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First of all lets define what we mean by effective graphic design. Graphic design is a form of design, a creative process that involves development and innovation. It is a form of communication that aims to combine images usually graphic, typographic or photographic to convey information to a target market.
By effective graphic design I mean work that has the qualities required to achieve the objectives for which it was produced.
The types of communication materials requiring effective graphic design that would be classified as:
- Mail shots
- Point of sale materials
Websites, banner advertising and emailers would also involve graphic design but this type of design is somewhat different in its development process and the criterion required to produce effective communication materials are also different. This type of electronic graphic design is usually known as interactive media.
It is a different subject altogether and I will focus on design for print in this article.
The development of effective graphic design work involves several stages, these would typically be:
- Briefing and identification of requirements
- Concept development
- Visuals including layout, images, colour selection copy and typography
- Development of visuals to finished artwork
- Campaign execution
The objective of graphic design is to influence customer behaviour patterns in a positive manner e.g. to influence them in purchasing decisions favourable to your own brand, products or services. Graphic design can achieve this by convincingly conveying the reasons why the consumer or business should make these decisions and carry out the necessary actions.
In order to influence customer decisions and deliver effective graphic design the stages to follow are:
- Appoint the correct design agency in terms of cost and quality. The internet is now undoubtedly the best place to source quality, effective graphic design.
- Give the design or agency the best brief you possibly can. Explain what you hope to achieve, what your target market is in terms of age, sex, social class or for a business to business project, company size, etc. Decide on your major sales points and convey these to the designers.
- The design agency must then develop concepts which will convey your main sales points in the most effective manner, this could include humour, comparison, aspiration, credibility, price advantage, etc. Usually both visual work and copy will be presented. The agency should also be able to make recommendations about the best form of print or media to achieve the set objectives.
- The most suitable and effective concept should be selected and then developed together by the client and the agency. The process is most effective if the two work in harmony, the agency using its knowledge of marketing, the design process and customer behaviour and the client their knowledge of the particular market.
Antagonism on either side is usually detrimental to the final result!
Once this process is complete you should have your effective graphic design work and the final stages are print and production, the roll out of the campaign and most importantly, the achievement of objectives.