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Fundamental visual marketing principles NOT to forget

Fundamental visual marketing principles NOT to forget Ann Smarty
Visual marketing is a staple in branding, and that isn't something that will ever change. After all, it has been a part of advertising since long before the Internet. You can find plenty of examples of advertisements through history that used images, even before the invention of the printing press. Just the signs over businesses are an example of visual marketing with the images representing the business name.

Now that we are living in the digital age the principle is the same, even if the presentation is different. Unfortunately, it is also much harder to be seen. The landscape is packed to burst with others vying for attention. How can you possibly hope to be seen?

There is no magic formula that will get people to notice you. A lot of it is about being consistent in your efforts, and establishing a recognizable visual presence. Here are some ways you can do that.

Keep A Consistent Visual Layout

Keep A Consistent Visual Layout

Switching up the format of your visuals all the time is a mistake. The layout itself can be a form of branding, helping to immediately set you apart from the pack. That means borders, brand colors, grid placement, quality of visuals style of vectors, and other visuals.

But it's not always about color palettes.

First Site Guide guides section is an interesting example of visual consistency without really any obvious color consistency. All the guides obviously belong to the same brand but the consistency is achieved not by using colors but by using matching forms, illustrations and formats.

First Site Guide guides section design consistency

Create a Design Guide!

Take some time to establish parameters that apply to all visual marketing content. It is an important strategy to making sure your visuals are uniform.

ToolsYour Design Guide can be as complex or as simple as you would like. For example, here is the Channel 4 guide that breaks down all of their visual format requirements for anyone who works for their brand, whether as an employee or a contractor.

ToolsHere's a logo and brand design guide identity guide available for download for you to easier create one as well.

Use Your Logo Without Overpowering Your Visuals

Use Your Logo Without Overpowering Your Visuals

Having a logo on visual content is a given. But you don't want it to be so garish that it causes the viewer to become overpowered by it. Your visuals themselves should still take precedence. That is especially important when it comes to visual content that will be on related platforms, like Pinterest.

Put your brand name somewhere in the beginning or end of the infographic like this Mobile Year In Review by Mobile Future. It tells you exactly who made the graphic no matter where it is posted, but it isn't so glaring that it distracts from the point of the visuals. It is the perfect balance.

You can also put in a simple logo in the corner of an image. But make sure you have a recognizable enough brand if you won't be putting in a company name or website link.

Tools Here are some tools to watermark your images. You can even watermark images while they upload to Wordpress!

Don't Discount Complementary Color Schemes

Don't Discount Complementary Color Schemes

There are a lot of monochromatic and analogous color schemes being used in visuals lately. While these are fine, there is something to be said about going with complementary colors.

For those who don't know, complementary colors are those that are direct opposites on the color wheel. This could be done in different tints/shades, or just as the primaries. By using opposites you have a bold color scheme that really stands out, while still meshing together well.

Try taking your brand colors and finding their complementary shades on the spectrum. Then incorporate that into your visuals. It will make a real statement, attract the eye and look good.

ToolsCoolors.co is one of the best tools to generate and edit a color scheme. It's also quite addictive to play with!

Really Pay Attention To The Details

The little details are sometimes the most important. For example, the font that you use can make or break the entire tone of your content. The colors you choose one something as small as a border can change the whole look of your piece. Even the spacing between letters, or grid boxes, can have a huge impact.

Don't rush your visual marketing. It can be tempting to produce as much as possible to span the social realm, in order to drive quick traffic. But that will diminish your returns in the long run, as people see that what you are producing isn't worth viewing.

Slow and steady wins the race. So don't skimp out on the little things.

Tools Use Spur to get a quick feedback on your design and see if you are breaking any basic visual principles.

Creativity Is Key

Creativity is an important part of visual marketing, and one that is left out of the equation far too open. Sure, a stock photo will get the point across when you need it to. But does it have any flare? The force to push the message you want to convey? Most importantly, does it represent your brand as a singular entity?

All marketing is showing your audience that you have something that fixes a problem. Maybe they have a question, or need a product, or don't even know what they need. Your job is to show them the solution.

But visual marketing is that, and more. It is also about giving a creative solution that is better than anything else out there. You don't just want to solve a problem, you want to do it in a way that balances carefully between informative/help, and visually appealing/entertaining. That will be the elusive goal of every piece you release, it if is going to be successful.

Visual marketing can help you stand out in a very competitor niche. Sitegeek is a great example of that. They visualized hosting reviews: You won't find this kind of visualization anywhere else: They got their competitive advantage.

Sitegeek visualization

Do plenty of research to see how competitors are doing it. Then do something different. It might seem like a good idea to copy what you know is working for someone else. But that won't push those creative buttons that are so important.

Visual marketing can even expand your product line if you try to look outside of the box. One of the most recent examples is this company offering their customers to turn their Instagram timeline into a poster and print it: What a great way to use a visual trend to both diversify your product range and attract attention!

Intagram poster

Amp Up Your Visual Marketing!

In the end, just being consistent is going to have a huge impact. But as you continue to produce visuals for your marketing campaign, the above tips can help you a lot more than any so-called “guaranteed method” ever will.

Have a tip? A case study? Let us know in the comments!

Ann Smarty is the brand and community manager for InternetMarketingNinjas.com, founder of MyBlogU and co-founder of ViralContentBuzz.com. She has been into Internet Marketing for 7 years and has been well-known as one of the most entrepreneurial...

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