After taking several graphic design courses and proudly dedicating myself to the craft of making anything to be visually pleasing, I thought I was ready for any design related challenges!
Ready was an understatement. Reality hit me like a truck on a rainy Vancouver highway and I realized there are different sections of design and each section takes a lot of time and effort to truly understand the quirks of each one. When I first began my position, I was given the task to become a content creator for the company’s Instagram page. My past confident self stuck her nose high in the air to only smash itself on the desk once I realized the process and requirements to design branded content for a business is completely different than what I learned in class.
Unlike designing a magazine cover or a poster that remains on the shelf for a period of time, social media content elevates the brand with a single post and catches the sight of the audience in less than a second. When the design space is just small square, there is only so much you can do, so with that in mind, here are five graphic design tips to make sure your branded social media posts are appealing and maintain a lasting impression about your brand:
The point of designing social media posts is to further the engagement of your audience with the company’s services. The ultimate goal is to create something enticing enough and direct future clients to that link in the bio, but to do so, we need to make sure the visual identity of the brand is distinct and recognizable. Therefore, the consistency of the brand elements like the brand logo or color schemes is especially important. The design should be distinct enough to let your audience know where the post originated from.
Having a thousand posts and none of which resemble one another can instill confusion in the audience as they may not understand the brand nor the message. Having consistency will ensure each post feels connected and the audience will associate a certain style with you.
A way I like to do it is to first make a template and place each draft post with one another. That way I can tell which posts look best together and ensure there are some brand relevance in each one.
Like the logo, the typography and colour also speaks a lot about the brand. Typography and colour projects certain kinds of emotions and makes a powerful statement on what you wish to convey. Selecting a font and a good color scheme that matches your brand is one of the first steps to ensure a lasting impression on your audience. When using fonts and colours it's also best to keep in mind that:
- Serif fonts are best for print
- Sans serif is best for web
- Limit your design (typography and colors) to a maximum of 3 fonts
Simplicity is best! That is my motto for a lot of my design decision making. Because the Instagram canvas is already so small, we don’t want to crowd it with a bunch of text or images. Your message will get lost in the many design elements! You can reduce the clutter by:
- White spaces are your best friend
- Use minimalist illustrations, icons, or graphic
- Try using only 2-3 contrasting colors
- Try to limit your font choices to be under 3
Ok. Yes, this is not a design tip but understanding the platform is especially important when you know what your audience expects on a social media site. Every platform is different and Instagram, the main platform of discussion for this blogpost, has a millennial majority audience and the site prefers visual based content, and currently prioritizes Instagram reels
With all that being said, let’s get to designing!