why is this in your inbox? We believe that at some point (if we’re not working on something together already) that you will need creative thinking in the design and development of some marketing materials. We love building long-term relationships and understand that this only happens with repeated success. AXIS visual has been supporting the business community for 15 years and has many valued long-term relationships. If you have any thoughts or questions about how we work or how we might approach an upcoming marketing challenge, give us a call (610-527-0332), drop us a note, send a carrier pigeon, whatever you prefer.
Here the shortlist of what we do:
- Branding / Logo Development
- Corporate Communication
- Publication Design
- Website Design
- Print Design (All Kinds)
- Package Design
- Exhibit Design
- Email Marketing
- Product and Service Literature
- You Name it
How Do You Say Hello in Purple?
After working in the design and marketing field for a while, and designing a wide variety of things for a wide variety of audiences I have noticed something. It’s something that I’ve been doing subconsciously for years and it’s been a very important component of successful design.
Every project, no matter how big or how small, no matter if it’s formal and serious or playful and entertaining, all have visual languages that have been assembled from endless sources to help reinforce the purpose and meaning of the piece. This visual language draws from the common experiences of a specific audience. They are the historical languages of the past, the accepted standards of the way things were shown before. They are the images surrounding us as a society today. They are old languages and new. They are the patterns, textures, colors, letterforms, emotions, feelings and just about anything that one can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. And each and every one of them carries with it an emotional and cerebral connection. These languages, or maybe I should say the specific visual vocabulary, or in some lesser evolved cases, the primal grunts of early communication are different for every person, group, industry, gender, age, etc. But there are common visual “words” that are understood on a subconscious and sometimes conscious level by each audience to mean specific things. These, are the tools of the designer. We, or at least the designers that do more than simply make things pretty, learn about the specific audience and build a communication from these “language” elements that reinforce the purpose and meaning of the desired message. Lets face it. before a person reads anything they see an image, a composition, a color combination, a style that gives them an impression that inspires them to either get excited and look further or hit “delete,” throw it away or simply walk away.
How do we learn the many languages, the words, the “intonation” of specific visual phrases? We watch. We watch our culture. We watch our friends, TV commercials, architecture, food packaging, what bankers wear, color trends, the “what’s hot and what’s not” of our culture. We also look back at languages of the past (this is of particular value when designing for more conservative audiences), we study images, typography and colors everywhere we go and we build our ability to design in a wider and wider circle of cultures and “target markets.”
One might think that after acquiring all these language skills, it then becomes a simple matter of picking the right visual “words” and voila! you have a great promotion. As in cooking, (damn, I’m mixing my analogies here) having the ingredients is only part of the process. I can tell you that you need eggs, flour, water and some seasoning and without discussing how much, when to add what, and how to cook it, ten people will have ten very different results, some good, some total failures, and some in between. This culinary ability is the design process. Knowing (as I have mentioned in a previous newsletter) when to whisper some parts of the visual message and when to yell, knowing that hitting the audience over the head with an overly used visual phrase becomes an unproductive cliché, knowing that certain messages require a mix of languages in order to deliver complex qualities of a product, and knowing when to use a strong and simple “opening message” to draw attention, these are all decisions that a designer makes in order to increase the impact of the message.
But what are the actual words in this language? What are the elements of design that are flexible enough to deliver this visual verbiage? Images of course, are the obvious first thought, and often this is where many people end their thinking of message reinforcement. But what about conceptual imagery, an image unrelated to the immediate product being promoted? This is a way to reinforce a products capability or quality. You’ll see this often in advertising sometimes in a serious manner, sometimes using humor. Photography or illustration are also ways to deliver a visual language. How about the image style or treatment, or the size of it on the page? The typography treatment, the composition, the colors chosen, the visual heirarchy (the order that we want the reader to see the information), the paper it is printed on, all of these can be modified, arranged and otherwise adjusted to reinforce a message.
Picture this, you are walking through a room with 100 other people. Everyone is talking, carrying on conversations in Russian (I’m assuming that you don’t speak Russian). You may from time to time take notice of a word here and there, but for the most part all the discussions blend into an over all texture of sound. Suddenly, you hear a couple speaking English. Without it being a conscious effort, you move closer to here their conversation, possibly to take part in the discussion, or you simply move closer out of curiosity. This is what the right visual language does for promoting almost anything. Out of the texture of messages that we see in almost every direction, a visual connection to our thoughts, our experiences, and maybe even to our emotions, makes us stop, pay attention, understand, and change our thoughts and behavior in some way. This could be to look further at a given product, or to refer a company to a friend or associate, or to simply buy something.
So, let me get my English/Visual translation book out and solve all your promotional challenges. It’s here some place. Maybe in my other pocket… just kidding. If it were that simple, if a basic book could have the “design/promotion code” anyone (and maybe everyone) would be delivering the same, and therefore boring visual answers. The amount of variables from the different audiences, different products, different business areas, different company personalities, even the different points in time, are far too great to allow for a simple visual equation. In the end, when traveling in the foreign lands of promoting, you may be able to ask for the bathroom or order a beer, but to really communicate, an interpreter, a translator, a guide… a good designer, is required to talk the language.
Below is an illustration / design style and a few sample spreads from a campaign that we created for The MandMarblestone Group
AXIS visual worked on this project with Markitects, Inc. a strategic communications firm, to rebrand The MandMarblestone Group and enhance its communications with investment firms, CPAs and end users, as part of an overall effort to raise the awareness of the firm as a niche provider of customized retirement plans for privately owned businesses and professional service firms.
To see many more samples of our work please visit our website at www.axisvisual.com
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1600 Lower State Rd.
Doylestown, PA 18901