09 August 2007


As a graphic designer, you can quickly become a salesperson's best friend. By creating a graphic design label or logo through digital media, you utilize your creative expertise in providing companies with the visual tools that help them sell their product. Digital design creates communication with the consumer through eye-catching and though-provoking advertising. In addition to being creative and adept with graphic design software programs, you will be called upon to create print collateral for a client's sales and marketing needs. Print collateral includes:
  • Creative sales brochures
  • Visual aids used in presentations
  • Web content
  • Posters and signs

Growing Industry
Because of the marketing success that digital media has enjoyed in promoting businesses and products, graphic design is growing and generating incredible interest as an industry. While no academic program can guarantee future salary prospects, this is excellent news for entry-level or staff-level graphic designers, who are reported to make an annual salary of $40,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. With high competition for these jobs, it is important to gain as much experience and education in digital media and layout design as possible. Attending a campus-based academic program in digital media means taking classes in computer systems and software development. These classes will provide you with a wide range of graphic design and digital media knowledge.

U.S. Department of Labor Designers
"Marketing Collateral": Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia



By Mike Schultz and John Doerr

Dither n: A state of indecisive agitation: Company management was in a dither about the new round of graphic designs. Everybody had strong opinions on what they liked and didn't like.

Dilatory adj: Tending to postpone or delay: The graphic design process had a dilatory effect on our ability to do anything in marketing besides work on designs. Could this drag out any longer?

Delusion n: Psychiatry. A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness: The team seemed under the delusion that choosing between possible brochure trim colors of papaywhip, peachpuff, or peru* would make any difference in marketing results.

* Three actual colors. Who knew?

The Long and Winding Road

When many people think of marketing, they think of ads, logos, taglines, brochures, and (nowadays) websites. It's understandable. Ads and brochures are what we see everyday, and we all have opinions of what we like and don't like.

So when we build new websites, brochures, and logos for our organizations, we scrutinize them with fanatical zeal. Everyone is going to see them and form an opinion about us based on them. They must look…they will look…perfect! (Even if the process of doing so kills us.)

This intense graphic design scrutiny is especially true in service organizations. Why?

  • Aggressive, proactive marketing is new to many service industries. Up until a few years ago, marketing was done by answering the phone when it rang.

  • Besides answering the phone, service firms have always put great stock in very nice brochures. Thus, much of the marketing attention was focused on them.

  • Service businesses are run by experts in their field. They are not typically schooled or focused in the more mundane parts of marketing such as new lead generation and retention of existing revenue.

  • The people who deliver the services tend to associate themselves personally with any ad or graphic design that depicts their service. Thus, they identify the quality of the marketing piece as a reflection of the quality of their own work.

  • Service firms are filled with smart people. They all have opinions and, indeed, would consider it a failing if they didn't add intelligent constructive criticism to everything. Graphic design is simply an easy target.

As a result, when a service business decides it's going to ‘really do some marketing' everyone gets overly caught up in the graphic design process.

Pathology of Design Monomania

The same pathology happens over and over. It goes something like this:

  • Marketing initiative is kicked off with vigor and enthusiasm
  • New design of something—branding, brochures or website—becomes a central component of the marketing effort
  • Large group of ‘stakeholders' becomes part of the design review team
  • The process takes forever
  • People lose energy as the process drags on
  • Nobody focuses on the ‘lets get new customers' part of marketing with the same vigor they do when choosing website trim colors

The purpose of marketingthe end prizeshould never be anything but the following: Attract and retain profitable customers. All too often we see companies getting so caught up in the visible and sexy part of the marketing process (design, copy), they forget about the important-but-mundane part (lead and revenue generation).

Graphic Design Advice that Could Save Your Life

Here are five pieces of advice that could save your marketing initiatives from the graphic design pit of despair.

  1. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: Is it possible that you should disregard this article and pour over your designs and copy for months, all the way down to the last comma, pixel, and Pantone color? Sure—if you're about to spend tens of millions on an advertising campaign that will create hundreds of millions of impressions.

    You can be sure that companies executing campaigns this large are also doing the following: extensive market research, testing each ad for customer response, researching each market, and many other steps before the launch. And they're prepared to turn on a dime if they find new creative that will work better to help them win the prize: attracting and retaining profitable customers.
  2. Collaborate with Care: Most design processes have too many people involved. In the name of collaboration, companies make the design process muddled and painful. Balance the benefits of collaboration with the knowledge that too many cooks make for bad soup.

  3. Apply Ockham's Razor: 12th century philosopher William of Ockham is famous for a statement known as Ockham's Razor: Plurality should not be posited without necessity. In other words, unless proven otherwise, less is more. Apply this to your creative process by asking yourself questions like:

  • Do we need 8 people here when, in the end, the design will be just as good (if not better) with 3 people involved, and we will get finished two months earlier?

  • Do we need another round of design edits in order to help us attract and retain profitable customers, or can we stop now and move on?

  • Do we need more design features such as Flash on our websites and a 6 color processes for our brochures when it won't make a difference to our customers?

Applying Ockham's Razor to the design process will help you save time and money and prevent a good deal of heartache.

  1. Don't Rewire the Network Yourself: Let's say you are a sales person and your company is re-planning its technology infrastructure. Would you tell the technologists where to put the wires? Whether to use fiber optics or something else? Whether version 6.3 of one software package is more robust than version 3.2 of another? You'd be laughed out of the room. If the technologists don't do a good job of listening to your business needs and implementing technology that will help serve those needs, get new technology people. Don't try to fix it yourself.

    If you are not a designer, ask questions like “We're going to use this at a trade show. Will this help us attract attention and generate leads? How so?” instead of questions like “Don't you think a hunter green would be better?” In the end, if you don't think your designers are doing a good job, get new designers. Don't try to be one of them.

  2. Stop the Insanity: If you find yourself spiraling into design process despair, stand up and say—with Susan Powter vigor—“Stop the insanity!” Either that, or appropriately but clearly engage a discussion about what matters most: getting more revenue. If the current discussion is either overkill or distracting you from that goal, put an end to it. Do what you must to save yourself and your company from wasting time and energy on discussions that won't make a difference in results.

Dither n: A state of indecisive agitation: We don't dither about design. We run the process well, have the right people and skill sets on the team, and make decisions that help leverage graphic design to grow our revenue.

Dilatory adj: Tending to postpone or delay: Others tried to slow us down by distracting us from our marketing goals and focusing too much on superfluous discussions. Their dilatory tactics won't work on us!

Delusion n: Psychiatry. A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness: I drank the punch and no longer operate under the delusion that marketing equals graphic design. Marketing equals growing our revenue. Graphic design is a great tool in the process, but not the process itself.

The definitions are the same, but you have the power to change how you use them in a sentence.


‘Must-Have’ 6 Elements of an Effective Brochure

by marketing@brochures.com Curry

Most brochures that businesses put out today end up doing little to impact the sales of that business। By applying the 6 must-have elements listed below you will transform you brochure from trash can lining into a powerful sales tool.

1. A Benefit-Filled Headline.

On the cover of most brochures you’ll usually find nothing more than the company name, logo, and maybe a quick slogan like “committed to excellence”. This isn’t horrible, but there is a much better way to enhance your brochure. If you want to turn your brochure into a powerful sales tool you need to grab your prospects attention immediately. You do that through a benefit-loaded headline. A benefit-loaded headline is a headline that clearly and powerfully communicates a desirable benefit that your product or service offers your customers. For example a benefit-loaded headline for a heating and cooling company would be “How the New XYZ System Can Shave $800 Off Your Utility Bill This Year”. This headline is clear, specific, and powerful. If a customer were in the market for a new heating or cooling system this headline would draw the prospect into the brochure.

2. Educational Content.

Prospects read brochures because they want to make the best possible buying decision. Usually when someone reads a brochure, they are hungry for knowledge about your product or service. Make sure your brochure is written in such a way that your prospects will know more about your product or service after they read the brochure than they did before.

3. Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

A USP is something that separates you from your competition. To be ultimately effective you want your brochure to cause prospects to lean toward your company instead of your competitors. Your USP is a statement that either your competitors can’t, or aren’t saying. A popular old USP that you’ll recognize is “Delivered in 30 Minutes or It’s FREE!” This USP was effective because nobody else was saying it.

4. Proof.

Anytime you make a statement regarding the benefits that your product will bring, you need to back that statement up with proof. Testimonials, quotes, charts, graphs, pictures, endorsements, and articles are great ways to prove your claims and cause your prospects to believe what you are saying. Remember that most people are skeptical initially, but you can overcome that skepticism with proof.

5. A Low-Risk Offer.

After a customer has read your USP, your educational content, and your proof, you need to encourage them to take the next step in the buying process. The next step could be to make a purchase, to call for more information, to set an appointment, or whatever. Whatever the next logical step is you need to invite your prospect to take it, and make them feel comfortable about taking it. If you want them to make a purchase, mention a money-back guarantee. If you want them to call for more information, reassure them that they won’t be pressured. You need to try and remove all of the possible barriers that would prevent a person from taking the next step.

Incorporate as many or these design elements as you can to ensure your brochure leads your prospects closer to making a buying decision.

Brett Curry is a Professional Marketing Consultant and Marketing Director for Brochures.com. Brochures.com is the home of top quality, full color brochures, business cards, postcards and more at up to 70% off of retail. http://www.brochures.com marketing@brochures.com