No matter what the words say, people form impressions and interpret messages based on the visual impact of your communications.
Visual communication is one of the pillars of marketing. The feelings that arise from the design components of your marketing resonate on a deep, sub-rational level with all who see them, so it’s important that you put forth the best image you possibly can. After all, there’s no point in crafting carefully worded phrases that represent your accounting firm’s deep knowledge if they are undermined by more powerful visual messages that conflict with what you are trying so hard to articulate.
By making a clear, attractive visual impact you can help your message be more appealing as well as more memorable. Next time you’re creating an article, graphic presentation or collateral piece to use for your accounting firm, keep in mind these ten tips suggested by Column Five Media, a visual communications agency, and published on Slideshare.
- Color. Use color as a highlight drawing attention to the most important points. Limit the colors to a maximum of five different hues in any one piece.
- Font. Typography is often overlooked as a critical piece of marketing design, but the font you choose has a major impact on the appeal and readability of your final product. Select a font that is easy to read and matches the tone of your message. Classic or modern? Light-hearted or loaded with gravitas? Fonts can impart these and countless other attributes to your communication. (Just don’t use comic sans: everyone hates it!)
- Layout. When designing the layout of your piece, pay careful attention to alignment and order. Present your content using a logical sequence that invites readers’ eyes to enter at the beginning and flow naturally from one element to the next in the order that makes sense.
- Callouts. If you opt to include callouts to highlight the most important information, don’t overuse them lest they lose their impact and clutter the visual field. Limit use as much as possible so they remain interesting and meaningful.
- Negative space. It’s important to leave enough ‘breathing room’ on the page so that viewers don’t feel overloaded. Maintain sufficient negative space to create a peaceful, easily decoded presentation.
- Illustration is only necessary where it clarifies and enhances the text. A picture is worth a thousand words when it’s the right one, but don’t feel you have to include them where they’re not needed. When you do add images, be sure it fits the tone and content of your words.
- Iconography. Keep it simple, attractive and perfectly obvious. Elaborate symbolism makes the reader have to work too hard to understand what’s going on.
- Data. Choose your method of graphing data points with care. Less is more, especially when you can convey the important points and relationships in a single, well-designed graph.
- Proportion. Take care when scaling different data images to ensure that you’re not accidentally creating mismatches that might skew the perception of data values.
- Simplicity. The simpler your visual design, the more powerful in most cases. Don’t add fancy charts, decorative features or excess adornments that serve no purpose. Let your message shine through clearly, attractively and simply for the best effect.
Whether you’re designing a Power Point presentation, new stationary for your firm or an infographic, you’ll get the best effect if you follow these guidelines. Your message will be supported by the design, and you’ll be able to communicate exactly what you had in mind. Do you have other visual design tips to share? Please let us know in the comments.