This book is an idea starter. Expect this book to stimulate your senses. Inspire you. Spark ideas. The 99 hand-picked examples in Visual Marketing are from organizations just like yours that have successfully used visual elements in their marketing—with solid results.

Why “Visual” Marketing?

The world is visual. We use our eyes to take in much of the content that influences our behavior, tempers our reactions, and informs our decisions. Whether it’s on the Web, in a brochure, or live in person, the most effective solutions are ones that unexpectedly grab our attention.

Thousands of books about marketing have been written, including many good ones. Few, however, focus specifically on that intersection point between design (the visual) and marketing
(influencing buying behavior), or do so on a scale that small businesses will find relevant. Yet there’s never been a better time in history for small businesses to explore using electronic, print, and three-dimensional visuals. Technology puts it within the reach of small businesses to use visuals in our marketing—visuals that previously only the largest corporations could cost-effectively design and implement. The Internet makes it convenient to find and hire design professionals
to collaborate with to achieve your marketing goals. And for the
do-it-yourselfers, today’s online software services and design tools
make it easy to experiment with creating visual elements on your own.

What’s Inside

Visual Marketing is a compendium of marketing tips and ideas. We looked at more than 500 examples and selected them for practicality, creativity, inspiration, and variety. For us, the key was finding projects that not only looked good but had a good return on investment for the business.

We sought out projects from all across the United States and internationally. You will find sophisticated projects that reveal the hand of talented designers, using visual intelligence in unexpected ways. You will also find simple smart projects requiring minimal resources that solo entrepreneurs executed. The examples range from technology-oriented solutions such as the QR code–enabled three-dimensional displays and posters for the Warhol Factory Party in Alaska to a can of “nothing” produced in Rhode Island to combat hunger. Some solutions are clever and complex, such as the cardboard record player that GGRP created to build buzz for its recording business. Others are as uncomplicated as a head shot taken with a handful of colorful Sharpie markers, like that of Michelle Villalobos when she redefined her personal brand.

We’ve divided the book into three chapters. The first focuses on Web and electronic solutions. The second features packaging, exhibits, and tangible three-dimensional marketing devices in the physical world. The third encompasses print solutions and logos/branding pieces. Each example ends in a Takeaway Tip distilling the examples into ideas and lessons for small-business people to put to work.

Visual Marketing is a compendium of winning ideas intended to inspire small-business leaders, creative professionals, entrepreneurs, and students. We hope it inspires you to think up your own ideas for incorporating visuals into your marketing.


Chapter 1

1. The Color of Money: A Small Bank Makes a Large Impression with a Colorful Campaign

Design: Leslie Evans Design Associates; photography/video: David McLain, Aurora Novus.

2. A Website Showcases a Sense of Touch: Strong Navigation and Ease of Use for an Online Showroom

Design: Ken Carbone, principal/chief creative director, Ken Carbone; programming: Nina Masuda, designer, Carbone Smolan Agency; programmer: Atom Group.

3. Augmenting the Reality of Mobile Advertising: Sharing Brand Information Visually over Mobile Devices Through Apps

Design: GoldRun.

4. Celebrating Creativity with a Killer Smile: Creating a Viral Marketing Effect with an Online Game

Design: Norman Cherubino, creative director; Jim Keller, art director; and Roland Dubois, designer, Langton Cherubino Group, Ltd.

5. Putting the “Self” in Self-Portrait: Finding the Right Photo to Express a Personal Brand

Photography: Gio Alma.

6. Luxury Property Shown in Many Different Lights: Focusing on Stunning Imagery to Sell Luxury

Design: Doug Lloyd, creative director, Petter Ringbom, art director, designer: Dan Arbello, Flat Inc.; Identity by Pentagram. 

7. How Many Ways Can You Destroy Your Printer? Going Viral with a YouTube Video Contest That Plays upon Customer Frustrations

Photography: Nathan Dube.

8. Making a Legal Case for Insider Jokes: Using Cartoons to Market to Your Target Audience

Cartoons for CaseCentral: Tom Fishburne, .

9. Changing the Script on Scriptwriting: Organizing a Virtual Community Around an Event to Maximize Participation

Design: Todd Blank Design; Plot Machine graphic: Jesse Reklaw.

10. When Is a Cup of Tea More Than Just Another Cup? Stunning Photography on a Website Differentiates a Product

Design: Chris Fernandez, 5to8 design.

11. Just the Facts, Ma’am: Creating an Interactive Online Quiz Attracts a Target Audience with a Deeper Level of Engagement

Design: Norman Cherubino, creative director, and Roland Dubois, designer, Langton Cherubino Group.

12. Getting a Leg Up on the Competition: Gaining Media Visibility for an Arcane Industry Online, Through Puns and Fun on Your Website

Photography: Judi Townsend.

13. Building an Appealing Design: Presenting Your Process in Your Website Showcases a Competitive Advantage for an Architectural Firm

Design: Randall Smith, creative director, and Bryan Wilson, designer, modern8.

14. A Visual Marketing Firm Uses Optical Illusions to See Things Differently: Showing Prospects What You Are Capable of in Multimedia

Design: Norman Cherubino, creative director; Jim Keller, art director; and Roland Dubois, designer, Langton Cherubino Group.

15. Breaking Through the Gray Noise: Using a Flash-Based Presentation to Generate Leads While Also Serving as a Leave-Behind Piece

Design and photography: Christie Grotheim, The Art Department.

16. Delivering a Unique Marketing Campaign: Combining Staged Marketing Events with Video and Social Media

Photography: Interference Incorporated.

17. Finding Your Identity: Standing Out from the Crowd with a Website That Lets Your Personality Show Through

Photography: Michael Persico.

18. A Renaissance for Today: Creating a Forward-Looking Logo That Reflects the Past

Design: David Langton, creative director; Jim Keller, art director; and Janet Giampietro, designer, Langton Cherubino Group.

19. Good Service Is Earned: Making a Brand Statement and Creating Viral Content Through Infographics

Design and illustration: Column Five Media.

20. Design to Put Your Best Foot Forward: Using Sharp, Detailed Close-Up Photography to Demonstrate Business Capabilities on the Web

Design: Fritz Klaetke, design director/designer, and Jesse Hart, designer and developer, Visual Dialogue; photographer: Kent Dayton.

21. Spicing Up the Ornament Market: Using Bright and Unique Online Ads to Build a Brand

Design: Darlene Tenes.

22. A Reflection of Style: Incorporating Your Business Style into Your Logo

Design: Fritz Klaetke and Jesse Hart, designers, Visual Dialogue; photography: Kent Dayton.

23. The Right Way to Start a Charity Today: Using Facebook and Blogs to Build a Community Around a Good Cause

Design: Jim Keller, designer and illustrator, Langton Cherubino Group.

24. Education Can Be Creative: Formatting the Standard “10 Tips” Article to Convey Professionalism and Authority

Creative directors: Todd Turner and Chad Hutchison; copywriters: Todd Turner and Chad Hutchison; designer: Drew Bolen.

25. Dressing Down for Success: Appealing to Consumers with a Personal Video Demystifies a Confusing Subject and Builds Trust

Design, photography, and video: Keif Oss, ; copywriting: Deborah Becker.

26. A Legal Holiday: Using Electronic Greeting Cards to Position a Law Firm as Friendly

Design: Wilfredo Cruz, art director, Kristen Hydeck, design; Kirsten Faulder, writer; Lindsay Amat, animator; Aaron Hausman and Yelena Danilova, producers, Wechsler Ross; Mike Shapiro, illustrator, CartoonStock. 

27. A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words: Creating a Visual Interpretation of What You Do in an Industry Known for Facts and Figures

Design: Fritz Klaetke, design director/design, and Jesse Hart, designer, Visual Dialogue.

28. Walking the Talk: Making a Website That Reflects the Principles Fundamental to Your Business

Design and development: Citizen Studio; writing: Rhonda Geraci.

29. Traversing from Print to Mobile: Creating a Mobile App Version of Print for Customers with a Foot in the Mobile World

Graphic design: Brandy Wheeler; app development: Ross Rojek and Heidi Komlofske, 1776 Productions and Go Local Apps.

30. Promoting Logos with a Guess-That-Logo Contest: Tying in a Contest with E-Mail Marketing to Increase Client Engagement

Design: Norman Cherubino, creative director, and Jim Keller, art director, Langton Cherubino Group.

31. Marketing to Parents: Tailoring a Website’s Look to Reinforce Your Target Niche

Design: MediaKatalyst; photography: Hope & Memory Photography, Corbis Images; illustration: Dane Storrusten.

32. Leading by Example: Using Stock Images in a Downloadable Tips Sheet to Demonstrate That Marketing Can Be Easy and Inexpensive

Design and photography: ActuallyWeDo Design.

33. Blogger Outreach in the Cloud: Using a Visually Inspired Word Cloud to Start a Conversation with a Blogger

Word cloud designs: David de Souza, using .

34. An Illustrator Draws Up Timely Reminders for Prospects: Using Remarkable E-Mail Marketing to Keep Your Pipeline Full

Design and illustration: Robert Pizzo.

35. Bringing the Topic of Skin Care to a Head: Messaging to Teens with a Clean Peppy Web Design

Design: David Lai and Hiro Niwa, creative directors; Eunice Oh, lead designer; Makoto Chino and Hugo Zhu, technical leads; Brian Johnson, front end developer; Szu Ann Chen, executive producer; and Abbey Park Yun, project lead, Hello Design.

36. It’s Not All Business All the Time: Adding a Personalized Blog Header Brings Human Interest to a Business Website

Design: Rodrigo Garcia, Palo Alto Software.

Chapter 2

37. A Packaging Design That Really Helps the Consumer: Avoiding Lingo and Using Customers’ Own Words to Stand Out

Design: Little Fury; industrial design: Chapps Malina; photography: Jason Wyche.

38. A Local Brewery Makes the Case for Better Beer Branding: Using Images from Your Business and Local Area to Brand Your Product

Design: Viviana Flórez, designer, and Lucho Correa and Oliver Siegenthaler, creative directors, Lip, Ltda; photography: Lucho Mariño. 

39. A New Spin on Making a Hit Record: Bringing Direct Mail Campaigns to the Next Level with a Mailer That Invites Recipients to Get “Hands-On”

Design: Geoff Dawson, creative director; Andrew McKinley, art director, Grey Vancouver.

40. Making the Most of Your 15 Minutes of Fame: Using Posters and On-Site Displays Together with QR Codes and Social Media to Reach 24- to 45-Year-Olds

Design: Nerland Agency, Worldwide Partners; photography: Chris Arend.

41. Handing Your Brand Over to Your Customers: Getting Customers Deeply Engaged with Your Brand to Create Fanatical Loyalty

Design: Russ McIntosh, designer; and Cheryl McIntosh, brand and product manager, Russ & Cheryl McIntosh, photography, Studio Absolute.

42. Free Stuff for Dogs and the People Who Dig Them: Using Beautifully Designed Packaging for Free Product Samples “Sells” a Premium Product

Design: Norman Cherubino, creative director, and Jim Keller, art director and illustrator, Langton Cherubino Group; photography: lani—dig your dog®.

43. High-Tech Digital Communications from a 1970s Chevy Van: Marketing by Creating an “Experience” That Includes a Digital Billboard, Social Media, and an On-Site Presence

Design: Daniel Herndon, owner, Redwall Live; photography: Blake Dieringer.

44. Designing Wine on the Inside . . . and Outside: Stimulating the Senses with High-End Packaging for a High-End Product

Design: Katie Jain and Joel Templin, art directors; Eszter T. Clark and Ryan Meis, designers; illustrator: Paul Hoffman, Hatch Design.

45. A Campaign That Really Knocks Your Socks Off: Appealing to Customers’ Comfort Evokes Emotion and Differentiates a Commodity Business

Design: Phillips Design Group; photography: John Earle.

46. New Beverage Design Creates Buzz: Simplicity in Packaging Emphasizes Purity in Ingredients for the Health-Conscious Market

Design: Mark Christou, designer, Pearlfisher.

47. Sustaining Good Design: Creating an Intentionally Retro Look Emphasizes Underlying Values

Design: David Albertson, creative director, and Jay Roop and Kirk vonRohr, designers, Albertson Design.

48. Hand-Drawn Promo Excites Young Brits Who Love to Draw: Giving Away a High-Quality Gift Increases Sales by Luring People into the Store

Design: Angus Hyland, designer, and hand-drawn typography: Marion Deuchars, Pentagram UK; photography: Nick Turner.

49. Sweet! Creating an Interactive Puzzle to Increase Booth Traffic at a Conference

Design: Sarah Sawaya, Sassafras Design Services; marketing: Ivana Taylor, .

50. Jump-Starting a New Package Design: Creating Quality Packaging Can Lead to Getting Carried by More Retailers

Logo and package design: Fritz Klaetke, design director/designer, and Jenny Alden, designer; copywriting: Laura Walsh; illustration: James Kraus, Visual Dialogue; photography: Kent Dayton.

51. Rewarding Good Taste: Growing Your Customer Base Through a Clever Twenty-First Century Loyalty Program

Design: Tori Justino, Chris Rubin, and Ross Wordhouse; creative direction: Every Idea Marketing.

52. A New Product Popping Up: Differentiating a Product in a Crowded Field Through Unique, Uncluttered Packaging

Design: Family (and friends) Ltd.

53. Too Big to Ignore and Too Personal to Discard: Using “Lumpy Mail” to Get Your Foot in the Door of the C Suite

Cartoon: Stu Heinecke, CartoonLink, Inc.

54. Showcasing Talented Women: Creating a Calendar with Distinctive Photography for Yearlong Marketing

Photography: Teri Moy.

55. Get Your Clients Talking about You: Custom Designing Promotional Giveaways Makes a Big Splash

Photography: Leah Remillet Photography.

56. Breaking the Cutesy Barrier: Creating an Urban Chic Niche in an Existing Market with Displays and Packaging

Design: Christie Grotheim, The Art Department.

57. Waking Up Your Brand with a Little Pillow Talk: Creating a Follow-Up Campaign That Makes Prospects Laugh . . . and Buy

Design: Greg Daake, creative director; Sam Vetter, art director; and Steven Valish, designer, DAAKE.

58. Food Trucks, Today’s Eatery Trend: Creating Cravings by Using Typography on a Truck Wrap

Design and photography: Landers Miller Design.

59. Get Me a Doctor, STAT: Using a Witty or Humorous T-Shirt to Interject Fun into How People Perceive Your Business

Design: ohTwentyone.

60. Thinking Outside the Box: Using College Lingo on an Unconventional Item to Attract Cult Status and Build Business on a College Campus

Design: Drew Hammond, art director, and Greg Ballard and Drew Hammond, copywriters, Hirons & Company.

61. An A Cappella Visual Promotion for Musicians: Attracting Your Target Market with a Banner Containing Images and No Words

Design: Bodnar Design; copywriting: Keith Oppenheim; photography: blade sign: Monika Caban.

62. Getting a Bright Start in Branding: Using Three-Dimensional Displays Integrated with a Sales Presentation

Design: Adam Bain, art director; Anthony Stephanopoulos, graphic designer; and illustrators: Charlie Mitchell, Brad Reese, and Brittany Elson.

63. Lunch Bags That Educate, Entertain, and Inspire: Maintaining a Strong Emotional Connection with Your Target Market Even as Your Brand Grows and Evolves

Designer: Kenny Kiernan.

64. Making Friends Globally: Using Free Samples to Promote a Book and a Socially Responsible Business

Pouch Design: Global Girlfriend; book cover: St. Martin’s Press; photography: Anita Campbell.

65. Much Ado about Nothing: A Campaign with Clever Props and Giveaways Transforms a Hard-to-Appreciate Concept into Something Real and Tangible

Design: NAIL Communications; photography: Myles Dumas.

Chapter 3

66. Who Is Keith Beith? Capitalizing on a Unique Name and Interjecting Friendliness to Differentiate a Business

Design: Billy Joe Pyle, creative director and cofounder; Eric Schoenfeld, CEO and cofounder; and Al Navarro, chief creative officer and cofounder, Mint Advertising; Photography: Mint Advertising. 

67. Face-to-Face Illustrations: Establishing an Identity That Allows Your Team Members to Express Themselves

Illustrations: David Brinley, Andy Ward, Anthony Freda, J. D. King, Bernard Maisner, Noah Woods, Brian Ajhar, Dan Page, Jon Reinfurt, James Kaczman, Michael Witte, and Nigel Buchanan, artists, Gerald & Cullen Rapp.

68. Business Cards Get Social: Creating Business Cards That Mimic Social Media Icons Opens New Market

Photography: Jakprints.

69. Changing Perceptions One School at a Time: Using a Marketing Pamphlet to Update an Organization’s Image

Design: Mary Kysar; copy: Kristan Kennedy; illustration: Rob Halverson.

70. Meeting Artists in Their Natural Habitat: Creating a Series of Posters Conveys the Range and Variety of a Large Event

Design/art direction: Joanne Kaliontzis; copy: Joanne Kaliontzis and Rocco Guiliano; project management: Gabrielle Schaffner; photography: Joanne Kaliontzis and Martin Berinstein; illustrations: Laura Davidson and Jacob Higginbottom; artwork: Tim Murdock, Julia Groos, and Jim Shea.

71. The Omaha Cow and Snowboarding: Using an Iconic Symbol Updated with Current Culture to Create an Au Courant Logo

Design: Drew Davies, Joe Sparano, and Adam Torpin; designers, Oxide Design.

72. Translating a Global Brand into Local Currency: Making an Existing Brand Design Resonate in a Different Country 

Design: David Albertson, creative director; Mimi Dutta, art director; and Sagarika Sundaram, illustrator/translator, Albertson Design.

73. Getting to the Point in Acupuncture: Combining Professional Design with Do-It-Yourself Execution Keeps Expenses in Line

Design: Bex Brands; Photography: Jeremy Dahl.

74. An Image Consultant Makes a Great First Impression: Differentiating a Personal Brand by Conveying Your Personality

Creative direction/graphic design: Katrina Hase, Mix Creative; copywriting: Diane Autey, Projects Done Write; photography: Rod Wilson, Andrews Photography.

75. A Recipe for Success in Publishing: Using Beautiful, Evocative Images Reinforces the Essence of a Publication

Design: Carns Concepts, Chad Carns, creative director; photography: Sasha Gitin.

76. The Art of Making House Calls: Using Simple Logo Imagery Marries Traditional Values with a Modern Business

Design: YYES; photography: David Harrison.

77. An Unorthodox Community Campaign Promotes Kindness: Using a Powerful Name to Drive Action

Design: Greteman Group.

78. A Communications Firm Stands Out: Using Unconventional Visuals Instead of Cookie-Cutter B2B Design Gets Attention

Design and illustrations: John Pirman.

79. Is Your Name Defining You . . . Negatively? Renaming a Business Leads to More Sales

Design: Fritz Klaetke and Rick Rawlins, designers, Visual Dialogue with Rick Rawlins Work; developer: Ian Varrassi.

80. A Condo Development Has Historical Charm: Incorporating Heritage into Marketing Visuals to Emphasize an Offering’s Key Selling Points

Photography: Dawn Hancock; design: Aaron Shimer, Dawn Hancock, and Antonio Garcia, designers, Firebelly Design.

81. HR with a Personal Touch: Using a Descriptive Name and a Caricature for a Consulting Business Sets You Apart

Design and illustration: PowerBand Graphics.

82. All That Jazz, Funk, Blues, Pop, and Hip-Hop: Making Modifications in Your Imagery Can Appeal to a Younger Audience

Design: Will Miller and Darren McPherson, designers, Firebelly Design.

83. Communicate Issues Boldly: Using Bold Graphics to Drive Home the Importance of Messages

Design and illustrations: Soapbox Design Communications, Inc.

84. Eat or Be Eaten: Appealing to Local Tastes and Cultural Understanding in a Local Marketing Campaign

Design: Trace Newman Hayes, art director; and Brittany La Barre, designer, Skuba Design Studio.

85. Clothing for the Cosmopolitan Outdoorsy Type: Expressing the Importance of Form and Function for a Brand in Print

Design: Ken Carbone, creative director/partner, and Nina Masuda and David Goldstein, designers, Carbone Smolan Agency; photography: Ian Allen.

86. Capturing the Legacy: Creating a Commemorative Book with High-Quality Graphics Conveys an Organization’s Values

Design: EM2 Design, Inc.; copy: Peter Winter and Betsy Carpenter; photography: Atlanta International School.

87. All for One and One for All: Repurposing Marketing Collateral on a Very Low Budget

Design: Jett Butler, creative director and typographer, FÖDA Studio. 

88. Evoking Mood Through Design: Using Custom Invitations to Make Your Business Entertainment Last Beyond the Event

Design: Jill Lynn Design.

89. High-End Rewards: Offering Upscale Coupons Grows Loyalty, Prevents Cancellations, and Sells Add-Ons

Design: Brian Conway, creative director, Conway Design; photography: David Carmack.

90. It’s a Family Affair: Making Your Business Story Come to Life with a Beautifully Designed Print Piece

Design: Nicola Black Design, L.L.C.; recipes © Carlo A. Sena / Ristorante Panorama; photography: Dominic Episcopo. 

91. An Industrial Business Bucks the Trend: Expressing Quality Through Color and Design Becomes a Competitive Advantage

Design: Michael Van Egeren, writer/creative director; Roberto Ty, art director; and Kathryn Clevenger, producer, BANG! Creative.

92. Sharpen Your Sights: Using Clever Advertising That Makes Viewers Stop and Think about Their Needs

Photography: Adventure Advertising.

93. A Program for All Seasons: Creating an Overarching Marketing Theme for the Entire Year

Design: Angela K. Mitchell, creative director/designer, Lightdaughter; photography: Joel Silverman.

94. The Express Lane for Sales: A Visual Pitch Book Captures the Sales Process and Trains an Ever-Growing Sales Team

Design: Adam Mietlowski, designer, Adcorp Media Group.

95. Three-Dimensional Business Cards: Expressing Your Creativity on Your Business Card

Design and photography: Egil Paulsen.

96. What’s a Symchych? Accentuating a Hard-to-Pronounce Name Can Be a Winner

Design: Dan Saal, designer and headline writer, and Ann Donald, copywriter, StudioSaal Corporation.

97. Technology Can Be Sexy: Poking Fun at Your Industry’s Stereotypes Makes It Easier for Customers to Relate

Design: Group 7even.

98. Making Saving Look Good: Delivering Vouchers and Coupons That People Want to Save

Design and photography: ActuallyWeDo Design.

99. Good Design Flows from Product to Marketing: Creating Postcards That Are “Saveable” to Keep the Sales Pipeline Full

Design: Tabula Creative; photography: Jason Varney.