I love a good metaphor, so here's one about graphics: think of graphics like the furniture in your house. It should be functional, but should also look nice, reflect your personal style, and stand up to the test of time. Your house wouldn't be a home without your bed, your favorite chair, and...let's just be honest, your TV. Likewise, your business wouldn't be YOUR business without these 6 essential types of graphics.
Not to intimidate you, but your logo is really important. Like, really really. It will be everywhere - business cards, website, invoices, social media, advertisements - so make sure you have a logo that you love! A professional logo will be in vector format - this means that no matter how large you scale your logo, it will be crisp and clear with no pixelation. A professional graphic designer will use a program such as Adobe Illustrator, and will provide you with several versions of your logo, including full color, solid black, and solid white versions. Your logo needs to be in .png format with a transparent background, so you can put it on top of other images and backgrounds without the "white square" behind it.
2. Social Media Header Graphics
When someone clicks to one of your social media pages, they WILL see your header and profile graphics. They may or may not read your bio or your posts, but they will see your graphics, since those are front and center at the top of your page. It's critical real estate to quickly show visitors a glimpse of who you are and what you do. It needs to look professional, and I can't stress that enough. Your header graphic is also a great place to advertise a sale or a call to action.
3. Social Media Post Graphics
Social media is visually-driven, and research shows that posts with images or videos get
much more attention than text-only posts. Being consistently active on social media should be a priority for your business, as it can be a vital part of your sales funnel. Posting a few times a week, with each social media platform requiring different sized images, graphics creation starts to become a big item on your to-do list. A free tool like Canva is great for DIY graphics, but this is also something you can easily outsource to a VA when you don't have time.
4. Website Graphics
Your website would lack personality without graphics or images of some kind. The face of your brand should be apparent as soon as a visitor lands on your site. If you run a brick-and-mortar business, photos of your business or products are an obvious choice. If you run a service-based business, capture photos of that service in action. If the service you provide is your knowledge or expertise, some professional headshots of you will put a face to your business and help build clients' trust in you.
I love me some templates. And once you have your logo created, one of the first time-saving things you can do is create templates for invoices, contracts, letters, and other essential documents. Programs like Word and Pages have templates you can customize. Save them on your computer - or better yet, on the cloud - so you can access them anywhere. Besides your logo, your letterhead can include your business name, web address, and contact info, or you can include that info in a footer. Having document templates ready to go will save you time, and branded documents look more professional when you send things to a client.
6. Motion Graphic Opener
If you are doing videos as part of your marketing, look into getting a 5-second motion graphic that you can use to brand your videos. A motion graphic like this (sometimes called a "bumper") will be an animated version of your logo, with a short piece of music (or a "sting"). A bumper graphic is an easy way to give your videos more polish and professionalism. If you watch videos from Buzzfeed or College Humor, they will have motion graphics such as this. An editor skilled in motion graphics can create this for you.
Got questions about how to best use graphics for your business? Let me know!
Struggling to decide on your branding? check out my Brand Story Kit, which will guide you through the branding process, from brand mission to brand colors.