Graphic Design in Marketing and Advertising

By Matic Broz, editor-in-chief of Photutorial covering stock media, Adobe, and design. He founded Photutorial while finishing his PhD in computational biosciences.
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Graphic Design in Advertising

Graphic design plays a crucial role in the world of marketing and advertising. With 40% of marketers noting that original graphics, such as infographics and illustrations, perform the best and 65% of digital marketing professionals utilizing visuals in their campaigns, it’s clear that graphics can make a significant impact.

Additionally, 86% of marketers reported using visuals in over 80% of their blog posts, and articles with images receive 94% more views than those without. Join us as we explore the use of graphic design in marketing and advertising and how it can help businesses effectively communicate their message and stand out in a crowded digital landscape.

Key takeaways

  • Graphic design in advertising uses visual elements to promote products or convey messages.
  • This includes packaging, logo design, marketing materials, and social media posts.
  • Graphic design is important for advertising because it can increase conversions, build brand recognition, communicate effectively, grab attention, and make a lasting impression.
  • Graphic designers in advertising must consider their client’s needs and goals to create effective ads.
  • Hiring an agency is 40–80% cheaper than hiring an in-house designer, but there are few drawbacks.

What is Graphic Design in Marketing and Advertising?

Graphic design is an essential aspect of both marketing and advertising, and it plays a crucial role in the success of any business.

Marketing graphic design

Graphic design in marketing is the process of creating visual materials that help companies promote their products or services. This can include product packaging, brochures, and website design. The main goal of graphic design in marketing is to build a brand and establish a relationship with customers. The design should be visually appealing and convey the company’s message clearly and effectively.

Advertising graphic design

Graphic design in advertising is the process of creating visuals for ads, such as billboards, print ads, and online banners. The main goal of graphic design in advertising is to promote a specific product or service. The design should be eye-catching and attention-grabbing, with the aim of getting people to take action, such as visiting a website or making a purchase.

Marketing vs advertising graphic design

The main difference between the two is that marketing efforts are geared toward building a brand and establishing a relationship with customers. At the same time, advertising is focused on promoting a specific product or service.

How To Outsource Marketing Design?

Over the years of helping companies optimize their marketing and advertising designs, we noticed a trend. Most marketing experts will spend thousands upon thousands tweaking their ads’ text and the demographics they target, but they overlook the fundamentals—getting a professional design.

If you’re a designer, your time will be well-spent optimizing the design. But most marketers are not designers and will be better off outsourcing outdoor advertisements to a professional designer. A cost-efficient method that works very well for small businesses but is also gaining popularity among companies is hiring unlimited graphic design services.

These are 2 to 3 times cheaper than hiring an in-house designer while delivering equal quality designs and removing the hassle of hiring. We saw many companies achieve great success with this approach by also outsourcing other aspects of their business, including logo and branding, UI/UX design, and blog design.

In our experience, the best solution is Awesomic. Low-budget start-ups should use the Light plan ($699), which gives you all the basics. Those who need more advanced designs or require more design time should get the Pro ($1,995) or the 1 to 1 plan, which you can also stack.

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Awesomic subscriptions are 2 to 3 times cheaper than an in-house designer and more consistent as freelancers. You can get dedicated designers who ensure consistent branding across your graphic designs, logo, and other designs. You can get a free demo and a 7-day trial for $7.

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How are Graphics Used in Advertising?

Graphic designs in advertising and marketing are used throughout brochures, packaging, logo creation, website design, display ads, and billboards. The primary goal is to create a visually appealing graphic that emphasizes the offered product or service.

What are advertisement graphics?

An advertisement graphic is any visual creation used to influence the sale of a product or service through advertising or eye-catching packaging. An often overlooked promotional graphic is the logo, which helps build brand identity but to which most companies don’t give proper attention.

In the following example, you can study dozens of designs competing with each other for people’s attention. Which one grabs your attention? Now, analyze why.

Graphic design in real life - Times Square
Graphic design in real life

How to use graphic design in marketing?

So how can you use graphic design to your marketing advantage? Here are a few tips:

Start with a solid strategy. Before you start creating graphics, take the time to develop a clear strategy that outlines your goals and target audience. This will help guide your design decisions and ensure your graphics get the desired results.

Create graphics that are consistent with your brand. Consistency is key in branding, and your marketing graphics should be no exception. Use your brand’s color palette, typography, and imagery to create a unified look that reinforces your brand’s identity.

Keep it simple. In the world of marketing, less is often more. Avoid overloading your graphics with too much text or unnecessary elements, and focus on clean, simple designs that are easy for your audience to understand.

Use attention-grabbing images. A picture is worth a thousand words, and high-quality visuals can go a long way toward grabbing your audience’s attention and getting them interested in your product or service. Invest in professional photography or stock images to make your graphics stand out.

Test, test, test. As with any marketing campaign, it’s important to test and tweak your graphic design regularly to see what works and what does not. Try different variations of your graphics and track the results to see which ones work best.

5 Reasons Why Graphic Design Is Important for Advertising

Graphic design is responsible for boosting advertising success, and it does so because of:

  1. Increased conversions
  2. Brand recognition
  3. Effective communication
  4. Getting attention
  5. Makes it memorable

1. Increased conversions

Graphic design is important because it helps improve the conversion rate of your advertising campaigns. Therefore, when you advertise your products and services, you need to make sure that they appeal to your customers, and to achieve this, you must develop a graphic design strategy. But creating a graphic design strategy is difficult, especially if you don’t know where to start. For that reason, most big businesses (big and small) outsource their graphic designs.

If you create eye-catching graphics, you can attract more people who want to buy your product. Your advertising should also be clear and concise. If your message is unclear, your customer won’t understand what you’re trying to tell them. They might think you’re trying to sell something else or that you’re being misleading. So if your ad is confusing, it can lead to a poor conversion rate.

2. Brand recognition

Brand recognition is one of the essential aspects of corporate advertising. It takes a lot of effort and investment to build a strong identity. That’s why forward-thinking companies spend a lot of money and resources developing their brands.

Mcdonalds branding
You instantly recognize McDonald’s logo and colors. (Credit: Photo by Visual Karsa on Unsplash)

The easiest way is to hire graphic designers to bring the brand’s style to visual communication. The main goal is to make their clients’ products recognizable to a broad audience. Therefore, they must ensure that all the company’s materials are consistent.

A graphic designer must integrate every aspect of the product into a unified style. The designer must understand what the client wants to convey through advertising to achieve this goal. Then, they should implement each element to convey the same message.

3. Effective communication

Advertising is communication that uses images, words, sounds, and movements to persuade people to buy products or services. So graphic design plays a vital role in effective communication. We help companies communicate their message through various media, including print, television, radio, billboards, websites, and social media. The goal is to get people to take action and buy products or services.

Design isn’t limited to traditional forms of advertising, such as print and TV. It’s also used in digital marketing. Examples include websites, blogs, email newsletters, social media posts, video ads, and infographics. So, modern advertising relies on graphic design to convey a company’s brand identity and drive sales.

And the best way is to include images in ads. As you may know, 93% of communication is nonverbal.

Related: Best stock photo sites for graphic designers

4. Getting attention

Graphic design is also essential to attract attention. Whether you’re designing a logo, a website banner, or any other advertisement, a good design will help attract customers’ attention. To stand out, you need to look professional and put effort into your design.

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on fancy software or hire a designer who charges $100 an hour. You must understand graphic design basics and apply those principles to your project. Learning graphic design is pretty easy.

To attract the attention of potential clients, you should use clear and concise text. Keep the designs simple. Avoid using too many colors, large images, or complex typography. Use white space to separate and structure your message. And always remember that the goal of your design is to attract attention.

5. Makes it memorable

Graphic design plays a big role in making advertising memorable. The right combination of colors, shapes, typography, photography, illustration, and animation helps convey a message and make it stick in people’s minds.

Graphic design accounts for almost half of advertising agencies’ total budgets—at least, it should. The average cost of television advertising is $3,500 per second. So make your design as memorable as possible because failure doesn’t come cheap.

When choosing a graphic designer, the most important thing you should look for is whether they know their craft. It’s not enough that they’re creative. They must also be able to communicate clearly and effectively. They should be able to explain how they work, so you understand what they’re getting at. And if they don’t have experience working with clients, they should work closely with you to ensure you’re happy with the final product.

What You Need For Advertising Graphic Design

Producing graphics for advertising and marketing is the highest level of graphic design because it carries the biggest responsibility—promoting products and services. Even a small deviation from the top goal can result in a big loss in revenue. Therefore, it is worth investing in premium tools and resources as the results can increase manifold:


Advanced tools are the main difference between professional and mainstream graphic design software. While professional software takes longer to master and usually costs more, it allows you to create and tweak designs in a way that a simple tool for amateurs does not support.

Professional tools are often better supported and rigorously tested by other industry-leading experts before they are released, so bugs and errors are rare. On the contrary, cheaper tools can have fundamental errors you can’t look over on this level.

For example, Canva is a fantastic tool for beginners or those with a low budget. Still, just recently, we found (and reported to the devs) that fonts are sometimes not properly kerned—this is a big no-go for advertising graphic design.

The best tools we recommend:

  • Adobe Illustrator: Best for pros. Illustrator is the industry standard for creating vectors and illustrations. We recommend using it for graphic design when you need vector files (SVG, AI, or EPS). The best free alternative to Adobe Illustrator is Inkscape.
  • Adobe Photoshop: Best overall. Adobe Photoshop is the most powerful image editor on the market and keeps getting better and more versatile with each new release. The latest addition to Photoshop is neural filters. You should use Photoshop for raster output files (JPG, PNG). A good free alternative is GIMP.
  • Canva: Best for beginners. Canva is the leading cloud-based graphic design platform. It comes with hundreds of thousands of templates, 110 million stock images, and a simple editor. It also costs significantly less than other tools, starting at $9.99/month.
  • Adobe CC Express: Best for low budget. Adobe (Creative Cloud) Express is similar to Canva with a larger and higher quality selection of stock images but overall worse image editor.


Images are generally at the center of a design, meaning you build the entire graphic around that image. What kind of images you use and where you get them depends primarily on what you’re promoting with the design.

When you create a display ad for a physical product, you should use images of that product, that product of use, or people interacting with it. For example, when promoting Nike sneakers, use a close-up shot of a person jogging while wearing them.

Other times, you have to create a design that promotes a non-physical product, such as courses, websites, and services. In such cases, it isn’t easy to use product images, as these would be screenshots usually unsuited for graphic design. This is where stock images get into play. We recommend the following stock agencies:

  • Adobe Stock: It is the best source of stock images for graphic designers, particularly those using Adobe apps (Illustrator, Photoshop, Express), into which Adobe Stock is integrated. The images and licensing are affordable, and the quality is excellent. You can also get premium images at reasonable prices compared to Getty Images or Offset. Read Adobe Stock review
  • Shutterstock is the most popular and largest stock photo site, with over 400 million images in the collection. Shutterstock is slightly lower than Adobe Stock, but you can’t get premium stock images, usually required for advertising graphic design. Read Shutterstock review

Should you use free stock images for marketing graphic design?

As a rule of thumb, we do not use free stock images for advertising for two reasons. First, since they are free, many other people also use them. So if customers notice the same image in your ad as on some sketchy blog, they will write you off. Second, free stock agencies do not provide legal coverage (indemnity), which is good and a must for some companies.

Read more: Best stock photo sites for graphic designers


Every graphic designer has their favorite font(s), but that doesn’t mean you can use the same one repeatedly. When working for large brands, they will provide their brand fonts, but at other times you may need to get them yourself.

One of the best ways to get unlimited access to thousands of fonts is through Adobe Fonts, a collection of over 20,000 types. You get access to Adobe Fonts with any Adobe Creative Cloud subscription—since you’re a designer, Illustrator, Photoshop, and/or Express would make the most sense for you.

A cheap alternative is also Envato Elements, which grants you access to unlimited downloads of stock images, video, fonts, templates, and more for $16.50 per month.

Read more: How to get Envato Elements for free?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is graphic design important in advertising?

Graphic design is one of the most important tools in advertising. It helps us understand our target audience and what they want from us. We can then use this knowledge to develop creative ideas to ensure we reach out to our target audiences and get them interested in our product.

What is the role of a graphic designer in an advertising agency?

A graphic designer plays a vital role in an advertising agency. They must work with the creative team to develop the ad campaign’s concept, strategy, and execution. They design all aspects of the advertisement, from the logo to the final print ads.

Is graphic design helpful for marketing?

Yes, marketing is about communicating with your target audience through various channels. You need to know how to present your product/service to make it easy for people to understand and remember. This is what graphic design can do for you.

What are graphics in advertising?

Graphics in advertising refers to any illustration, photograph, cartoon, drawing, etc., promoting a product or service. We can use graphic design to print advertisements, packaging, billboards, websites, and other forms of marketing.

How does graphics design contribute to designing advertisements?

We hire graphic designers to create designs that are appealing to consumers. They must consider many factors, such as colors, shapes, fonts, and sizes. The designer then determines how these elements will be displayed on a website or advertisement.

What is marketing and advertising in graphic design?

Marketing and advertising in graphic design promote goods and services through various forms of communication. It involves creating ads, logos, brochures, packaging, websites, and other printed materials, attracting customers, and persuading them to purchase the product.

How does graphics design contribute to designing advertisements?

Graphics design contributes to advertising because it helps promote the product, services, and brand by creating logos, illustrations, and other graphical elements.


Graphic designers play a vital role in the success of any advertisement. They create the visual identity by designing logos, advertisements, websites, and many other things. Graphic designers also need to understand the basics and psychology of their audience to come up with creative ideas that will appeal to them. To do this, they must be able to analyze the target audience. This article provides some tips on how to become a better graphic designer.


  1. Advertising and Graphic Design, Oakland University, Updated: May 18, 2022. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  2. Adam Augustyn, advertising, Britannica. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  3. Conversion: Definition, Google Ads Helps. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  4. Martina Bretous, What Makes an Ad Memorable? [New Data], Updated October 25, 2021. Retrieved July 17, 2022.


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