Will “heart” beat stronger in your content marketing plans for 2021? It’s a question that surfaced in a global webinar about brand expectations in which Imprint took part in last summer and a resounding 96% of attendees said yes. “Heart,” which is simply another way to talk about empathy and emotional engagement, has been a point of focus at Imprint in recent months. Weaving heart into messaging bolsters company goals—and that, of course, includes content design. As we approach the end of American Heart Month, Imprint’s design team discusses how highly visual content can stir emotions and make for deeper, more meaningful communications.
Keep it real and relatable
Ashley Brenner, Creative Director
Images are powerful, and they push buttons just like words. While part of the process is making sure that a photo or image is appealing, we also consider clients’ strategies and their audience, and messages being delivered. Stirring emotions with visuals doesn’t have to mean that it’s gut-wrenching or one big, emotive image. A photo of two people having coffee can bring a warm sense of optimism, uplift and connect because it’s real and relatable. During the pandemic we’ve been doing a lot of work with small businesses and striving for images that convey such confidence, as well as a sense of being forward-looking.
Tap the power of inclusivity
Craig Gartner, Art Director
One of our big focuses has been diversity and the emotional spark that ignites when people see themselves. For content about families and financial planning, for instance, look for photos that depict not only racial and ethnic diversity but a diversity of environments, homes and family compositions. Present images that feel candid, not canned or corny, and lend an element of surprise also fosters emotion. One way to add an unexpected touch is to apply a “tilt” effect in your photo editing or native layout app. By slightly tilting the image, you can make it register in a fresh way. Think of it like this: You’re on a flat road for miles and suddenly you make a banked turn—there’s something invigorating about that. It’s true for content, too.
Throw in an occasional curve
Pierce Kinnally, Visual Designer
Being engaged with reality and connecting with people on an emotional level go hand-in-hand. An article about family security, for instance, might include imagery of a child seeing a grandparent through a screen or two people exchanging an elbow bump. Color can create an emotional connection, and so can shapes. Circles are friendly. They can be incorporated in a layout or a visual element that adds subtle warmth, such as with a curvy pie chart instead of an angular bar graph.