2017: A Business Design Year in Review
Adobe Stock / Witthaya
by The Creative Cloud Team
posted on 11-28-2017
2017 is nearly over, but its design innovations will not be soon forgotten. Designers experimented with new ways to use technology, new techniques for reaching audiences, and new trends in creativity. Advances in accessibility of design tools make it easy for anyone to enhance their marketing strategy and update their company’s image. Vintage styles came back to popularity, giving modern designs a nostalgic feel. Creators at all skill levels discovered new and better ways to convey their messages and showcase their visions with Creative Clouds for teams memberships.
Take a look back at some of Adobe’s top 2017 blogs for small businesses to see this year’s highlights, and what you can look forward to in 2018.
Small businesses, with limited marketing budgets, don’t need to settle for subpar strategies — especially with the continued rise of social media. It’s never been easier to craft a clear, appealing message that can reach your audience wherever they are. And platforms like Adobe Spark offer ready-made templates and step-by-step instructions for creating dozens of different types of graphics that you can easily share across all your channels.
Remember, audiences respond more positively to graphics that have a clear hierarchy, a simple color palette, and a limited number of legible fonts. Design principles exist to make your graphics visually pleasing and easy to understand.
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram may get all the attention, but 2017 proved that you still can’t discount good old-fashioned email. Email may not be new and trendy, but it is a reliable way to reach your clients. Newsletters sent directly to an inbox allow you to communicate on a more personal level with consumers by curating content of specific interest to the individual client.
Successful digital newsletters combine engaging content and appealing design. A newsletter should be short and to the point, combining appealing graphics and catchy text. Use bold headlines and subheads to indicate the most important information. Links and other interactive methods can draw your readers in and allow them to explore additional content.
Above all, make sure the design is clear and simple. You don’t need elaborate fonts or flashy graphics to get noticed. Many email experts have found that a minimalist approach generates the best response. As you move into 2018, keep email newsletters at the top of your strategy list.
The best way to learn what your customers want is to ask them. Collaboration between creators has become even easier in recent years. Not only can you reach out to customers directly on a variety of channels, but improvements in data collection and analysis allow companies to produce a clearer idea of customer behavior.
Get your customers involved from the beginning. Since you are attempting to fill a need, allow the customers to tell you what that need is. When your customers feel like you understand and care about them, they will give you their loyalty. Going into the new year, consider ways to get to know your customers better and incorporate their feedback into your business plans.
Even if personalization is impossible for your product, treating a customer as a co-creator instead of an unknown entity will help your business succeed.
The explosion of neon as a design trend this year once again proved that sometimes design rules are meant to be broken. You’re allowed to get creative and try things no one else is trying, because that’s how you make your work rise above everything else.
The lesson neon taught us is that it’s often beneficial to be creative, but you have to do it right. Neon is bright and eye-catching, but it can also be overwhelming. When attempting to make your design stand out with neon gradients, make sure the color scheme matches the tone and concept of your project and doesn’t draw attention away from your message.
You can’t overstate the importance of a good logo. It is often the one image used to signify your brand, and you want it to make an impression. Creating a good logo has actually gotten trickier recently, as you must ensure the image maintains its integrity across every platform. It doesn’t just go up on the side of your building — it is incorporated on each of your social media profiles, your desktop site, your mobile site, and any print materials.
To keep your logo looking good, regardless of where it’s viewed, focus on simplicity. A complex logo may look impressive printed on large banners, but on Twitter it will look like an incomprehensible mess. Keep it clean and minimal. The icons for Facebook and Twitter are good examples themselves. Twitter’s icon is a silhouette of a bird in the blue of the brand. Facebook’s icon is a lowercase “f” in the standard font. When you see those images, you know exactly what they mean.
Long-lived companies recognize that logos change over time, so when designing a logo, consider how it will need to evolve. Create a logo that is easy to tweak and adapt. A good logo will be able to maintain its core identity while allowing for updates to meet current trends.
One of the most important lessons 2017 has taught us is that traditional ways of running a business aren’t necessarily the best. Companies succeed when they look outside the box for solutions.
Small businesses, in particular, benefit from creative problem solving because they tend not to be weighed down by obsolete practices and a company culture of “this is how it’s always been done.” Also, by necessity, many small businesses require employees to take on multiple roles. This allows the company to benefit from the combined knowledge and ideas of the entire staff, and gives the employees a chance to challenge themselves.
To develop creativity, develop an open company culture. Allow employees at all levels to pitch ideas, break up the monotony of a nine-to-five with activities that exercise the mind, and encourage collaboration amongst your staff.
As you craft content for your company, pay attention to the way the words themselves look. The typography you use can impact your audience and add to — or take away from — your brand image. When choosing a typeface, the first thing to consider is readability. San serif fonts are easier to read on a screen, for example. So if you expect your audience to primarily view content on a desktop or mobile device, limit your font choices to san serif selections.
The typefaces you use can also tell your audience about your company. A script font indicates luxury, while a tech company would need something simpler. There are many typefaces to choose from, and more will be invented in the future. Continue exploring your typeface options in the next year to strengthen your brand identity.
In 2017, the Adobe blog shared many tips to help businesses expand their design potential. Keep an eye on the blog in 2018 for more great ideas to get the most of your Creative Cloud for Teams membership.