When it comes to creating a social media campaign, design is everything.
From creative concept to colors and fonts, the design choices you make can make or break the success of a campaign.
In this blog post, we’re sharing 7 tips to take your campaign creative to the next level, as well as the best free apps to help you along the way:
Why Visual Design is Important for Social Media Campaigns
Social media campaigns can cover almost anything: a new product launch, a giveaway, an event, or even the arrival of a new season.
Campaigns can have the same branding as all of your other social media content but, occasionally, you might want to consider giving your campaign a distinctive look and feel to set it apart.
A fresh design can set the tone for your campaign at a glance and is also a great way to visually tie all of your campaign content together.
For this year’s LaterCon, Later’s design team came up with a new creative identity specifically for the digital conference.
The new creative was applied to all digital touch points for the event, creating a cohesive visual experience for participants.
Despite the design being noticeably different from Later’s trademark branding, it wasn’t totally unrelated.
“It was important to keep it fresh while still relating back to the Later brand,” explains Later’s Creative Design Lead, Chin Tan.
“We did this by keeping the colors in the gradient of our usual Later palette, as well as adding visual elements that tie back to the core brand.”
Staying in-keeping with your overall brand identity is important, but that doesn’t mean you can’t introduce some playful new creative elements to your social campaigns.
“Don’t be afraid of a little refresh,” advises Chin. “Little things like adding a new color won’t throw your audience off, as long as you keep your core aesthetic values the same.”
Investing in the visual design of your next campaign can really build hype and drive extra momentum on social media, from comments and likes to saves and shares.
Fortunately, it’s easier than you might think to get creative on social media. Stay tuned to discover our 7 top tips.
Missed out on LaterCon 2020? Don’t worry, you can watch the full replay with all 25+ expert speakers here.
Design Tip #1: Understand the Goals of Your Campaign
Before jumping straight into the creative phase, it’s important to consider the goals of your social media campaign.
Gaining a solid understanding of why you’re running a campaign, as well as who your target audience is, will keep the creative process focused and relevant.
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By thinking more and designing less at this stage, you’ll save yourself valuable time and effort further down the line.
Once you’ve fully established your campaign goals and objectives, they should be the backbone of every design decision you make, from the over-arching concept to the color palette.
Design Tip #2: Get Creative with a Concept
The most memorable social media campaign designs usually have a strong creative narrative, a concept or theme that ties all of the design elements together in a visual story.
“Every creative direction starts with the concept,” explains Chin.
For this year’s LaterCon, the team landed on the concept of “a Later universe full of juxtaposition,” combining analog iconography with digital elements, rough textures with smooth gradients, and processed images with clean line work.
Setting a concept early on in the design process can act as a valuable framework for creative brainstorming, which is especially helpful if there are multiple designers working on the same project.
If you’re not sure where to find inspiration for a creative concept, go back to your campaign goals and target audience. Look at what’s visually trending with your audience right now on different social media platforms.
“When looking for inspiration, Instagram and Pinterest are great places to explore. You can find inspiration from the archives and from up and coming design trends,” says Chin.
You can find inspiration from almost anywhere, but on-brand fashion labels, sports teams, films, poster adverts, and music artists are often good places to start.
Design Tip #3: Create a Visual Moodboard for Inspiration
Once you’ve got your concept nailed down, it’s time to bring it to life.
By creating a visual mood board, you can bring all of your creative inspirations together in one place and gain a holistic view of what themes and styles work well together.
The trick is to use your mood board as a launchpad for creativity, rather than repeating designs that already exist.
“The key is to avoid falling into a rabbit hole and creating work that looks similar to everyone else’s. For me, I like to find 2 or 3 styles that I like, find a way to combine them, and create something new,” Chin shares.
“Don’t be afraid to do lots of little experiments to find out what works and what doesn’t.”
There are a ton of different programs and apps that you can use to create mood boards for your next campaign, from Pinterest to InVision.
You can even use Later’s new Unsplash integration to browse and pick from thousands of free, on-brand images to create a dynamic mood board.
Already using Later? Sign in and start browsing content now. Or sign up today to start planning, scheduling, and posting to Instagram!
Design Tip #4: Choose Your Color Palette Carefully
Color is a huge part of any design process.
The colors you choose can set the tone for your campaign at a glance and are often loaded with subliminal connotations.
For example, pastel shades can be perceived as calming and gentle, while bright neons are often associated with youthful energy, danger, or rebellion.
It’s also important to consider how your campaign colorways will work alongside your overall branding. A fresh color palette can re-energize your social presence, but it’s usually a good idea to stick to the same gradient.
Even professional designers can spend hours contemplating colors, their association, and how they can be paired together to create a unique impression.
Fortunately, there are plenty of free resources available to keep you on the right track.
Colours.Cafe is an Instagram account that solely posts color palette inspiration, with each color code listed to help make the design process even easier.
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#colour470 . Follow:@colours.cafe . • HEX – 006D60 • RGB – 0,109,96 • HSL – 172.8,100%,21.4% • CMYK – 100,0,12,57 • PANTONE – . • HEX – F6F7EB • RGB – 246,247,235 • HSL – 65,42.9%,94.5% • CMYK – 0,0,5,3 • PANTONE – . • HEX – FF9BC7 • RGB – 255,155,199 • HSL – 333.6,100%,80.4% • CMYK – 0,39,22,0 • PANTONE – . • HEX – 9C2E8F • RGB – 156,46,143 • HSL – 307.1,54.5%,39.6% • CMYK – 0,71,8,39 • PANTONE – . • HEX – FF6B44 • RGB – 255,107,6 • HSL – 12.5,100%,63.3% • CMYK – 0,58,73,0 • PANTONE – . #color #colour #ui #colourscafe #colorscafe #colorpalette #colourpalette #brandidentity #uidesign #userinterface #characterdesign #ux #design #graphicdesign #dribbblers #dribbble #behance #cinema4d #graphicdesigner #logodesinger #motiongraphics #illustration #lettering #calligraphy #character #originalcharacter #ocs #digitaldrawing #digitalart
You can draw color inspiration from almost anywhere. Travel snapshots, Instagram feeds that resonate with your brand, pieces of art, and album covers can all be rich sources of color inspiration, so don’t be afraid to cast your net far and wide.
Want to learn more about the complex world of color theory? We teamed up with Matt Riley, Head of Brand at Over, to create a quick guide to finding your brand voice through design:
Design Tip #5: Find the Perfect Fonts
More often than not, your go-to brand font will be the best option for your social media campaign design.
Changing fonts too often can result in a disjointed aesthetic.
However, all rules are made to be broken, and there will occasionally be times when introducing a new font for a campaign feels right.
For example, the design team introduced a cool new title font to set this year’s LaterCon creative apart.
There are lots of different categories of fonts, but on the most basic level they can be split into 5 main types:
- Slab serif
- Sans serif
If you’re not sure where to start, it’s a good idea to look at what type of brands typically adopt each font grouping.
This quick guide by Over is a great way to familiarize yourself with category and their respective connotations:
There’s no denying that fonts are complex, and with so many different options out there, choosing the perfect one for your brand can feel like a huge undertaking.
Thankfully, there are plenty of resources on hand, with Instagram accounts such as welovebranding offering plenty of inspiration.
Design Tip #6: Use Creative Apps for Professional Templates
No matter how limited your design skills are, there are still ways to create professional-looking social media campaigns.
Design apps such as Over, Canva, and Adobe Spark are full of pre-designed templates that are perfect for beginners looking to get creative on a budget.
From pre-populated font and color combinations to cool layered layouts, design apps are an easy and affordable way to level-up your visuals on social.
Plus, you can easily customize the designs on offer to add your unique creative identity. Over, Canva, and Adobe Spark all offer the capability to upload your own custom font.
Design Tip #7: Preview Designs in Advance
As your campaign creative starts to take shape, it’s always a good idea to preview how your designs will look in your Instagram feed.
Doing this in advance can help you catch any jarring tones or textures, and will give you a holistic view of how your campaign will visually play out alongside your other posts.
For LaterCon, the social team shared user-generated content in harmonious colors alongside campaign content, creating a strong and consistent aesthetic.
Later’s Visual Instagram Planner shows you exactly what your Instagram feed will look like with your future posts in it, so you can achieve the perfect grid.
You can easily rearrange or swap out photos from your media library until you’ve found the best composition for your feed.
Plus, you can now use Later’s Visual Planner straight from your mobile! All you need is to open the Later app, select Preview, and Add Media.
And that concludes our top 7 tips to take your social media campaign designs to the next level.
Our final piece of advice? Have fun and don’t be afraid to take a few risks!
“It can be tempting to repeat a look that works for your brand, but taking risks and trying new things is the key to giving your audience a refreshed experience,” explains Chin.
“Plus, you get to try something new — and who knows, people might love it more!”
Ready to create the perfect Instagram aesthetic for your brand? Design, curate, and plan your feed with Later!
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Jillian is a content marketer at Later based in the UK. She is an aficionado of London brunch spots and an avid listener of true crime podcasts. You can connect with her on Instagram @jillwrren.