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As a graphic designer if you don’t keep up with the latest trends your designs might fall by the wayside like Microsoft Paint. New trends come out every year. The goal is to find new ways to grab and hold people’s attention. For 2022, there are plenty of new ideas out there to improve and expand upon current techniques. Here are just a few of those ideas to consider.          

Fonts with a Twist

Typography can be used in many ways to make interesting designs. Twisting letters has proven to be the most popular of 2022. Graphic Designers like it because it conveys an interesting sense of style and message because of its imperfectness. The twisted letters can be anything upside down, big, or small. It can help bring any attention to any sort of design or reveal a certain message.

Candy Colors

As we enter this digital age with various kinds of content across all platforms, it is harder for designers to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Colors are important to help us stand out on the page and get more attention to our work and be seen. The best way for your design to stand out is to use candy-colored themes. Think of the colors of your favorite sweet treats. Graphic Designers who know color theory can apply this to their designs.

3D Characters

3D characters have risen to popularity with Graphic Designers. Graphic Design apps have been updated to include 3D features (other than text) allowing designers to raise their designs to the next level. 3D characters are fun and memorable helping build brand recognition. They also help convey emotions, thoughts, and ideas to the consumers.

90’s Nostalgia

For those who remember the 90’s, nostalgia is a popular trend with designers. Utilizing these designs techniques will bring back childhood memories of the good times. Think of shows like The Prince of Bel-Air, Seinfeld, and Friends. To incorporate this trend, designers will look at games and ads from this period also. The internet was new and exciting. Using this trend will bring fun to the design.

Anti-Design

Another way to make a design stand out is to not follow typical rules of Graphic Design. Most Graphic Designers follow certain rules to create flowing, memorable, easy to read designs. If you want to break the rules to make something stand out, you can go against the grain. Use bold Typography, clashing colors, asymmetry, and cluttered compositions. Even if it’s against the rules sometimes it could just work out and catch the viewers’ attention.

As a Graphic Designer there are a lot of exciting and intriguing ways to incorporate ideas into designs. It’s important to keep up with design trends and influences. You can break the rules and create new concepts that do not follow the norm. You can bring back a classic era into the world. You can twist your fonts to create playful and exotic messages, or you can bring designs to life in 3D to help express emotions and bring a brand identity. All these ideas are popular for 2022 and will help your designs be a success.

Written by:
Shavonne Stellato
Development & Graphics Team Member

Reading Time: 2 minutes

When you think of awards, the Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes probably come to mind, but you probably might not think about advertising agency awards. But for a business like ours, we have been asked to submit and participate, to be in the running for these industry awards, time and time again. Let’s examine what these awards are and if they really mean anything to clients.

We’ll start off with the fact that “awards” in our industry, as with most, are big business. Awards are given out by media marketing platforms like The Drum and Digiday, as well as through industry associations like, The Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals with their ‘MarComm Awards’ and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences with their ‘Webby Awards’ just to name a few.

There are awards for:

  • Digital Media
  • Print Media
  • Creative Design
  • Strategic Communications
  • Content Marketing
  • Audio / Video
  • Industry Leaders
  • Technology
  • Strategy
  • Distribution
  • Editorial
  • And more!

For a media planning and buying agency, like ours there are awards for:

  • Best Media Plan
  • Best Use of Emergent Media
  • Most Diverse Spending
  • Best Brand Integration into Gaming/Sports
  • Best Brand Integration into Traditional Media
  • And more!

With more than eight thousand businesses in the advertising industry (Statista 2019), it’s easy to see why this became big business and how there would be so many opportunities to “win”. But how do any of these companies get nominated. Who gets to choose where the entries come from? In many cases, it’s the businesses themselves vying for a chance to get recognized by the companies promoting the awards. And many of these opportunities come at a very high cost.

According to an interview with an ‘agency CEO’ done by Forbes, the CEO had to “defend his decision to spend $250,000 on entry fees”, because “winning awards is how he benchmarks his agency.” That doesn’t seem right. In that same article, the writer noted that the actual “usefulness as any type of industry benchmarking regarding who is doing outstanding work is predicated on the quality and robustness of the judging process.” So, the question is, who are they to judge? Could the winners based on the amount of investment spent to win awards and agencies willing to spend it? That may be why the larger, popular, and wealthier agencies are the ones “highlighting” all their winning awards.

It isn’t that winning an award for something should be overlooked. Our agency won an award for our Out of Home Strategy for “Best Alcohol Advertising and Promotions”. Yes, believe it or not, there are awards that get that specific.

And of course, as a media agency, we were very proud to win, but we didn’t nominate ourselves and we don’t hang our hat on those kinds of things. It means more to us when our own clients tell us they appreciate what we do for them. Getting them the best media placements and unique opportunities, while saving them money. No award necessary.

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Regional Buying on a Budget

Your agency better be prepared to keep a watchful eye! It’s easier to blanket areas than it is to break them apart. There are many ways to carve out and divvy up your media spend. Maybe you want to focus your spend on your top performing markets? Maybe you want to focus your spend on the least performing markets? Maybe you are opening new location(s) and you want to spend a portion of your dollars in those areas? Is your agency prepared to execute this type of buying? Is your agency prepared to watch over that campaign and treat your money like it’s their own? Will your agency watch over the buy to make sure that those portions stay in those areas? This takes an enormous amount of planning, reporting and time. If left unattended, your money could end up in areas you did not want to focus on and possibly in another time zone. And yes, that happens more often than you may think.  

Here are a few items to task your agency to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Negotiate with your Vendor

Your company’s media budget seems to be cut from last year, and of course everyone wants more of everything than the last campaign. How are you going to get that done with less money? Does your agency negotiate with their vendors? Or do they just buy close to rate card and commit? This should be your first question to your agency. Let’s be honest, the easiest thing for the agency would be not to negotiate on rate. They bill off your total spend!

Check Impression Delivery and Pacing for your Digital Campaigns

Is your agency checking that the impressions placed are delivered in the scheduled territories? Or are they just checking to see if the number of impressions were delivered so they can bill you for them. This is the top area where you can get some added value for sure.

On a recent campaign we requested delivery by zip code and found that roughly 20% of their spend delivered into unapproved zip codes. That is not good news for anyone, but it periodically happens.  Those of us in the reconciliation department know this means “Free Ads”. That incorrectly placed 20% will be coming back to the client and back into the approved areas. That 20% is voided from the invoice becomes added value impression.

We require weekly reports that shows us delivery by the hour. Pacing is extremely important for all our campaigns. Are your impressions being delivered while people are awake? Are the relevant times to sales cycles or just wasteful placements?

Out of Home Billboards

You might think, what is there to watch? The billboard goes up, then it comes down. That would be terribly naive. There are many things that you should be watching for. Typically, there is an acceptable window “posting period” that as the agency along with the vendor agree upon. Meaning, they typically have a few days from the proposed start date to post the board. Expecting them to post possibly hundreds of boards on a Monday because that is when it supposed to start is not possible. Over a few days, yes. If we come across, that every board posted 5 days late and you have 50 boards, that is 250 days of lost advertising time. Which equates to nearly 9 months of lost exposure! This is unacceptable and we either get that lost time reinserted on the back end or take credits.

Multiple Creatives Pieces

Frequently in out of home and digital there could be multiple creative pieces that are running at the same time, and you scheduled equal rotation for each. When the digital play report comes in you find that one of the creatives ran 80% and the other 2 ran at an equal 10%. Again, not something the client or us want to hear. On the other hand, for those of us in the accounting department, we know this means “Free Ads” or “Added Value” to our client. That mistake is removed from the invoice, and you get those additional ads for no cost and the contract is reloaded until fulfilled.

At A3 Media, we do everything possible to always ensure that there are no mistakes made on all our campaigns. It’s this detail that you want to make sure you’re getting from your agency. Are they watching these things? Honestly, it would be easier and less time for the agency not to get so granular, but then the client is really the only one who loses!

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When something breaks in your home, typically your first thought is to see if you can fix the problem yourself instead of having to hire a professional. Sometimes, you can google the problem and if you get lucky, you are able to fix it yourself. However, often you end up making the problem worse than if you had just hired a professional in the first place. The same concept can be applied to the need for a graphic designer.

I have heard this story repeatedly from clients. All they needed was a couple advertising pieces and assumed having someone in their office do graphic design work not only was going to save them money, but it was also going to save them the time it would take to find a graphic designer, sit down with the designer, figure out what they want and get the design just right. But in the end, they realize this wasn’t the best course of action. For example, say they decide to try one of the free layout and design websites to attempt to create what they need. One of the most popular websites for creating and designing advertising pieces is Canva. Canva is a free online service that allows you to use their design templates to design all kinds of advertising pieces. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that if you choose the free version of Canva, you are limited to a small number of templates to follow. Even if you choose to pay for a subscription, you are still stuck with using the templates. Sure, it is relatively user friendly but in the end the designs look generic, unoriginal, and simply unprofessional.

For small business owners trying to stand out from the other companies in town, it is essential their branding is consistent and distinguished. To do this, you need to hire a graphic designer. Graphic designers have the skills and knowledge to help create branding and any other advertising pieces you may need for your company. They will likely think of things you might need that you didn’t think of yourself. For example, you might think of all the signage you will need for your business, but you have no idea how to have the signage printed or installed. A graphic designer can ensure that your signage is going to turn out exactly the way you imagined it. You also want custom business cards to hand to your customers. After designing your business card, the designer might suggest designing new graphics for your social media pages to attract more customers or a letterhead to match your branding for when you are printing out professional business documents. At the end of the day, you saved yourself the headache of having to do it yourself and you have a person you can turn to the next time you need something designed. And it was worth every penny you spent.

Big corporations choosing to hire a graphic designer is always the best option. Say you have been in business a very long time but now it is time to update your branding. A graphic designer can design a new logo, business cards, letterheads, email signatures, envelops, etc. The designer can make sure the new branding is new and fresh but also still feels like your old branding. They can also ensure that from now on all advertising pieces are consistent with the new branding. Designers create what is known as a branding guideline. A branding guideline will provide instructions on how your logo is to be placed, how not to use the logo and how and when to use the different file types of the logo. This way, when the designer is done with their work, your branding will continue to stay professional and consistent.

No matter what kind of business you are in, hiring a graphic designer is always a smart option. Ask for their work examples. Make sure they understand what you are trying to portray and that you work well with each other. Because even the best artists will need to fully understand the “feel” of the project to be successful, and only you can truly convey that to them.

At A3 media, we have in-house graphic designers like me that can assist our clients with all of their advertising and design needs.

Written by:
Ali Menard
Development & Graphics Team Member