The content marketer’s guide to graphic design


Good graphic design can be the difference between a website or content marketing campaign that stands out and one that gets lost in the crowd. What do you need to know to make this a success?

You’re probably familiar with the concept of graphic design. Creating compelling visuals in order to promote your brand, support a campaign or convey information in a clear, easy-to-understand format.

Graphic design covers a wide range of visual communication, from an instantly-recognisable logo for your brand to breaking down complex ideas into a simple to follow format that’s easily shareable on social media. 

It also helps ensure that all your marketing assets have a consistent look and feel, which is particularly important if you’re investing in resources such as video. Having a clear idea of how the visuals should look and align with the rest of your branding is essential for boosting brand awareness and improving the user experience.

So what do you need to know if you’re looking to add more creative elements to your content marketing?

An introduction to graphic design

Good design can be the difference between a marketing campaign that engages and delights its audiences and one that’s quickly forgotten. Meanwhile, on a website or app, it’s vital in presenting a coherent brand image and helping guide visitors down the buying funnel and turning browsers into conversions.

What is graphic design in simple terms?

Put simply, graphic design in marketing refers to any elements of visual communication a brand uses to represent itself and get its key messages across to potential customers. This includes logos, typefaces, imagery, diagrams and more. In short, if it involves visual communication, it requires graphic design.

However, it’s about more than just visuals. Good graphic design needs to consider how this will work together with accompanying copy and the layout of the page where it appears. It requires a holistic approach to building a brand that ensures every piece of content that a business publishes is not only informative and interesting, but adheres to a consistent style that best represents your company.

What is the main purpose of graphic design?

Graphic design is about much more than simply making a website, app or social media feed visually appealing. It needs to communicate key messages about who you are and what you do, in order to motivate the reader into taking action. This might be to click on a link for more information, sign up for a service or make a direct purchase, among others.

This type of visual storytelling is a key part of many marketing activities, whether you’re looking to build general brand awareness, promote a specific product, or show off your industry expertise. 

Why does your firm need graphic design?

Graphics content can have a range of roles to play in your digital marketing efforts. From a practical perspective, it can be used to break up long sections of copy with stimulating and engaging visuals, help explain complex concepts, or guide users to take a desired action. It also creates a coherent, instantly recognisable look that can be used across all aspects of your activities that customers can identify with your brand.

Among the capabilities of graphic design within your online presence are:

  • Deliver visual storytelling
  • Attract attention
  • Improve the user experience
  • Influence consumer behaviour
  • Improve social media performance

Visual communication is essential in driving interest in your company, presenting a memorable brand and helping customers understand what you do and how you do it.

What are the different types of graphic design?

Graphic design is a hugely wide-ranging term, so if you’re looking to incorporate it into a digital marketing campaign, it’s important to identify exactly what assets could benefit from the touch of a design professional. 

What are the main types of graphic design?

As noted above, there are many types of graphic design you can use in your branding and marketing. Some will be used for one-off projects or imagery, while others will make up a fundamental part of how your business presents itself to the world. This means it’s important to get these right, so it always pays to turn to professional help when embarking on a design project.

Here are a few of the key types of graphic design you need to know about and what they involve.

Brand identity

The central look of your company’s brand, this may include your logo and its variants, colour schemes and the typography styles utilised throughout your website, among others. This offers a critical first impression of who you are and what you do that viewers will pick up on, even without realising it. 

For instance, do you want a clean, modern feel for your website or something more traditional to suggest your history and experience? Are you looking to stand out with bold, primary colours on your social media graphics or aiming for something more understated? The decision you make on this will underpin every other piece of graphic design you create, so it’s important to take the time to get this right.

If you don’t yet have brand guidelines and are unsure about how to go about this, a professional marketing agency can help guide you through the process.

Marketing design

While a marketing campaign needs to reflect the overall look of your brand, it pays to make sure it stands out as its own distinctive, coherent piece of work. Good marketing design helps provide consistent visuals across every asset that’s used within your campaign, such as a video, white paper, leaflet or brochure, social media graphics and website landing pages. 

This is especially useful for firms such as B2B companies that may have longer sales cycles. These customers may interact with several pieces of content before making a decision, so it’s important these all provide a consistent impression of the brand.

UI design

User interface, or UI, design, is all about how you use visuals to help visitors navigate your website or mobile application. On a technical level, this can include how you lay out menus and drop-downs to guide people to your most important pages, as well as creating clear call-to-action buttons, and interactive elements such as quizzes or cost calculators. 

This is also vital in creating a seamless omnichannel experience, where design elements and graphics are retained across every touchpoint. The right UI design techniques can help smoothly funnel people from one channel to another without disrupting their user journey.


Illustration graphics can cover a range of areas, from giving your brand a friendly feel with cartoons to complex diagrams to help explain how certain features of your products or services work. Typically created using digital design, illustrations are great for adding personality to your online assets.


Infographics are a great way to break down complex information into easily-digestible chunks while retaining readability. They’re particularly good if you have a lot of stats to get across, which may otherwise end up being dry and hard to follow. Colourful visual elements can help engage users with understanding facts and figures, or add clarity to complex ideas.

This type of graphic can also be used to create flowchart style diagrams, for purposes such as step-by-step instructions for a process or exploring the history of your company in a clear, easy-to-follow way.

Custom graphics

If you want a social media post to gain attention, or draw the reader’s eye to a key phrase or stat within a blog post, a custom graphic is an ideal way to bring a bit of colour and visual flair to your copy while retaining your brand identity. This bespoke imagery can be created quickly and be tailored to your precise needs in order to elicit the desired response from the viewer.

Motion graphics

Blurring the line between graphic design and animation video, motion graphics add a dynamic element to your visual assets. They may include dynamic text to highlight key points or moving illustrations. Whether uploaded onto social media in gif format or incorporated into your website, these are ideal for drawing the eye and standing out from the crowd.

What is the difference between UX design and graphic design?

You may hear graphic design discussed as a key part of the user experience (UX) when building a website or app. It’s certainly true that visual elements have a major role to play in ensuring people can interact with your brand in the most intuitive way. 

However, while a graphic designer would be expected to focus primarily on these aspects and ensuring the site has a strong, consistent look, UX specialists take a wider view to look at how every element of the website or app works together and how users will interact with it. 

Both are vital creative jobs, but you shouldn’t expect a graphic designer to understand the intricacies of UX or vice-versa, so you need access to both types of expertise if you’re to create a website or app that is both stylish and effective.

What are the best practices for graphic design?

Getting graphic design right can be harder than it looks, especially if you try to go it alone or rely on freelancers who aren’t familiar with your business and branding. It’s also important to remember that creating visuals is only half the job – you also need to provide the right copy to accompany this and ensure you’re taking into account factors such as search engine optimisation in order to make sure your visuals get seen. 

Therefore, it helps to engage with a great design agency that can advise on this and work with you to create and publish the assets that best fit your needs. 

Where can graphic design be used?

Good graphic design should be included across every aspect of a brand’s marketing activities. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a new product launch campaign online, revamping your web presence or setting up a stand at an in-person conference or networking event, there’s a place for the right graphic design work.

Some of the key areas you should be considering bespoke graphic design efforts include:

  • Website and app pages
  • Social media posts
  • Infographics
  • Reports and whitepapers
  • Webinars and presentations
  • Physical materials

How can you find the right support for graphic design creation?

Getting graphic design right needs a holistic approach that is closely integrated with the rest of your marketing activities. That’s why it’s often a good idea to team up with a full-service digital marketing agency that can provide this as part of the package.

As well as offering access to talented graphic designers, this also allows you to take advantage of the expertise of a range of digital marketing professionals, including copywriters, web developers, animation and video creators and data analytics specialists. 

These disciplines will all work together to ensure that the types of graphic design project you produce fit into your wider content strategy and are created and promoted in the most effective way. They’ll also look at the data throughout the process to identify what type of content will work best and where its performance could be improved in the future.

8 Minute Read

By Ross Kane | Updated

Ross leads Axonn’s editorial team and has more than 15 years’ experience in marketing and content production.

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