As a professional marketer, you are governed by what your customers expect to sell. Sometimes it is a useful and valuable product; sometimes it is a dry and esoteric concept. Most of the time, it’s something no one really needs, but it’s your job to sell it. The client has trusted you and will pay you for your effort. No one said that marketing would always be fun and glamorous.

Given the task of creating an advertisement, website, brochure, or trade show display, your goal is to present your client’s work so that all eyes are drawn to it, regardless of whether they need it or ultimately it. will buy.

The first question you would ask is, who is your target market? If we sell a geriatric product or service, it is very different from selling something to the tweens segment. But many of the jobs we do in this field are far removed from the everyday knowledge of the mass consumer market. For example, selling a particular type of industrial technology to the world’s wastewater engineers. Or present a series of books on the history of World War I to a small group of war buffs around the world. Each of these examples requires a different approach to get to what is “moving” a given market.

I was recently contacted by a dance school owner and wanted his website redesigned to reflect his personality. She felt that by visiting her and looking at her work, she could capture the essence of her spirit and create graphics to match.

This is a common misconception among people outside of the marketing field. They all believe that they are truly unique and possess some kind of special quality that will make them an overnight sensation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Working to package a marketing concept involves the use of a finite variety of typographic styles, textual content, colors, visual images, shapes and sizes dictated by the dimensions of the final product we are creating and has very little to do with whether the customer is a customer. glamor. queen or military maniac. If what we are selling is related to those last two descriptions, then there may be some reason to apply such ideas. But in my thirty-five years of experience, graphic design is most effective when it relates to current aesthetic trends, but it exceeds the norm with innovation and surprise. It must be competitive with the best efforts in the world and at the same time be meaningful to your target market.

What type styles work best?

This largely depends on who we are targeting. Just as tweens would not appreciate the grace and elegance of a classic font tastefully used in the right balance with surrounding elements, an older market may bristle for the edgy use of a cheeky typeface scrawled defiantly in a bold design. . However, there is a time and a place for each of these techniques.

What colors work best?

Based on several studies conducted over a fifty-year period in several different countries, regardless of age or gender, the color blue was ranked as the most preferred color to use for a variety of purposes and goals. The second options were green and purple. The least favorite colors were orange, gray and brown. However, each of the studies mentioned that cultural differences affected favorite colors due to emotional relationships associated with color, for example associations with grief, depression, mental illness, terrorism, etc. Other studies also concluded that men and women react to color differently, with men being more oblivious to color and subtlety, while women are more attentive and knowledgeable about both. Additionally, in studies conducted in laboratory settings to examine how color affected behavior, blue was found to have a calming and relaxing effect, while red prompted a faster response. When age was examined more closely, the younger the subject, the more likely the preference was for bright colors such as red or yellow. Furthermore, in the presence of these same bright colors, the perceptions and judgments of size or value of all respondents tended to be broader and more favorable than when they were influenced by blues or greens, leading to more realistic and slower reactions.

What does this mean in terms of graphic design?

Much of what has been found through scientific or psychological studies basically seems to be common sense. Young people like bold colors and older people like cooler and more conservative colors. However, a truism about color is not fully computed when reviewing the results of the various preference studies. According to color theory, there are three primary colors of red, blue, and yellow with the complementary color of each primary color determined by mixing the other two primary colors together. This means that the complementary color of red is green; the complementary color of blue is orange; and the complementary color of yellow is violet. What sticks out like a sore thumb is that most people didn’t like orange; however, it is the most complementary color to wear with everyone’s favorite color, blue.

So, do we throw these conclusions out the window? Hardly. It’s a safe bet that if blue were used as a color scheme for women with breast cancer, men with a penchant for war, and children shopping for shoes, no one would be repulsed by the presentation. I think the use of an accent color would be the most sensitive topic and looking at the results of the studies should provide a reliable guide here. Also, the fact that there are myriad hues and shades of blue should not be overlooked which further complicates the matter. If the blue you choose leans towards green, it is more likely to be described as turquoise, while a blue that leans more towards red could be interpreted more as purple or magenta. These variations alter assumptions about using secondary or tertiary colors to complement. Another major concern regarding color involves contrast, which can affect the readability of text if used incorrectly.

What visual images sell the best?

Years ago, before computers, desktop publishing, and the Internet, it was common knowledge among industry connoisseurs that babies and dogs were the images used on newsstands to capture the hearts of the magazine-buying public. . In an extensive Google search, I have not been able to support that theory today. Times have changed and with it it tastes like our culture. Another mantra from years past was that “sex sells.” Whether we agree with that or not, sex rarely has a place in the applications marketers should use.

Here’s what one expert, Dick Stolley, People Magazine’s founding managing editor, had to say about which cover images sell his magazine best:

“The young are better than the old. The beautiful is better than the ugly. The rich are better than the poor. Movies are better than music. Music is better than television. Television is better than sports. . and anything is better than politics. ” In 1999, he added: “And nothing is better than the death of a celebrity”, a fact that has been strongly supported by the best-selling newsstand covers of all time following the deaths of John Lennon, Princess Diana and recently Michael Jackson. .

For those of us who sell widgets, however, these guidelines are irrelevant. The correct image to use in marketing must obviously relate to what we sell. This does not mean that we should show a photo or illustration of the subject. Sometimes that is not the best route to take. Instead, we must ask ourselves, what will best communicate to the ideal buyer why they should act immediately to proceed with the purchase of what we present to them? How we “package” that appeal will be the magic formula to motivate your response.

Well, that doesn’t give you much direction, does it? Having been in this situation countless times in my career, I have come to trust this as the best way to achieve this goal. After establishing the main characteristic of the market based on the relevance of age, gender, occupation, education or location, I assume that everyone wants to be treated as if they are the most desirable customers in the world. So I watched my presentations in the garb of the rich and successful, using sophisticated font, intelligence, color, imagery, and layout options. I do not resort to tricks or daring designs. Rather, I rely on methods that use elegance and class.

One of the reasons I do this is because I have to please the customer first and foremost. Since you are generally wealthy and successful, you can immediately identify with this style. Second, typical of human nature, your potential market, regardless of demographics, wants to identify with the rich and famous and will likely view the presentation as something that type of person would want. So, with your curiosity piqued, the presentation has accomplished the first important step in the process. How well you delivered the message and prompted them to act will determine whether to proceed with a purchase.

While this methodology may contradict the logic of defining one’s target market if it turns out to be children or members of street gangs, in my experience most of those we are appealing to are people with the means (hopefully) to be able to pay. whatever it is. they are selling; of an age mature enough to understand and appreciate our proposal; and finally, a member of American culture with needs and wants shaped by current technology, events, and the national perspective. With that as a starting point, my forays into marketing have been extremely successful for those who have hired me based on the understanding that everyone prefers to go “first class.”

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