Exploring Graphic Design Across Industries: Manufacturing

How manufacturing companies are utilizing graphic design to keep in step with the digital age.

by The Creative Cloud Team

posted on 03-20-2018

It’s no surprise that in an increasingly digital world, Industry 4.0 focuses on a manufacturer’s digital transformation. But the transformation doesn’t begin or end with production processes. By using design tools, like Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, manufacturing companies can also transform their design processes and better meet the needs of their brand in creating digital design assets for corporate identity, innovation, and promotion.

Design for branding

Much of the design at a manufacturing company is for core materials that represent the product or company — from catalogs to flyers to websites to prototypes to instructional materials. It’s important for these various assets are recognizable as belonging to the manufacturer. “One of the most important roles for graphic design in manufacturing is branding,” says Paul Braun, artist for Amatrol, Inc. “In a cluttered world of marketing, customers look for a familiar brand in which they trust.

“Customer recognition is not just about logos. The entire look of our product from eLearning screens to our hardware systems is designed to be instantly recognizable. Our graphic artists collaborate constantly to ensure that we maintain the integrity of our brand.”

“The single biggest trend I have noticed,” says Kyle Partridge, graphic designer for Enovation Controls, a company that manufactures traditional and electronic control systems, “is that we are dealing so much more with flat and vector-based graphics than we ever did in the previous few years. And it has resulted in very clean — and much brighter — looks.”

An instructional sign lays out essential safety measures. Image credited to Enovation Controls.

One of the tools that can be extremely helpful when streamlining branding across so many materials is Creative Cloud libraries. At Enovation Controls, they use Creative Cloud to sync across their team. “The Typekit fonts just make it so easy to plug them right in and use them no matter what you are working on,” Kyle says. “Go to the website and hit sync. If anyone else in the team needs to open that document they don’t have to go through this complicated process of, ‘Oh do you have this font? Can you send me this font?’ It’s really, really easy for our team to work across different computers and utilize fonts that are consistent without any work.”

“It has also been helpful to keep things more consistent across the board from design to design and project to project,” says Kyle. “My favorite feature probably out of everything that Adobe provides is Adobe Color CC. It allows me to choose these color schemes pretty quickly that other people have come up with or even create my own and keep those grouped together for future projects.”

Design innovation

A challenge for companies in manufacturing can be staying up to date with current design trends. “Outdated graphics imply a lot about a company,” says Paul. “In that first instant, you can be considered a company with a ‘Wow!’ factor, a company not keeping up with the technology, or even amateurish. It’s hard to shake that first impression.”

Amatrol creates manufacturing training materials. “Within our eLearning products, our images and animations receive a great level of scrutiny — by us and our customers — because they will be used to train others. This has a direct impact on someone’s ability to secure a good career, allowing them to provide for their families,” says Paul. “Not only do our images need to be accurate, but we must also create an engaging presentation to ensure that the learner doesn’t tune out. Our graphic artists are continuously updating their skill sets so that our products never seem dated.”

This dedication to solid design often begins with the machinery itself. “There is a lot of information coming from the digital display system — from pressure to oil to gas and other engine specific things. We have to present all of that information in a way that is easy to read and easy to access,” says Kyle.

Design for promotion

For manufacturing companies, trade shows are an invaluable opportunity to interact with potential customers and share innovations. But trade shows require engaging promotional materials and displays. “We’ve got to figure out the best way to highlight our products compared to any other booth out there at those trade shows,” says Kyle. “It’s an opportunity to create something that is really interesting and edgy simultaneously. We spend a large amount of time as a team trying to understand what it is that our client is looking for and translating that into information that they can receive at our trade shows.”

Not only is messaging important, but scale and readability play a large part too, as a large portion of the designs produced for trade shows are large-format graphics.

Enovation Controls’ Trade show board at ConExpo. Image credited to Enovation Controls.

Enovation Controls recently expanded their promotional offering by incorporating video. “We use Adobe video production software to create videos that feature our products so that when we do have event marketing, we can use larger displays like TVs to show videos without audio,” Cody Bromley, marketing communications specialist for Enovation Controls says. “We want to create messaging that is attractive and draws attention.”

“This year, we created a really cool new immersive experience. It operated like a personal theater where potential clients could sit and watch videos that showed the kind of environment that our products are used in,” says Cody. “We essentially created voltaic theater and used Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Adobe After Effects CC to create the video.”

Enovation Controls’ theater pod creates an immersive, instructional experience for their customers.

These unique, immersive experiences are what sets a company apart and generates opportunities for new business. “In the marketing universe, graphic design has to elicit a positive response from the viewer. You need to offer them something that they want to like and share with their followers,” says Paul. “Using the latest design tools in a creative way greatly increases your odds of getting your marketing piece in front of a larger audience.”

As manufacturing companies evolve to become more digital, they are adopting tools and processes that keep them — and their design — relevant in today’s market. From print materials, to websites, to trade shows, the need to have consistent designs usable in a variety of formats has never been stronger.

To create your own designs for the manufacturing industry and easily collaborate with others, find out more about Adobe Creative Cloud for teams.

Topics: Creativity

Products: Premiere Pro, Creative Cloud