Our society craves images and visual stories - just look at the incredible growth of Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. People actively seek out information that’s simple yet entertaining and interesting. Hence, visuals and words must work in parallel to effectively communicate the message.
When brands get this blend right, magic happens. People become engaged. Feel inspired. And, hopefully, take the desired action. Done wrong, well, nothing happens. They just leave and move on to the next thing that draws their attention.
For these reasons, visual communication shouldn’t be an afterthought or a nice to have. It’s a critical component for your brand’s success.
My top three design principles
Having worked with a number of brands, from big box to small brick and mortar, I’ve developed a set of design principles to help ensure communication is always clear, confident and intriguing all at the same time.
- Visual identity establishes consistency. Your visual communication shouldn’t deviate from your established visual identity - the brand colors, photography/video style, patterns, textures and more. When you build upon this solid foundation, you become more familiar and noticeable to your audience. For instance, it’s easy to spot a Levi’s, Apple or Nike ad even before you even see or hear their name. That’s because they’ve exercised a consistent look for decades and decades.
- Emotion drives design. I love that visual communication allows you to influence the way your audience FEELS. Think about how you feel you see an image of a sad and lonely puppy. Or a military family being reunited. These visuals affect decision-making and, ultimately, buying decisions.
Before I begin working on a new design, I always dig into the desired emotion. How do you want people to feel when they see this piece? For visuals to really work, it needs to elicit the right emotion. You have to get in touch with the emotional aspects before the design process even starts.
- The simpler, the better. In my experience, remarkable design is clear and precise. Someone should be able to understand the point of your message within a few seconds. While certain types of communication may call for you to be bold, sophisticated or mysterious, make sure it connects with the intended audience.
A new chapter with Muse
Along with the fact I’m excited to bring my fifteen years of agency experience in Chicago back to my hometown, I’m looking forward to being part of a team that gives our local and national clients a clear, confident path forward. Seeing them succeed is how I plan to measure my own success.
About the Author
Kristen Pokorny is a Creative Director at Muse and leads our visual communications department. She possesses a range of creative design skills including creating within existing brand guidelines to building ideas from the ground up. With over 15 years of agency experience, she's worked with both large, global brands and small businesses. She’s well versed in the entire creative process, from sketch phase and lettering to final production.