Graphic Design is Not Marketing

Graphic Design is not marketing. Though this statement may ruffle some feathers, read on to learn why…

In marketing you evaluate numbers, analyze data and look towards improving your sales or marketing presence using those factors. Design is actually very different. Strategic design looks into creating emotional connections to humans — not numbers. Using core design principles, we create intentional connections through color, typography, composition. Above all, we carefully craft content hierarchy to help get the marketing message across.

Imagine it like this: a busy room where everyone is yelling to get attention and want their message heard. That setting is overwhelming and highly ineffective — who can really hear through all that chaos?!  Now apply this example to graphic design… when you see content that is in your face with no clear structure, it’s hard to follow along, right? Now imagine that in the middle of the mayhem, someone puts up a sign that is easy to read and captures your attention. It’s likely you’re going to actually understand their message. Graphic Design can take the chaos of standing out to a human-centered connection approach.


Graphic Design is NOT marketing or about pretty pictures

There is a misconception (in some areas) that graphic design is just about pretty pictures and $99 logos. And it’s often, if not always, the last step in marketing.  While graphic design is not marketing, it’s very much a part of the strategy in marketing. If you only call on your designer to push out a quick job, it can actually be counter productive to your goals. Involving your designer as you plan can be of critical benefit. What’s key is that the designer understands your brand essence and marketing goals — that’s how they will create those emotional connections and experiences.

Graphic designers need to understand the goal at hand to support it with the right visuals. If they don’t, you can end up with bland design that makes you think, “I could have done this in Photoshop.” Yikes! Beyond this, it’s important to understand how connected graphic design is with forming first impressions. The wrong design elements can hurt — even tarnish — that first impression. While the right elements can help build curiosity.


What you need to do to accomplish this:

Design and marketing are actually a partnership. They help one another! Having worked with many, many marketers, we’ve seen the power of this link. We each become invested in understanding our goals and can find better solutions and results. It’s far more effective than having someone whip up a last minute graphic. As a strategic design and branding firm, our goal is to partner with clients and understand every angle of their goals, serving the brand mission.

Remember, you are competing in a noisy world. Pretty graphics won’t make your marketing (or branding) standout, just like statics or data won’t sell your brand. Leveraging important information and creating emotional connections to your audience can. Graphic design is not marketing, but it needs to be a partner to it in order to provide strategic solutions.

Nicte Creative Design
Nicte Cuevas, Principal of Nicte Creative Design, empowers mission-driven businesses through strategic design & branding. Nicte has applied this when working with Adobe Spark and Twitter Business, Dogs on Deployment and Purina, Girl Scouts, The Houston Zoo and The Contemporary Arts Museum. Her excellence in communication design & marketing has been recognized by multiple national / international awards, including a coveted feature in Graphic Design USA's People to Watch.

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