We often see job postings for graphic designers and very seldom for a marketing designer. But are these two the same? What’s a marketing designer, and how can it improve your brand?
In this post, we will enlighten you on how a marketing designer approaches tasks differently. It’s essential to determine the difference in their roles. For employers, you can quickly gauge which candidate to hire. And for applicants, you will understand the scope of work and identify if your skills fit perfectly.
1. Visualizes Overall Brand’s Image
This might seem a lot to take in, and yes, a marketing designer’s job isn’t exactly for an amateur. When you do a marketing design, you look at a bigger picture. You have to ask the brand owner and the leadership team what they want to portray in the industry. And from there, it will take a lot of tasks to come up with a marketing design that works and will represent your business in the best possible way.
It involves several responsibilities which we will enumerate further. But to give you an overview, you have to propose the right brand colors, shapes, typography, icons, and even the layout of different marketing collaterals for both traditional and digital channels.
Take a look at what Wells Fargo did on their website. It might not be too obvious for some, but they consistently use their brand colors in various areas. In this case, they used it for the call-to-action button, and for highlighting their services.
2. Understands the Market
Naturally, designers have their own design style – we all do. What’s beautiful and effective for us might be different from the target market. And that is why it is important to practice empathy.
Start asking yourself if the overall design sits well with the audience. What would be their perception? How are they going to react to it? It’s not enough that your marketing design will create an impact. The most important thing is that people will react accordingly so that you can help your business achieve its goals.
3. Does Intensive Research
A marketing designer does not rely on gut feel or on their personal choice. But instead, they do research and gather as much information to help them with their marketing design ideas. Sometimes they go as far as conducting surveys, focus group discussion, reading case studies, and even referring to psychology books.
Here’s a quick checklist on how you can do market research:
- Define your market’s persona
- Choose a specific audience that you can engage with
- Come up with questions that help you gather valuable responses
- Review what your competitors are doing
- Organize and summarize your data and findings
When creating a survey for your market, you need to include both basic and in-depth questions. This is so you can understand their behavior as a whole. Make the questions straightforward like what Speedy Photo did. That way, it will be easier to understand and you can get more accurate data.
4. Solves Problem
A marketing designer should also know how to solve gaps in marketing plans. So, for example, the company is already running a campaign. And according to real-time data, the result falls below what is expected. One of the key persons that will have to provide a remedy is a marketing designer. They should supply new marketing design ideas that are still cohesive to the brand’s overall image.
5. Uses Both Analytical and Creative Approach
Your marketing designer also referred to as a visual designer, must have multidisciplinary skills. As we’ve mentioned, it is not limited to creating an aesthetic design. It should be backed up by science and the facts gathered by research.
The secret here is that you have to find a middle ground. While we made it sound too simple, the underlying tasks to find that balance can be exhausting, most especially for someone without experience.
A good example is from Rheem Water Heater’s brochure. An industry such as this one involves providing information to its users. Nevertheless, you cannot eliminate creativity on your marketing tools or it will look plain and downright boring. The subtle use of images and supporting illustrations greatly helped to make the overall visual more appealing.
6. Oversees Creative Graphic Projects
In most cases, marketing designers are assigned to keep an eye on creative materials. Since they are the ‘caretaker’ of the brand’s image, their skills should not be limited to being creative.
All the materials must be anchored to the brand’s objectives. It must be consistent in all platforms, including flyers, billboards, and most especially in digital marketing tools such as social media and websites.
Atlantic Station follows this approach by using a cohesive design on their website, print, and even outdoor marketing tools.
7. Ensures Accuracy of Each Design
They must also have a keen eye for details. Every single detail in a design must be thoroughly checked before it goes out to the public. Is the color according to the scheme? Are the images based on the values? Are the texts or wordings appropriate for the brand? There’s a whole range of items that one needs to check first. And this makes the role of the marketing designer even more challenging.
Check out this billboard which used bad typography. It does say ‘Island Flavor’, right? But if you are driving fast, you might read it as ‘bland Flavor’. And for an establishment that sells food, it’s the least you would want to say about your menu.
So you see, these little mistakes can create a negative impact on your company. You would accidentally send a wrong message, or your market might feel that you are not particular with details. Both of these are not good for the business.
8. Manages the Team
It is rare for a company not to have design requirements, most especially in this age, where you have to update your social media and provide something new to the market. Otherwise, people will get tired of your brand. And this also means it can be exhausting for the team.
One of the marketing designer’s tasks is to ensure that the other designers are still highly productive. This can be done by providing them just enough projects to showcase their creativity. The marketing designer understands that creative burnout is real. Hence, they are careful not to bombard the team with several projects that can also result in extremely repetitive designs.
9. Manages the Time
Since a marketing designer is aware of the overall marketing plans, they can already plot the right tools at the right time. They follow a strict schedule so that the marketing efforts will be effective.
10. Checks the Budget
And lastly, marketing designers should also consider the budget when creating a visual design. They must be resourceful enough to achieve results within the allotted cost. For smaller companies and start-up businesses, this could be a challenge as they have to allocate funds in different areas of the operation.
Should You Hire a Marketing Designer or a Graphic Designer?
The answer depends on your requirements. If you already have an ongoing branding representing your business well, then hiring a graphic designer is a good idea. However, if you are starting from scratch and have no idea how you will represent your brand, a marketing designer is a better solution. Take note that marketing designers have higher professional rates or salaries, in general, considering the scope of work and expertise.
Pros of Hiring a Graphic Designer
- Thousands of applicants to choose from
- Cost-efficient compared to a marketing designer
Cons of Hiring a Graphic Designer
- Might not be aware of the overall marketing plans
- Could use personal style when designing
Pros of Hiring a Marketing Designer
- Can visualize your branding
- Ensures that all materials are accurate and according to your goals
- Understands your marketing plan as a whole
- Can also work on individual graphic design projects
Cons of Hiring a Marketing Designer
- Salary grade is higher
This is not to say that a marketing designer and a graphic designer does not overlap tasks. It certainly can happen most especially for start-up companies. Come to think of it – it’s impractical to hire a different graphic designer from a marketing designer. The best solution is to work with someone that knows how to do both. They should not only be able to execute projects, but they must also understand how to form the overall branding even at the onset.
That’s where the Design Doctor team is good at. Our talents were carefully screened to ensure quality designs for our clients every single time. And you don’t have to worry about the cost. Since we use a subscription model, you only have to pay a fixed amount every month, and you can pause your membership whenever you want.