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Stand Out in Social Media: 6 Design Strategies

Social media is a must-have in virtually every digital marketing strategy. But with thousands of competing brands and countless imagery to scroll through, standing out in this increasingly crowded landscape is more difficult (and more important) than ever. The use of images, colors, and design is key to grabbing attention and compelling the viewer to read through the text that accompanies. Here are a few design strategies that can help you do just that.

    • Brighter colors. Imagery that includes bright contrasting colors is a great tactic to capture attention. Most social media apps tend to use a white or off-white background, making bright colors pop off the screen. Contrasting colors are attractive to the human eye and entice the audience to stop scrolling—and pay attention to your ad.
    • Fewer words. The trend is to reduce the amount of text featured in the image. Some brands try to jam their images with as much information as possible, but it can be distracting. Since Instagram is an app-based around images, it may be best to leave all the text in the static portion of the post so that the audience can focus on the image itself. This may be more impactful and visually appealing.
    • Or the right words. If you’re basing the design around typography alone, the font should be chosen carefully and speak for the product or service it is representing. Graphic, bold typography is a good way to grab the audience’s attention and get the message across at the same time.
    • Open composition. One of the most interesting design trends in social media right now is the element of an open composition. This is quite literally “thinking outside the box.” Most social media platforms give specifications of the size that an image needs to live in. However, this does not mean we can’t allow for the audience to use their imagination. Using photography or imagery that lives half out of the confined space leaves the viewer wanting to see more—an element of mystery. It also adds a more visually appealing component of asymmetrical balance. Some brands even utilize the multiple-image option on Instagram to break a single image into a continuous series in order to tell a story. This becomes more interactive, like turning the page of a book.
    • Go for the unusual. Another approach when designing social media posts is to use unusual elements. The brain tends to retain an image for a longer period of time if it is not ordinary or is unexpected. Because we are used to scrolling and seeing so many different images and ads throughout the day, a strange or unusual composition—such as mixing illustration with photography—will stand out.
    • Mix it up. Real imagery or illustrations? Sometimes it can be best to use both! Combining the two styles can give an engaging and playful edge to designs, making them stand out against other advertisements.

With so many brands trying to compete with one another via social media, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out and engage users. But by staying true to your brand—and incorporating these fun trends—you can help give your brand the oomph it needs.

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Associate Art Director

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