I think one of the greatest lessons I have learned as a creative is that what I do for a living is more than making things look good. It goes way beyond the subjective realm of aesthetics. It’s all very well to make something visually attractive but if it’s all glitz and no substance, you have only done half the job. I may have got your attention with something shiny, but did I end up actually saying anything and creating a reaction?
When the objective is only about making things look “cool,” it can often result in a disconnect between the visuals and the words. Not really understanding yet, that to be truly effective you need to have your content and visual working as a team. It wasn’t until I started to sort out all the sides of the equation that my job actually became easier and more focused. Part of it was understanding the difference between graphic design and visual communications. The other part was learning how important the relationship is between visuals and content.
Let’s start with the bigger picture of visual communications. This is the thought and strategy behind a creative execution. What are we saying and what’s the best way to say it to the audience amongst all of the visual tools we have? You need to understand the challenge of the project and the impact and reach that the different mediums have in creating a solution. Whether its video, animation, photography, illustration, tv, radio, web, etc.
Graphic design is more specialized. It focuses on the creation of the graphic elements that make up a piece or pieces of visual communication. This includes things like the retouching of a photo; the navigation elements of your website; the choice of typefaces used on you ad.
The final piece of the equation, was learning that content is key. Notice I didn’t say “King”? That’s because to say, “content is king”, is really unbalancing the symbiotic relationship that the visual and written message should have. They should support each other and reinforce the goal of the communication.
Once you understand all of the pieces and are able to put them together, you are able to deliver effective communications for your clients. That’s what we do at Chartwell Agency. We develop strong messaging strategies based on researched insight, to deliver relevant, results driven communications with the appropriate tactics to your audience.
-Jason Edlén, Art Director