Get a new perspective on your 2012 design and visual marketing by reviewing 2011′s top stories & trends.
The top stories and trends from 2011 are likely to become even more important to your marketing success during 2012.
Design starts earlier
In the past, design was primarily an “enhancement” tool added to previously-created messages. The goal has always been to help your messages stand out from the competition while making them easier to understand and easier to remember.
During 2011, however, design and visual thinking emerged as essential strategic thinking tools helping marketers organize and share ideas still in the incubation stage.
Increasingly, more and more design and visual thinking now takes place before messages are created.
Design’s changing role during 2011
Here are the 2011′s most significant design stories, and where you can go to learn more.
- Visual Marketing: 99 Proven Ways for Small Businesses to Market with Images and Design. David Langton and Anita Campbell’s Visual Marketing is a significant book both because of what it teaches as well as how it teaches. It’s not a software-oriented “design tutorial,” but rather a case study of businesses we can all identify with. Each case study is a “real world” example described and illustrated on a single spread, or pair of left-hand and right-hand facing pages. Visual Marketing is an affordable and inspirational book that shows how businesses of all sizes can profit from professional design assistance. Read more
- Dan Roam’s Blah, Blah, Blah: What to Do When Words Won’t Work. As a charter member of the “Can’t Draw a Straight Line If I Had To Society,” I rejoiced in 2008 when Dan’s first book, The Back of the Napkin appeared. It was the first book that legitimized simple, amateur-created drawings that simplified complex problems. Dan’s latest book, Blah, Blah, Blah, which appeared last year, takes his ideas to a new level of simplicity and utility. Read more
- Sunni Brown’s Doodle Revolution. During 2011, Sunni Brown, one of the co-authors of the best-selling Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rule-Breakers, and Change-Makers, introduced her Doodle Revolution ideas and book at leading conferences around the world. Her approach and community builds on Dan Roam’s approach by using sketches as both a learning tool and a presentation tool at conferences and meetings. Read about our interview
- MindManager mind mapping on the go. During 2011, Mindjet, the developer of the leading mind mapping software program for Windows and Apple laptops and desktop computers, brought mind mapping to mobile applications. Now, you can create maps like the one at the top of this post, from anywhere and share them with others. Now, I rarely write a blog post or article without first creating a mind map like the one at the top of this post.
- Guy Kawasaki and Infographics. During 2011, more and more authors used infographics as book marketing tools, like Guy Kawasaki did with Enchantment and David Meerman Scott did with Newsjacking. Guy Kawasaki further popularized infographics by posting thousands of Tweets about infographics and Alltop links to blogs that featuring infographics.
- Personalized magazines and content curation. Personalized magazines, like Flipboard and Zite, contain customized content that reflects each subscriber’s unique interests. Personalized magazines became increasingly popular during 2010. Design plays a major role in the success of personalized magazines by reformatting content from multiple sources into attractive, easy-to-read articles. During 2012, the 2011 popularity of online, mobile-oriented publications like Flipboard and Zite will encourage authors and publishers to curate their own, similar publications using technology like Paper.li.
- Minimalism. As blogs and websites become increasingly cluttered, design, order, and simplicity are emerging as competitive tools. Perhaps the least-noted 2011 design story concerns the growing popularity of minimalistic blogs like Tina Roth-Eisenberg’s Swiss Miss and her more than 270,000 Twitter followers. The minimalism trend is also reflected in the growing popularity of WordPress blog frameworks like Elegant themes and others.
Tips based on the above stories and trends
Here are some suggestions for putting the above ideas to work strengthening your marketing:
- Visual Marketing. Make a list of interesting ideas you note in when reading the book and the Visual Marketing blog. Next to each idea, jot down some of the ways you can apply each idea to your business.
- Blah, Blah, Blah. Purchase some 3×5 index cards, and practice reducing complex ideas to simple drawings; let the ideas speak for themselves and overcome your desire to create more polished drawings.
- Doodle Revolution. The next time you attend a meeting, conference, or webinar, restrain the impulse to play “court reporter”and copy ideas word-for-word. Instead, sketch out the main ideas and their relations to each other.
- MindManager mobile apps. Download the free versions of MindManager and create simple maps listing just the main ideas of upcoming articles or blog postson your iPad or iPhone. Upload the maps to your laptop or desktop computer for completion.
- Infographics. Follow @GuyKawasaki on Twitter and study the examples he recommends every day.
- Personalized magazines. Sign up for sample subscriptions and try creating your own curated magazine for clients, prospects, and readers.
- Minimalism. Take a fresh look at your website or blog, looking for text and graphic elements that you could remove in order to focus more attention on your main ideas.
Approach these activities from an open and learning point of view, rather than a high school “assignment.” Feel free to improvise your own ways to profit from last year’s design and visual marketing stories and trends.
Share your favorite, and least-favorite, 2011 design stories & trends
Which of the above 2011 design and visual thinking stories and trends did you find most interesting or least interesting? More important, Did I overlook any important stories or trends I should have included? Share your favorite comments, links, and observations about the changing role of design and visual thinking in 2011 and their implications for 2012 as comments, below. And, please let me know which ideas you’d like to know more about!