The Relationship Between Graphic Design and Social Media
March 29th, 2017 | Natasha Englehardt
For graphic designers, social media is an opportunity or a challenge, and possibly even an intimidating problem to be overcome. However, it can’t be ignored. There is a symbiotic relationship between graphic design and social media. If you manage to master that balanced relationship, you can enhance your creative work as well as your success as a practical businessperson.
Great design boosts social media engagement
You can use your graphic design skills to send engagement on any social media platform through the roof. Consider a typical Facebook post as an example:
It’s Taco Tuesday! Come out and celebrate with us at Taco John’s where it’s 50 cents tacos starting at 5:00pm until last call! We also have dollar drafts all Happy Hour from 3-7! See you at Taco Tuesday!
Social media managers work on engagement, virality, and EdgeRank score for every post. There are all kinds of ways to go about achieving these things with simple graphic design.
As a designer, you’d almost certainly do a few things to improve this post. First, you’d add an image, one people could not resist sharing. Second, you’d shave down the text and incorporate it onto the image so the whole thing is short and sweet and has instant impact. Good news: by improving the post from a graphic design standpoint, you’d improve the EdgeRank score, boost engagement, and almost certainly get a better shot at virality.
Social media is a real time, instant access place, which means that first impressions are incredibly important. Profiles, cover images, avatars, and icons are often the only thing people see about you before they keep scrolling. Graphic design sets your profile and brand apart in a sea of competition, especially on huge platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
You also need to be sure that your first impression works from platform to platform; this is where an eye for great design really comes in handy. Most platforms require some version of a logo or profile picture that is close to square, but cover images tend to be landscapes. You’ll need branded versions of both if you’re working for a client, or just trying to sell your own services as a designer. And don’t forget that you’ll need an occasional portrait image for platforms like Snapchat.
Behance as social media
Behance is technically a portfolio site, however, as a graphic designer you need to see it as a social media network as well. It is a social media hub for creative professionals, and that’s why it’s an important place for you to make the most of your social media skills to showcase your graphic design talents. Use Behance to appreciate, collect, and comment on the work of other designers and you will find yourself networking as a matter of course.
Facebook for graphic designers
Facebook is an excellent place to find paying clients and exposure. Even if it’s not your favorite platform socially, this is where the clients are hanging out. You can also network very effectively here, since on the numbers alone Facebook is still the juggernaut of social media.
Pinterest and Instagram
Social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are great places for graphic designers because they are very visually driven. In many ways both platforms can act as a portfolio, helping you to build up followers naturally as you share your work. There may not be as many paying clients to be had here, but these are still good places to be seen.
Graphic design changing social media
As social media users demand more interactive content and real time experiences, graphic designers will play a more important role on the various social media platforms. As always ads will compete for attention, so only the best and most visually appealing ads will win out. Graphic design is also central to user experience, which is at the heart of what every social media platform is focused on. The bottom line here is that as a graphic designer your skills are in demand in the realm of social media, and even in strict graphic design roles, you’ll need to have social media experience.
Social media depends on great graphic design, which boosts engagement, improves user experience, and makes advertising more effective. Graphic designers need to understand how to work with social media, not just for their client work, but to promote themselves, find clients, network, and improve their skills. Great design work can help social media profiles and brands stand out, and graphic design will continue to affect how social media evolves.