Design Tips for 6 Common Marketing Projects

We all have a wide variety of projects on our plate every day. And while you may have design skills, it’s not reasonable that you’re a master of all things design or can channel creative inspiration on demand! Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are essential to the designer toolkit, but if you’re not using them day in and day out, you might need some help getting started, or at least a quick refresher.

To help kickstart your creativity, take advantage of ready-to-use templates with instructions for commonly needed marketing materials. And learning sites for Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign let you find tutorials specifically for your skill level. Now you can learn step-by-step while you create the deliverables you need.

Here are some quick design tips and best practices to help you create any of six typical marketing pieces — and deliver anything but typical results:

1. Logos

First, don’t mistake your logo for your brand identity. Your logo — the graphic you use to promote instant recognition — is simply one aspect of your brand. Some logos only use a custom image or brandmark, like the one below, others just use their company name or a wordmark. When two or more elements together make up your logo, this is often referred to as a logo lockup and treated as a single image. Colors, personality, messaging, and even typography are just as important to your brand identity and will help determine your logo design. Bring your company’s story and visual identity to life by creating a logo that has legs — in today’s multimedia world, brand images must be scalable, responsive, and identifiable across a variety of sizes, shapes, dimensions, and applications. Use Illustrator to design for maximum flexibility and then save it in the file formats you’ll regularly use and in a place that’s easily accessible for your team, such as CC Libraries.

2. Stationery Design

Design your letterhead and business cards with InDesign. While these assets may seem outdated, the need for identity sets that can be used in a variety of digital media hasn’t waned. And, the quality of design is important too — 72 percent say they judge a company or person by the quality of their business card and 78 percent say a color card is more memorable than plain white. If you’re printing letterhead and cards, be sure to select a color scheme that will fit your budget — perhaps simplifying a multi-color logo to a monochrome version that can be equally impressive and allow you to afford better quality paper and printing. Finally, consider how body copy will look on your letterhead and offer guidelines for margins and fonts common to word processing software, but still look like they belong on your letterhead.

3. Brochure

A brochure is a common marketing piece that begins to require more expertise. Use InDesign to compile images, headlines, and copy across multiple pages and in a variety of custom sizes. This is no small feat and there are an infinite number or combinations. However, there are also a near infinite number of brochure templates to give your project a framework. Start by deciding on the brochure specifications — print or digital, number of pages, bound or folded, number of colors, and the ratio of images to text to white space. Select a template that matches your specs closely to eliminate as much preliminary work as possible. Be sure to use grid systems — a series of intersecting guidelines to structure content and organize graphic elements — and pay attention to contrast and scale to help establish a hierarchy that leads your reader naturally through the piece.

4. Flyer

Similar to a brochure, but often shorter and with more visuals than copy, a flyer created in InDesign is a great way to get the word out — both online and in person — about your event, new service, or business. Simplify your need for inspiration and create consistency for your brand by using the same design elements from your brochure or other materials, but update images to convey the message at hand. Here, the headline is most important and details should be limited to essential and actionable information. Be careful to remain conservative with font selections so the reader’s focus remains on your message, rather than a distracting font choice.

5. Social Media Graphics

A picture is worth 1,000 words — and it will increase the likelihood of customer engagement on social media by 10 times. Creating images for social media can be done easily in Photoshop. Crop images to the right size, edit to get the right resolution for crispness without slowing load times, and optimize the design for responsive web sites so the visual is pleasing across varying screen sizes and orientations. You’ll frequently want to add text. Combine photos or images from Adobe Stock, text, and other artwork to create original images for your favorite social media platforms.

6. Data Visualization for Infographics and Presentations

Charts and graphs are the best way to share data that supports your message. Use an Illustrator template with instructions for the simplest way forward on this project. Whether you are customizing graphics for an online infographic or a big screen presentation, the number one rule is “less text.” Use headlines to identify key points and then let your design do the talking. Any details that are too small will be difficult to read in either setting. And don’t forget to use this as another opportunity for branding — use colors, fonts, and additional illustrations that match your brand identity. Add your logo. Make your data look like it came from you.

Finally, the best way to learn great design skills is to copy something good. Just like painters copying masterpieces in a museum, starting with something you love and then changing each element to make it your own will teach you to care for the details you didn’t even know were there. To learn more about making the most of your Creative Cloud subscription, take some time to learn design details with Adobe Stock’s instructional templates.