Minimalist Marketing for Designers
Being prime grounds for marketing campaigns, the Internet has spawned the need for Web design that in itself advertises. Thus, graphic and Web designers need also be marketers – if this wasn’t true enough before, today’s cyber era makes it a staple, though unwritten, notion.
Graphic designers now need to be knowledgeable advertisers aside from creative artists. Fortunately, this fusion of artistry and advertisement may be easier achieved than you would think.
There is art in the science of marketing. Through using concepts of an established art style, graphic artists and Web designers can be marketer in part, as their common tasks entail. Minimalism is one such style the concepts of which would apply effectively in marketing.
Minimalism Applied to Marketing
Minimalism is a post-modern art style embracing simplicity and advocating clean, straightforward designs. “Less is more” is the artistic dogma of minimalists, and minimal designs in interior decor, art, and graphics – when done with sufficient acuity – are a pleasure to behold. But beyond just employing minimalist art in ad design, using its very concepts in advertising can help make today’s artist-contractor become a marketer.
Minimalism Concept 1: Less is More
A sound minimalist practice calls for breaking the design. This entails subtracting elements from a design until it breaks or can no longer deliver what or how it was supposed to. Through breaking the design, you effectively take out superfluous elements and retain essential ones. This concept can be applied not just to design, but also to sales pitches and ideas. The main goal is the same: communicating through a succinct medium. In design, the medium is a collage of graphics and art, in a tagline or sales pitch, the medium is the culmination of ideas presented by words.
Want to say your lifestyle diet supplement can provide the slim and supple female form your female demographic craves? Don’t go verbatim. Connect your diet supplement to sexiness.
Obviously, you need to mention your product. You also need to mention the end result which is practically the unique selling proposition (USP) of your pitch. What’s important is that there are as few elements, or in this case words and concepts, between your product and USP:
‘A sexy figure from healthy eating: insert supplement name here.’
You started with the USP, which is what your demographic wants, therefore maximizing your pitch’s impact. You ended with your product after building suspense with a simple break offered by a colon. Placing your product name at the end of a short pitch ensures a reader doesn’t look away before finishing reading. It also increases recall as the last thing a reader sees is your product’s name. You took what you wanted to say, decided on three elements to include in your pitch (your USP, your brand, and what bridges them), and left out the rest.
Minimalist Concept 2: Negative Space
Negative or white space in minimalist design pertains to blank areas in a design canvas. For print design, anywhere without print is negative space. The initial reaction to negative space is that it’s a waste of money. After all, you’re paying for all that space, why not use as much of it as you can?
Negative space helps bring design elements into more prominence. It also keeps the overall design uncluttered. The marketing lessons therefore translate to
1. Draw more attention to advertisement elements that need attention, and
2. Promote a cleaner, more professional corporate image (branding).
Wisely used white space is not wasteful.
Minimalist Concept 3: Fewer Colors
Minimalism advocates the use of fewer colors in design. For advertising, this works brilliantly in tandem with using the psychological associations of color. The fewer the colors, the better a design can communicate the subtle and psychological influences of the colors used. The most important color considerations are the background and foreground colors, or the predominant background color and the text color.
Background colors, taking up a lot of space, can subconsciously set the mood of an advertisement. Foreground colors, on the other hand, promote cognition and recall, both of which are important in marketing.
Stick to a single color background, if possible, and one that sets an appropriate mood for your advertisement – a passionate shade of red for energetic ads or a sunny yellow for bright ones. For foreground colors, use high contrast colors that work well with the background color or image. High contrast colors stimulate cognition better, especially when in good contrast with its background. Avoid any color pitfalls like using red when talking about money (a negative financial connotation) and blue when talking about food (unappetizing).
Advantages of Minimalist Marketing
Aside from inherent advantages of minimalist marketing in practice, there are other consequential advantages that you can benefit from in using this approach:
Improved brevity and impact for a more modern sales pitch – In a world consumed with keeping pace, people are not only used to tuning out useless advertisements, they also don’t have the time to puzzle through advertisement designs and cryptic sales pitches. A minimalist approach to marketing from design to sales pitch gives your advertisement a brevity- and impact boost suitable for a modern age of hustle and bustle.
Decreased risk of overwhelming your target market – Choice paralysis is the ironic phenomenon where consumers tend not to choose any of a plethora of options when made readily available. Too many choices end up confusing them. This is also true in design. Too many graphical and attention-grabbing elements that clash with each other can overwhelm your target market. Instead of increasing recall for your product or service, your advertisement backfires.
Application of neuro-marketing – Minimalism’s concepts can help infuse your advertising campaign with effective neuro-marketing. Proper use of negative space in getting attention and assisting branding and the use of background and foreground colors to affect mood, cognition, and recall are some examples. Better yet, a minimalist approach to marketing lets you employ neuro-marketing in a straightforward manner.
Cost-effective and practical – Being minimal in all aspects of advertising and design, you tend to save on marketing campaign costs. You can save money from not using too many ink colors in your ads and time from not taking too long to design and tweak layer after layer of graphics.
Graphic and Web artists, a great number of them independent contractors, need marketing skill sets required by most of their clients. Owners of small and medium businesses usually hire Web designers, graphic artists, Web masters, and content providers when setting up their websites. They discuss what they need and expect it done with a degree of professional prowess. Not a lot of people hire ‘artists’ per se; they hire ‘designers’ who know how to design to sell. Requisites for a graphic and Web designer’s success now include advertising know how and marketing prowess aside from artistic skill and creative talent. For the multitudes of graphic designers-cum-marketers out there, a minimalist approach to marketing just might work perfectly.