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Eye-Catching Leadership: Why Design Matters and How to Do It

You may have all the brilliant ideas for your thought leadership content, but is your design awesome enough to grab the attention you need to engage your audience, boost your brand reach, and drive up sales?

Humans process images ”60,000 times faster” than text. Unsurprisingly, that means that if you want to get your message across as a thought leader, insightful lines of text aren’t enough—it pays to invest in good graphic and web design.

In fact, more than 70 percent of companies are putting money into design to achieve greater brand visibility than their competitors. But with digital marketers struggling to make effective graphic content, you will want to understand the basics and learn a few tricks. Read on to know more about graphic design for thought leadership.

Visualizing the Impact of Graphic Design

On the surface, attractive design means getting noticed. But beyond making your audience take a second look at what you have to offer, it yields results that can lead to long term success:

Improves Brand Recognition

Consistent graphics optimize all of your brand’s marketing efforts. A unified, cohesive look-and-feel provides the foundation that will help your customers and clients become more acquainted with your brand, effectively communicating your expertise and competency at a glance.

Increases Shares

A post that includes at least one image is more likely to be shared on social media. Whether it’s a blog post, presentation, master class, press release, or podcast, you need the right visuals for your audience to click on your content and follow where your call to action leads. Even your videos need to have an interesting title card.

Builds Rapport

Did you know that you only have seven to 10 seconds before a viewer decides to stay or leave your page? You don’t want to waste those precious seconds leaving a bad digital first impression. With well-designed, easy-to-read images, your audience can quickly discern the purpose and value of your post.

Boosts Credibility

Your logo alone can change the public perception of your brand. Even more importantly, 48 percent of users say they decide a company’s credibility based on website design.

Keeps Your Audience Engaged

Research shows that when people are given 15 minutes to consume content, around 60 percent of them would rather read a beautifully designed text than a plain one. Additionally, 38 percent will stop engaging if the layout is unappealing. If you want your audience to stay all throughout your presentation, interview, lecture, or article, make sure that the pages and slides are carefully designed and structured.

How to Create “Unputdownable” Content

Being able to express your brand’s message visually is not a sure-fire, one-size-fits-all recipe. You will need to experiment, take inspiration from successful brands, and be ruthlessly creative and strategic. The truth is that design is both a science and an art, and effective design is a balance of the beautiful and the substantial.

Knowing the basics can help you build the right foundation that will set your content up for success. Here are a few things you should know for strong, sound, and reliable thought leadership design:

Identify the Objective

Before you start tinkering with your favorite design tool, you need to be clear about your goal. Why are you composing this particular design? Knowing your target in the early stages gives your design structure and direction and will help you determine if your design is indeed successful in accomplishing why you’re doing it in the first place.

White Space is Your Friend

Too many design elements can turn into clutter and can overwhelm the viewer. Utilizing white space or negative space will help your audience focus on the important message your image is trying to convey.

Stick with Legible Fonts

If you want your audience to finish reading your well-written article, make sure that it is easy on the eyes. Ditch that ugly font, especially if it’s Comic Sans (unless you’re making a meme about lousy design). For better results, the rule of thumb is to choose two fonts, maximum, that serve both form and function.

Hire a Professional

Your audience will see if you don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to graphic design. Poor choice of fonts, shadows, and highlights that don’t make sense, not enough white space, crowded design elements, and overall sloppiness mean amateur attempts will simply be an exercise in futility.

There is no better way to get amazing visuals than hiring the right people to do the job. Brilliant graphic designers know what makes an excellent copy, and it isn’t just about making pretty images. They have a full understanding of how to satisfy the eyes of your audience and how to do it efficiently and consistently.

One Last Glance

Newspapers and magazines have been using photos and editorial cartoons to tell compelling stories for decades. Books, both fiction and non-fiction, are often judged by their synopses and their cover designs. For that same reason, showing your audience your work as a thought leader requires captivating images.

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