Designing for Digital Marketing

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You’ve developed an amazing campaign. It’s going to look great in print, wow people on billboards and banners, and captivate audiences in video. It’s a big idea that’s really going to pay off. But sometimes you need to step back and think small to get big results from that big idea when designing for digital marketing.

Digital marketing can be a key component of your campaign tactics, but there is no denying that the benefits of being targeted, quick to adapt, and measurable, come with a tradeoff of less real-estate to tell your story. Here are a few guidelines that can help you think through how to make that big idea fit, but still stand and deliver when it comes to digital marketing.


Knowing there is a limited amount of space to work with, you should keep it simple and stick to the basics of the visual language of your brand and campaign. The basic elements to include would be:

  1. Logo or Name
  2. Headline or your unique value proposition
  3. Image
  4. Clear and compelling call-to-action (CTA)

Visual Impact

So, not only are you working with a limited amount of space, but you’re also potentially competing with a lot of other content on the page. Simply adding a border to your ad can help it not be confused with the pages content, but you’ll also want to make it stand out with simple, impactful imagery that clearly illustrates the purpose or your campaign. Simple and direct is key here. There’s just not enough space to paint a detailed picture. Let that be the job of the ad’s destination. There you have plenty of space to unfold the story.

Working with contrast among your key structural elements is a great way to create that visual impact. From your image or background to headline copy, and call-to-action, everything should be clear and discernable.

One of the joys of digital advertising is that you can also develop tailored content for your targeted ads. So, you don’t need to tell everything to everyone in a single ad. You can develop ads within your campaign that are specific and intentional toward a targeted group. Knowing you can do this can help you hone your ads and keep them simple and effective.


Hmm. Have I said SIMPLE enough? I think it’s an important concept to drive home. Often, I’m presented with ads that are so filled with complicated images and so much text that it’s completely illegible because of the size of the ad. This is further compounded by improper design choices like lack of contrast or fonts that don’t translate well to a digital space. I’m not clicking on that!

Developing your visuals and your copy in tandem, with the idea of simplicity in mind, is a best practice approach. That way your visuals and copy are both concise and harmonious.

Clear Directive

Having a great looking ad just isn’t enough. People should know to click or tap on things. But why leave that to chance? Tell your audience, without any ambiguity, what they should do next using simple (there’s that word again) action-oriented language. APPLY NOW! LEARN MORE! GET STARTED!

There are no hard and fast rules when designing for digital marketing, but there are basic best practices that can help ensure your ad does the best it can. When developing digital strategies at Chartwell, we consider all the viable channels of communication, how they best fit your objectives, and how to develop compelling campaigns that get results. Need marketing that will fit anywhere? Let’s Talk!