Most marketing experts estimate that the average person sees roughly 5,000 ads every day. From billboards to bottles, brands are constantly searching for new ways to connect to their audience and market the products and services that their business provides.
In the world of modern marketing, having a well-designed and cohesive brand remains just as important as it was in the early 1900s when the world of marketing truly began to grow. Our world is increasingly visual with devices that provide entertainment and information with a simple swipe or the tap of a finger. Taylor Dolinger, SeedSpark's Director of Marketing, works each day with this fact in mind. Taking the vision of each client, formatting it for the digital space, and driving traffic with a cohesive brand and company persona are just a few of the many responsibilities that Taylor and the Digital Marketing team at SeedSpark take on each day for clients across the United States.
Today I sat down with Taylor to talk more about where she began in the world of graphic design, learn more about shifts and trends, and discuss where the field is going in the next five to ten years. With technology and design going hand in hand, predicting the future of the art of graphic design is nearly impossible. However, with a keen eye for the craft, graphic designers can roll with the changes and continually grow and evolve as designers, artists, and marketers.
How did you get started in the world of Graphic Design? What made you want to pursue a career in the field?
As a kid, I always loved drawing and making art! I knew I wanted to do something in the creative field, and as I got older, I realized how powerful design could really be. I like the idea of being able to communicate things visually, and I think people are more apt to want to read or look at something when it’s put into imagery and type that they can understand quickly and easily. I get to make and use “art” to help communicate ideas to others.
Pursuing my degree in design at Appalachian State University was an amazing experience and helped me finesse my skills. I still learn new things and techniques every day, and my designs look completely different now from how they did 5 years ago. I think it’s safe to say it will always be changing to some degree and that keeps things interesting.
Today, I’ve become Director of Marketing at SeedSpark, but being a creative is still a major part of what I do during the work week. I always thought I would just be a designer only, but I love the marketing side of things and putting all of the creative pieces together to really drive overall strategy.
What’s the most rewarding part of the design process?
I think the most rewarding part of design is being able to convey our client’s ideas. It’s the best feeling when I share a design with a client and it’s like “there it is” – it’s exactly what they were picturing in their head! It is so hard to communicate that vision we have in our minds sometimes, and when it clicks it, clicks. Collaborating with our clients and team members to take something to the finish line is so rewarding.
What does a “company brand” mean to you?
A “company brand” means everything and encompasses a ton of assets, collateral, and strategy. It’s the face of your company to the outside world, especially potential clients that want to use your products or services. When I think of what makes a great brand, I think of so many different pieces of the puzzle. From a logo to a website, down to business cards and email signatures. Then tying it out even further by creating content with a cohesive tone across the board. All of these “brand pieces” are what makes a company stand out from the rest.
How important is branding for a business?
Branding is super important for all businesses. For small to medium size businesses, it’s important to invest the time and money to create a unified brand in order to stand out and show up against their competitors. If there’s a competitor in your industry that has a stellar brand, but your company doesn’t have a logo or a website – 9 times out of 10 the public will choose to do business with the competitor that has a brand. It shows validity and lets people know that you’re keeping up to date if your brand is current.
It’s also just as important for large businesses to keep up with their brands as well. Logos and websites need to be revisited from time to time, and this goes back to making sure your brand is up to date. It’s easy for people to recognize that your business’ logo, color scheme, and font choices were selected in the early 90’s or 00’s, and they’re more likely to do business with someone else who is keeping up with the times and investing in their appearance.
Shouldn’t the product speak for itself?
That’s definitely a large part of it, the quality of the product or service you’re selling - no amount of marketing or ad investment can completely counter having a bad product to begin with. The branding of a business should amplify and spread the reach of your company. Then, once people are in the door, they’re hooked with how great your product actually is.
When we talk about digital marketing, where does branding fit in?
Most people think about branding as a sign on a building, a logo on a cup, or a label on a box. In the digital world, branding encompasses more than just a logo. It’s a profile picture and cover photo or banner sized to fit each social media platform’s unique layout. It’s a comprehensive website design that has cohesive branding from top to bottom in terms of content, color, and imagery. It’s social media graphics that match your company’s color scheme and design, helping create a well-curated social media collection. There are so many unique elements that come together to create a “brand” in the digital marketing space.
What are some physical projects that you’ve worked on in the past and how do physical and digital creations mesh together?
Some physical projects include signs, business cards, promotional rack cards, and more. I think one of the best and most recent physical projects that we’ve done was for JenCon Builders. Since they specialize in all sorts of construction projects, it was important for them to have necessary safety signage at their work sites and hard hat areas. These signs looked killer when they were completed, and while they were helpful in reminding the JenCon team members to wear their PPE, they also called back to the overall JenCon brand.
Regarding meshing those physical signs with digital marketing, we took plenty of photos of the signs in-action and posted them to social media for JenCon. This further solidified the safety-conscious tone of their brand for all of their social media audience to see.
With so many creatives in the space, what do you think the secret sauce is for our team at SeedSpark? What’s unique about what we provide?
I think our secret sauce is the relationships that we build with our clients and being able to collaborate so cohesively within our own team. We’re not just trying to pump work out and be done with it, we’re always continuously looking at ways we can improve the brand and digital marketing strategies for our clients, and ourselves. Everything is fully custom and we’re always trying to make our client’s vision come to life.
As technology continues to advance, where do you see corporate branding in 10 years? How do you think that part of the creative and marketing space will shift?
I think custom branding as a process and service will be similar, but the tools we create with have already been changing today and I expect them to continue to do so. We’ll have more tools at our disposal that will likely help our designs moving forward. I do see the marketing space continuing to shift, probably even more so than the act of creating a logo.
There are so many things that can be automated now with new technologies coming out. Ad campaigns and audience targeting, for example, get creepier by the minute! And although it is creepy to see an ad come up for that new clothing line or makeup tool you were JUST talking about, it’s an outstanding marketing tool to use in getting people who want to buy your product to do so. It’s only going to become more automated and targeted as time goes on.