It is quite a blessing to have witnessed the 90’s and also share in today’s world. People like me who have seen both eras are the ones who can truly say a lot has changed. Growing up images was priceless! We only get to see images (art, designs, and photography) in a magazine and a few other journals, It was only wise to cut them out and hang them on your bedroom wall or make a collage of all the stuff you love on your wardrobe. Back then images had a “thing” to them. Enters the digital era, and we have an avalanche of pictures and images competing for our attention. Most of them made quickly and dispose of just as fast too.
This trend in itself has created a problem for everyone trying to get people’s attention. What is worse is you get the feedback on your images via likes and comments too. How then do you get peoples attention through images and stand out from the truckload of images from other competitors? Even pre-wedding photographers are going the extra mile to create something worth talking about by social media. This explains the “flying groom and his Edo bride” and other over the top attempts to get people to notice.
For brands that constantly communicate with today’s short attention span audience, it has become quite important to create visual content that can generate emotions and relationships to build a long time connection. You will want the audience to spot your visuals from a gamut of other images, and also imbue your images with the power to evoke certain emotional responses. Sadly many brands fail woefully at this.They either fail to establish a visual style or are inconsistent with a style they probably stumbled upon.
Music artistes face a similar fate. The album or single artwork is becoming a dying art. Typical of today’s album art, especially in Nigeria, is a lack of ingenuity, plain copy and paste. Then we have the sect that believes that Album art has no direct effect on sales. Thank God numbers don’t lie, and reposts don’t trick.
For your brand story to be told and for it to stick with the audience, you have to create a visual style (visual branding) and be consistent enough to own it. Visual branding done right distinguishes you from the lot and possibly gives your fan base an “article of faith”.
Visual branding has a function in marketing. It primarily sets products/brands apart and tells brand stories. Now more than ever when images are consumed at a high rate like tissue paper, brands should seek highly skilled Art direction that can create something that makes a statement and is worthy of recognition, shares and reposts. Canva and other do-it-yourself design solutions only leave you looking like the competition.
It is important to note here that the exercise of visual branding entails a lot of trial and error first, to find what works after which you reinforce through consistency. Only daring brands can take the risk of creating something refreshingly new. Also, consistency is a thing only the brave can achieve.
It will be thoughtful of you to consult an art director who can help manage your brand’s visuals so that they communicate your uniqueness and all the ideas you stand for. The return on investment is worth it as the big brands like Coca Cola, Nike and Gtbank have shown us. You must remember you are telling a story and visuals help tell stories whether good, wow or bad.