectly.

SEE BELOW the FUNNEL IMAGE for QUICK DESIGN TUTORIAL on how to use PNG files and keep image sizes low in large presentations and documents.

Design tip: place the entire PNG in your file and crop the image to the part you want to use. If you’re working in PowerPoint, you can compress images to what is shown to keep your file size down. Here’s a handy, quick 1-minute video tutorial on how to save space by compressing images in PowerPoint — makes for easy file sharing and space saving files. It was an old tech tip I shared with colleagues in my last role but still applies for those of you who want to keep file sizes down for sharing without using cloud hyperlinks.

What I Designed Today: Farmers Market Business Cards

I have always been somewhat proud — that’s not quite the right word — of the fact that over 25 years of designing marketing materials for clients, I have NEVER advertised. I think it’s less pride than it is reassurance that my skills and talents are valued and worthwhile and not having to advertise is just a key performance indicator (KPI in the business world).

Front of the business card for Palisades Farmers Market in Washington D.C.
Back of the business card for Palisades Farmers Market in Washington D.C.

During my 6 years of consulting and humanitarian work, I didn’t design much of anything (although those skills did come in handy many times – particularly using MailChimp to send a regional newsletter but I digress…). Occasionally random strangers would still approach me via email or my website about design work. Most of the time, I’ve had to ignore those requests but I had some free time yesterday when an easy request arrived in my in-box and I learned a few things about myself:

  • I was giddily happy to be doing any kind of design work again. I just love to CREATE whether it’s a small business card or an entire marketing plan or confidence in a colleague or friend…creation is my “thing.”
  • Software is the same, but with wonderful upgrades — and believe it or not I kept up my Adobe subscription for 6 years while barely using it (now that’s a commitment to software you love).
  • I’ll never get used to switching from Mac to PC back to Mac again — muscle memory from years of shortcuts and keyboard strokes do NOT translate to the right buttons! I’ll get there…still loving my new MacBook…but probably just in time to get back to Windows 10 and a PC (which I despised at first but quickly came to love). I joke that we’re a non-denominational platform family — we like to use ALLLLLLL the devices available to improve our lives.

This new client found me via a simple Google search for “ticket business card” and came across this old post from 2013. Wow! That’s reassuring because even though I thought my skills were a bit rusty — and I’m sure they are — good design is timeless. I may not have the drawing skills I’d like but I can set up a typographical hierarchy like nobody’s business…and it was good to know I’ve still got it, it just takes a little longer than six years ago!

What I Designed Today: Billboards for Adam & Kizzie at OK Mozart’s Ambler Hall

Adam & Kizzie are coming to Bartlesville and it’s going to be a fantastic night of music at OK Mozart’s Ambler Hall.  This is a new direction for OK Mozart’s music selection and this duo with their gospel, blues, rock-n-roll and jazz sound are sure to please.  I can’t wait to hear how they sound in Ambler Hall.  If you’re local, info & tix are at okmozart.com.

Technically I designed these billboards a little over two weeks ago.  The traditional billboard goes up tomorrow and I hope to add a shot of that from the street as well.

Traditional billboard

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Digital billboard

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Digital billboard from the street

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What I Designed Today: Logo Guide for Bartlesville’s Ambler Hall

It’s not a full-on style guide but it’s a step in the right direction with a usage guide for the most common scenarios for a logo.  I’m so excited about some of the concerts coming up at Ambler Hall!  Check out Adam & Kizzie — they’re coming in November.  For more details, visit OK Mozart on the web.

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What I Designed Today, err…weeks ago: Father’s Day Poster & Coupons for La Fiesta

There’s a Mexican restaurant in Bartlesville, La Fiesta, that I’ve never been to — not because it’s not popular but because when we stayed in the hotel that shares it’s parking lot (while our home was under construction), we witnessed the chef puking out back then go back in.  The next night we witnessed an ambulance take away a customer.  We kind of figured that was an omen and wrote the restaurant off without ever actually trying it.  I found it interesting, then, that I was tempted to go when I was requested to design these coupons for Father’s Day.  I was relieved it was on Sunday because that eliminated my temptation altogether since we try our best to not eat out on the Sabbath Day.  I just may have to try it another time, though!

Here’s the original link to pieces of stock art by CharlieZ.  I like my adaptation and his stock art did make it very easy.

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What I Designed Today: Recreated a Farrier Logo

All design work isn’t fun or glamorous.  Scratch that.  MOST design work isn’t fun or glamorous at all because it’s the actual do-this-to-get-paid variety of work (even if it’s ugly).  Take this project:  I was asked to recreate a farrier’s logo for a 73″ wide banner.  It wasn’t difficult to do but it took time to redraw in Illustrator and get it right.  There was no using any sort of conceptual design skills — just rote recreation of a graphical element.  The project used my expertise of Illustrator but I had no creative liberty whatsoever, which is fine.  It pays the bills.  Just like any other occupation, graphic design is work — and work I’m grateful and blessed to have!  After all, there are worse ways to make a living…

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What I Designed Today: Social Media Contest for Tate Boys Tire

One of Bartlesville’s finest local establishments, Tate Boys Tire, is running a social media contest and I was asked to design their promotional signs for print and online/web.  If you want to enter the contest, go to the Tate Boys Facebook Page and just like and share the image!

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What I Designed Today: L’Amore D’Italia Program for OK Mozart

The program for OK Mozart’s L’Amore d’Italia Ball is a smaller, 4-page, 1-fold piece.  I love the interior and it printed nicely on a heavy linen stock thanks to Bartlesville’s best print shop.  It turned out just lovely!  Osage Casinos sponsored the event and the mask picure on the cover was taken by local artist Gary Gibson.

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What I Designed Today: Print Shop Docs with Horrible Fonts

I’m loving the interesting flow of work coming from Bartlesville’s local print shop.  There is, however, the problem of recreating things to print EXACTLY as a client requests — but that is ugly as all get-out.  It nearly killed me the other day to save a print-ready file using the Hobo font.  The project here called for Rage Italic and a graphic with lines that I absolutely do not understand (It’s so abstract, it could mean anything!).  Kill me now.  But, such is the life of a print shop — the client’s requests always come first!  And if you are the client and you happen to read this:  take it from an experienced designer — it’s time for an update on your logo and materials. You don’t even have to hire me.  Just, for the love of all that’s holy, refresh your brand.

Exhibit A:  Rage Italic in all its horrific 1980s glory — letterhead and envelopes.  Because a small town rec center is nothing if not thorough.
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What I Designed Today: 2015 OK Mozart Festival Poster

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What I Designed Today (ahem, last week): OK Mozart A Really Fun Prairie Run Event Poster

I really need to do better at publishing daily so I don’t have to keep backtracking!  But I’ve been working way too much and there’s no way I can post it all.  That’s good, right?!

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What I Designed Today: 2015 OK Mozart L’Amore d’Italia Ball Invitation & RSVP Card

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