Graphic design is everywhere. From the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep, you are constantly bombarded with visuals and graphic communications—so much so that you may not even realize the extent to which you absorb visual information every day. But alot more thought and hard work goes into creating those powerful, memorable designs than you likely realize.
It’s not enough to just “paint a pretty picture” and hope someone notices. Powerful design is fueled by making a connection with your audience using strategic thinking and creative problem-solving. Keep reading to learn more about how to make that connection stronger—so you can design impactful visuals that build brand equity and create better digital experiences.
Get to Know Your Audience
Seeing as visual communications are intended for people to view, it should come as no surprise that it’s crucial to know who you’re designing for before you begin. Your target audience could be as specific as middle-aged cat ladies obsessed with holistic approaches to improve the quality of their cat’s already luxurious lives or as broad as the general American public interested in staying up-to-date on important world news. Either way, you’ll need to spend time researching your audience’s demographic.
As a general rule of thumb, the more you can learn about your audience, the better. After all, your ultimate goal is to make a connection with them—it’s hard to do that if you don’t take the time to understand what makes them tick. You’ll want to get a feel for what motivates them, what their pain points are, and so on.
Design Pixel-Perfect Compositions
While creating a pixel-perfect layout in your program of choice isn’t the only part of a successful design, presenting a compelling composition is certainly an important piece of the puzzle. As human beings, we are innately drawn to experiences that please our senses—and our visual experiences are no exception.
Within seconds, humans can effortlessly determine whether we find something attractive or not. This makes it crucial that we, as designers, are able to quickly captivate and draw our audiences in through beautiful, sophisticated design solutions. Only then do we have the opportunity to communicate our message and make a connection.
Incorporate Wit and Humor Into Your Design Solutions
In addition to being drawn to experiences that are pleasant to our senses, we are also naturally drawn to experiences that make us feel raw human emotions. Although there are many emotions you can strategically incorporate into your designs to make a strong connection with your audience, wit and humor happen to be two of my personal favorites.
Whether you reference a widely recognized icon in pop culture in a subtle but smart way or communicate your message with a comically bold statement, the ability to wield wit to connect with your audience on an emotional level can be profoundly powerful and effective. This is because emotional experiences tend to resonate with us on a deep level. As Maya Angelou so eloquently put it, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is also true when it comes to your visual communications.
Get to Know and Experiment with Design Trends
Studying different styles and trends throughout design history is more than just a great way to educate yourself on the evolution of design theories and principles. You can also take inspiration from design trends to amplify your designs into engaging masterpieces. For example, while Swiss design teaches us the importance of utilizing the grid system to determine the placement of design elements, the Dada movement approaches design from a satirical perspective and encourages the use of text and photos placed in an abstract and disorderly manner.
While understanding and implementing these established principles into your compositions can certainly help elevate your design solutions, it is just as important—if not more—to experiment with different styles and practices to “find your voice” as a designer and let your personality shine through. Implementing your own unique voice will help you stand out from the crowd and help your visual solutions resonate with your audiences on a more personal level.