The Dogwood Media Solutions Podcast

The Dogwood Media Solutions Podcast: #009 - The Power of Graphic Design and Your Business

April 25, 2023 Dogwood Media Solutions, LLC Season 1 Episode 9
The Dogwood Media Solutions Podcast
The Dogwood Media Solutions Podcast: #009 - The Power of Graphic Design and Your Business
Show Notes Transcript

You might not always know why it's bad, but we all recognize bad graphic design when we see it. That's one of the million reasons why having a professional help you with your design work is so important. Not only does it help boost your credibility but helps you stand out against everything else vying for our attention.

In this episode, Lauren talks with our Creative Director, Kristen, about what makes for good graphic design, why it's important, and how it impacts your business!


Learn more about Dogwood at At our site, you can learn more about our staff, and the services we offer. Don't forget to check out our blog full of information while you are there. You'll also find links where you can follow us on social media and become an insider to really see what it's like at Dogwood.

Speaker 1 (00:00):

Thanks for tuning in to the Dogwood Media Solutions podcast. I'm your host, Lauren Cuy, and today we'll be talking with our creative director Kristen Wallace, about the power of graphic design and your business. 

Speaker 1 (00:17):

Hi, and welcome to the Dogwood Media Solutions podcast. I'm your host, Lauren Comey, and today we're hanging out with our creative director Kristen Wallace. What's up? Thanks for being with us today. Thanks for having me. This is exciting. <laugh>. So the podcast debut? Yes, the debut. I hope that we get to have everybody on here at some point, but there's only so many podcasts and there's a lot of us and not everybody wants to be on the podcast. That's true. So maybe we'll convince some of the, the quieter ones to get on here at some point. Um, so Kristen has been with Dogwood for two years now and she was hired on as a graphic designer and has moved up the ranks to creative director and manages a team of other creatives. So Kristen tells a little bit about how you ended up at Dogwood. 

Speaker 1 (01:03):

Yeah, so I graduated from college in 2019. I went to the University of Alabama Roll Tide. I have to say that <laugh>, um, the program that I went through was a creative advertising program, so we did a lot of marketing, advertising, graphic design type things. Um, so I graduated from there and then I worked in Tuscaloosa for a little bit for a sports marketing company. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then after my contract ended there was looking for a new job and then got connected with Brian Dogwood in Montgomery and moved here. And I've been here for a little over two years since. So, yeah. Kind of crazy. That doesn't feel like it's been that long. Do you ever think you'd be in Montgomery, Alabama? Absolutely not. <laugh>, <laugh>. I feel like I was talking to a girl recently after I moved here who had also just moved here and we kind of came to the conclusion and we're like, I feel like people don't really plan to come to Montgomery. 

Speaker 1 (01:53):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you just kind of end up there. Yeah. But at the same time, it, a lot of people, once they live here for a while, it's like, okay, it gets a bad rep, but it's not as bad as people make it out to me. Yeah. I mean, I feel like the people that give Montgomery the worst rep are the people that were born here. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> because, but I feel like that's true everywhere. Like, you know, you never want to be in the place where you grew up. Right, exactly. There's just something about that. Yeah. Um, as somebody who grew up here and is still here, it does get better. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, you know, it gets a bad rep, but it's been good. Uh, Kim was the person that connected us, right? Yes. Shout out to Kim if she's listening. <laugh>. <laugh>. I wouldn't have a job if it weren't for Kim. 

Speaker 1 (02:30):

We'll have to send it to her so she can hear her or shout out. Yeah. Kim Andrews was my BCM campus minister at UA and she used to work with Brian and so when she knew I was looking for another job, she was like, oh, well I'll connect you to this guy. And then the rest is history. <laugh> <laugh>. So what is it about graphic design that you just really love? Like why make it your whole career? So, fun story. Um, when I started college, I started as a social work major. That's different <laugh>. Yeah. Very different than what I'm doing now. That lasted a whole one semester <laugh>. Um, and then I switched from social work because I realized that I am not, I don't have the type of personality for social work. It takes a really special person to be a social worker. 

Speaker 1 (03:16):

Yeah. I am not. Um, but you know, uh, self-awareness is key. So I switched to PR and then did that for a little bit. And then at Alabama, the advertising and public relations majors are in the same department. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so then I just kind of did a shift to advertising from pr. And then from that I started doing graphic design classes in a graphic design minor. I really didn't expect to go into some sort of like artistic career. So when I was a kid, I wanted to be an artist and I had all of these drawings. They weren't good because I'm not good at painting or drawing or any of that. Uh, some people assume that graphic designers are good at that and some graphic designers are good at that. I'm not one of them. Um, but, uh, as I got older and then I was always sort of more creative minded. 

Speaker 1 (04:05):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative> just not so much in the traditional art sense. Um, and then I ended up having to take a few graphic design courses as part of my advertising major. Like they were just requirements. I didn't even wanna take them. And I was like, oh, this is, this is pretty fun. And so yeah. And then I started, did a graphic design minor and started taking more classes and that's kind of how I got into it. Um, and I feel like one of the things about graphic design that I really enjoy is that it's almost like problem solving. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which to an extent a lot of marketing is problem solving. Right. Um, but graphic design, I feel like it's kind of like a puzzle. You know? It's very satisfying to figure out the perfect layout or the perfect design that kind of works mm-hmm. <affirmative> and solves the problem and communicates the message that you're trying to communicate to your audience. 

Speaker 1 (04:49):

And I think that's a unique aspect of art that I enjoy doing. Yeah. Random question. Did your art classes involve you having to like draw boxes? Boxes? Um, I don't think so. <laugh>, I asked because, so Chase, my, my husband Chase, um, he was a graphic design major for like a whole semester. Oh, I didn't know that. Um, because he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life and he was like, I like draw mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and he took one class, like his intro to whatever class mm-hmm. <affirmative> and they made him draw boxes for like the entire semester. And I later found out that he just stopped going to class after like, <laugh>, I don't know, six weeks or something. Um, because he was tired of drawing boxes and Amazing. Yeah. I mean I would get tired of that too. 

Speaker 1 (05:40):

I took one class where we had to draw like each, each project was a different shape. And so we did do one that was circles and we did one that was lines. We never did boxes, but it was only like one project. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. It was never a whole class. Cause I remember I did these little half circles and then I filled some of them in. So they looked like little bunny rabbits, <laugh>. And everyone else in my class had these really deep meaningful art pieces. And I had little bunnies happen around the page. <laugh>, you like go up to present and you're like, bunnies. Yeah. <laugh>. That was literally how it went. That's great. That was great. Oh, all right. Well I guess we'll move into the blog. So this blog that we're diving into a little bit deeper is about the power of graphic design for businesses. 

Speaker 1 (06:21):

Um, and so actually Beth wrote this blog just because Beth is one of our, our writers, but um, typically when she writes things that are outside of her wheelhouse, she talks to our other folks. And so that's why we're talking to Kristen today cuz that makes the most sense. Um, so why is having visual elements, whether it's a graphic or photos or whatever, um, important in blogs, social, all the places. So people are very visual learners. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think, and not everyone, but for the most part I think we are all to an extent very visual learners. Um, and I think at the same time, especially in marketing, when you're trying to get a message across, you have to be as concise and simple as possible. Not because people aren't smart enough to understand it, but because we are very protective of our time in this day and age. 

Speaker 1 (07:15):

Right. And I think, um, there's so many things vying for our attention. So when you're scrolling through a website or you're scrolling through social media, like you're, you don't have time to stop and really try and figure out what something is or if you have the time to pay attention to it or not. And so I think visuals are such an important aspect of that because it's that thing that catches someone's attention. It's that thing that catches their eye that makes them want to read the words that are associated with that visual. Right. And I think if you don't have that, then you are gonna have a really hard time grasping, um, people's attention. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, just because of everything. I mean, we have so many screens, so many things. And I think all of that is to our benefit for the most part. 

Speaker 1 (07:56):

I mean, there's obviously pros and cons, but you know, it's just how technology is advancing and I think we also have to adapt our messaging to adjust with technology. Yeah. So I was actually talking to Dominique, um, our, one of our newest social media folks this morning about why we make sure that there's a graphic or an image or whatever with all of our social posts. Um, cuz that was one of the questions she had was like, do I have to have a graphic for everything? And I told her, you know, it doesn't have to be a graphic in the sense of, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, designed graphic necessarily. Like it can be a photo, it can be, you know, uh, a link to something that like pulls a photo in or whatever. But everything needs some sort of visual element because when you're scrolling through social media or through websites or whatever, you're not gonna stop and read the first sentence of everything to find out what it is. 

Speaker 1 (08:44):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, it's mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like you said, it's that image that really grabs your attention. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, so with that being said, why is it important to make sure that those, those design elements are good? I e you get a professional and not your teenager to do it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so that's a great question and it's one of those that you feel like the answer is obvious, but at the same time people still do it. Um, but I think when you're scrolling through and you're looking at graphics and you're looking at images, you can have an image that looks terrible and it will grab people's attention. Right. You know, it will accomplish part of your goal, but at the same time, you don't want to grab people's attention for the wrong reasons. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And if something is poorly designed, sometimes people won't notice it. 

Speaker 1 (09:29):

There's a group of people that will not notice if something is poorly designed and that's fine, but there's also a large amount of people that are gonna notice because even though everyone in the world is not a graphic designer, everyone in the world is not an artist. Uh, a large amount of people have good taste of what looks good and what doesn't mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so you have to cater your product to those people. And if you're putting stuff out that doesn't look good, then that also reflects whatever service you're trying to offer. If you can't present it in a way that is visually appealing, then those people are gonna say, well, why should I use this service? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because clearly they're not very good at every aspect of what they're doing. And not that you, I think people have this expectation that they do have to be good at all of the little pieces and you don't have to be good at all the little pieces, but it is important to find someone that is good at that part for you. 

Speaker 1 (10:19):

Right. So that you can still accomplish that goal. Because people are like, well, I'm a, I'm a neurosurgeon. Why does my design have to look good? I just gotta be able to operate on people's brains. That's true. I don't care if my neurosurgeon can design well, but it is important that my neurosurgeon knows what he's doing is an and is informed. And if I can't see that from his branding, then I'm not going to look much further to get to that end goal that you want. Right. Yeah. I mean, if you go to, you know, a website for a, a neurosurgeon mm-hmm. <affirmative> since that's the example we're giving, like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if their website looks awful and looks like a 12 year old made it mm-hmm. <affirmative> and it doesn't make sense and it's hard to navigate and there's no visuals anywhere. Right. Like, that seems kind of sketchy. 

Speaker 1 (11:03):

I mean everybody has done this. Like you go to a website to learn more about a company and you go, oh, nevermind. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So everybody knows this. Like, I feel like when you think about it, everybody goes, oh yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. But before they think about it, they're kind of like, ah, well why does that matter? Right. As long as I'm good at my job. Right. And if you think about the brands that you know, are the most popular that we identify with, that, you know, really stand out, most of them have good design. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there are no big corporate brands that we all look at that have made it this far in their companies and been the successful that have bad looking design, you know, it all is well done because that's an investment that's important for you to be able to take your product further farther. 

Speaker 1 (11:45):

Yeah. Yeah. So similarly to that, how do we make sure that things still look good now? Like for example, Coca-Cola or Pepsi mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like those companies were created like a hundred years ago or something like that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and their brand has stayed like mostly consistent mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but obviously it looks different now than it did then. And you know what looks good now in 2023, if we looked at something from 1980, we'd probably be like, uh, that's not so good anymore, even though it was awesome back then. Uhhuh, <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So how do we make sure that things are still good and how do we know when they're not anymore? Yeah. I think that is, that is a good question. And that is something that a lot of brands struggle with and something that's not really easy to answer all the time because for example, uh, like you said Coca-Cola, I think they're a very unique brand in that they've been able to make slight adjustments to their logo over time to make it fit the trends of today. 

Speaker 1 (12:40):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so their logo has changed a little bit. You can look up pictures of the old logo versus now, and they have the, the type set Coca-Cola scripty kind of font and like they've adjusted it as the years have gone on. Um, but it has stood the test of time because of that. And some of that comes from them being such a well-known brand mm-hmm. <affirmative> that you can kind of get away with it looking a little bit more old style because it's Coca-Cola. Right. Um, and so part of that is just brand awareness and people knowing who you are and you being that good of a brand that you can stick with it. But at the same time, I think when that initial logo is created, um, it's important to not play too much into trends when you're designing a logo mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because like you said, trends go outta style. 

Speaker 1 (13:25):

Right. Graphic design is a lot like fashion. You know, things come back, things go outta style. We got high wasted jeans. Some say the low-rise jeans are coming back. No, we rebuke that in the name of the Lord. Amen. But it's the same kind of thing, you know, fashion is ever evolving, so is design. And so it's important when you're designing a brand to begin with, to not be too trendy with what's popular right now, because then your logo will look good for maybe a year or two mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but then you'll be out of style. And I think, um, another thing is lo so there are a lot of brands that maybe do have outdated logos because when they were designed, they were very fitting for that time. I think it's important for brands to remember that they don't have to be afraid of adjusting their brand if they have come to the realization that it is outdated and the design is just very old and not working anymore. 

Speaker 1 (14:16):

Because there are adjustments you can make that will still stay true to your core values, but can also update your brand to make it last longer to be more meaningful, to have more legs. Right. Um, because there are a lot of people who probably are gonna say, well, my logo was made in the eighties and we didn't think about that then. And so now what do we do? It's okay if you feel like you need to change it a little bit now mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but I think it's important if you are a new company or if you are first making your brand to think about the longevity of it and think about, well what, what is going to stay true? And we never know exactly what trends are coming and going, but um, it is important just as a note to stay away from the very trendy styles and try and make it more generic. 

Speaker 1 (14:59):

Generic in the sense of like, it long lasting. Yeah. Like it's not too, too niche. Right. Too specific way to say. Yeah. So similarly, let's say that somebody has come in with a logo that they're like, my grandma drew this logo in the sixties and I'm super attached to it. How, how do we feel? How <laugh> like would you encourage people to stay away from things that they're like super attached to when it comes to design and logos? Is there value to that mm-hmm. <affirmative> as far as, you know, you love it, therefore you're gonna mm-hmm. <affirmative> sell it more mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Is there a balance between those kind of things? I think there is a balance. I think it, I think one thing that's unique about, you know, someone came in with something their grandma drew from 60 years ago. I think that is a personal element that a lot of brands don't have. 

Speaker 1 (15:51):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think there are a lot of logos out there today that are very generic. Um, and they might stand the test of time for a while, but they also might not have any meaning behind them. Right. And so I think there's a balance. If you have something that you know, sets your company your brand apart from the others and you wanna feature that in your logo, I think that adds a lot of value and that's also something that's going to make it have that longevity because that personal connection that you have to, it is not gonna go away. That story behind why it was made is not gonna go away. Um, I think there's a balance in that you may not want it to be styled exactly how, you know, grandmother drew it 60 years ago, <laugh>. But there are definitely elements that we could pull from some sort of visual that you have and put that into your logo. 

Speaker 1 (16:38):

Um, for example, I was talking to one of our ma media strategist, Becca the other day, and uh, sh her, she goes to Del Reta Baptist Church and um, she has been using, in our, in their social media, we've been using this, uh, quick little drawing that she made of the steeple of their church. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, just to kind of help consolidate their branding. We haven't been using it as a logo, but just as a feature in their social media. Um, and the other day she was at church and someone came up to her and showed her this like pamphlet from like years ago, just an old printed thing they had had. And apparently their old logo used to have that exact same steeple featured on it. And then at some point they changed a different logo, but they had used it so many years ago. 

Speaker 1 (17:21):

And so now, not even intentionally, but it's like we're being able to like kind of bring that element back into their branding, which is kind of cool. Yeah. That is really cool. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So similarly to that, what is the purpose or the reasoning behind being consistent in your design elements? Whether, I mean, not necessarily your logo, but you know, all obviously you know, all the things, you know, colors or the, the feel, the vibe, those kind of things. Whether we're talking about the website or graphics mm-hmm. <affirmative> or you know, blog posts mm-hmm. <affirmative>, all that kind of good stuff. Yeah. I think, um, for example, let's say for, we'll take our dogwood social media as an example. Let's say we're putting out all of these posts and they all look great, but they all look different. Like they don't have the same colors, they don't have the same fonts or whatever. 

Speaker 1 (18:12):

They might still accomplish some of our goal. It's still gonna get a message across. It might catch some people's eye and they'll say, oh that looks nice. Um, but there's not going to be any consistency there as people are viewing it multiple times. So, but by using elements like we have this topographic map that we use in our certain colors and our fonts that we use, then you're gonna people scrolling through and seeing those are going to start subconsciously associating those elements with our brand. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so they'll be scrolling through even, I mean, I'll do it, obviously I see our things more often than others, but like I see that green color or that map and it catches my eye. I'm like, oh, that's a Dogwood thing. Oh that's this thing. Uh, and we do that with all kinds of brands. Like, you see something and you know who it's associated with because they have done such a good job of incorporating it, um, into their brand. 

Speaker 1 (18:58):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so I think that is just important if you want people to remember your brand, I think you can still get messaging across without consistency, but you're not gonna accomplish nearly as much as you could if everything was consistent and everything is coming from the same source and has the same look and the same feel. Um, and then also as a whole, it just looks more professional. It looks more put together. It looks like you've put thought behind your branch rather than just throwing things out there that might still look good but don't look the same. Yeah. Yeah. I always think about the, uh, what was it two or three years ago when Doritos did that commercial? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> where like, they never said Doritos, they never put the logo up mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but they were like, you know what this is about? 

Speaker 1 (19:38):

Yeah. And like that was just such a cool example of like, you know who this is, even if they don't tell you who it is. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it wasn't even necessarily because of, you know, the, cuz like I said, they'd never put the logo, uh, up there, Uhhuh <affirmative>. It was just the vibe of what their, like you recognize the chip bag and you recognize just like their bravado mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative> about things. So I thought that was a very good example of why it's so important to like Uhhuh <affirmative>, make sure those things are consistent across the board. Definitely. Yeah. If you have your brand and you can get your brand to a point where you don't even have to put your name on things, but people still know who it is, then you've done your job. Right. Yeah, exactly. Well, thank you so much for explaining a little bit more about why design is so important. 

Speaker 1 (20:22):

Um, it was really fun having you on as a guest. Absolutely. Hopefully we'll have you on again sometime in the near future. Yeah. Um, next episode Brian will be interviewing our senior web developer John Fur and giving y'all the inside scoop on what it's like being a developer here at Dogwood. If you like what you're hearing, you can head on over to dogwood media and check out our other blogs. We have four years worth of blogs there for you to check out and learn all kinds of things, whether it's about graphic design or social media or email marketing, whatever it is, we probably have content about it. If you wanna connect with us on social media, you can also find us, um, all of our links on our website. That's an easy way to find us. And then last but not least, if you haven't subscribed and reviewed our podcast yet, please do so. That helps us a lot with getting this information out to the people that need to hear it. So thanks for tuning in to the Dogwood Media Solutions podcast and until next time, happy marketing.