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The Role Of A Graphic Designer at an Inbound Marketing Agency

By Rini Malo

What it means to be a Graphic Designer at an inbound marketing agency

According to Hubspot, the leader in Inbound Marketing, inbound marketing is “…a method of attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow a business that provides value and builds trust.” So in other words, inbound marketing is a way of pulling in customers to either a product or service that you are offering through various forms of marketing.

An inbound marketing agency is hired to assist with various inbound efforts, which include, but aren’t limited to branding, content creation, search engine optimization, and social media marketing.

Now you might be asking yourself, what exactly is a graphic designer’s role in all of that inbound marketing stuff?

My name is Rini Malo, and I am a graphic designer at Pinckney Marketing, one of the top inbound marketing agencies in Charlotte, NC. I’d like to give you insight into my role as a designer at Pinckney. 

What do Inbound Marketing Graphic Designers do?

“What does a graphic designer do?” “What is graphic design?” “Don’t graphic designers just make things look good?”

Not exactly. Graphic design is visually communicating and solving problems through the use of type, photography, illustration, or all of the above. A graphic designer helps to visually engage a consumer in such a way that helps to grow a business

So yes, a graphic designer does “make things look good,” but the role of a graphic designer at an Inbound Marketing Agency is more so about finding information and having a reason behind why every decision is made.

1. Staying on top of industry design trends

At Pinckney Marketing we work with a plethora of different clients from multiple different industries.

I’d say that one of the biggest parts of my role as a designer at an inbound marketing agency is staying up-to-date on trends within our client’s industries. We as designers do our best to get ahead of the curve when it comes to trends so we can help our clients stand out.

There are trends in the graphic design industry that you’ll want to follow and convey to your account team and client because they’re not going to have the insight that you have as a designer.

Designers also have to look for trends within the multiple fields that our clients are within and see how we can merge the trends from both design and that field to create something that will help convert consumers for our clients.

Designer’s role is to stay ahead of the curve because if all designers are designing the same as everyone else, our client’s advertisements are going to get lost in the shuffle and blend in with everything out there. Now, this isn’t me saying that we all try to just be different from everyone else and that is going to lead to instant success for our clients. That would be a lie because yes being different does make you stand out from the bunch, but being different isn’t always a good thing, being better is always the right thing.

A designer’s job is to be better than other designers, by using techniques and research to stand out from the vast majority of similar designs in that field.

This is especially important when it comes to designing for social media. Sizes, best practices, and ad types are always changing on the big social platforms. It’s a designer’s job to stay on top of this.

2. Bridging the gap

Keeping up with current trends isn’t the only role of a graphic designer at an inbound marketing agency; another role a graphic designer takes on while working at an inbound marketing agency is bridging the gap between vision from client/account team to actual design/concept.

What exactly does bridging the gap mean? Well when a client wants to run an ad, they usually have a vision of what they want this ad to look like (and sometimes they don’t). The role of the designer is to take what the client comes up with (or doesn’t come up with) and design something with our knowledge of inbound that will help portray their message most effectively.

The role of a graphic designer at an inbound agency is to convey to the client and account team that there is a reason why something they want to do won’t work and/or isn’t the best possible way of doing it.

Most times, a graphic designer does a lot of research on types of design information, but they are also doing a lot of specific research on each client and finding new, innovative ways to better the exposure of the client.

Not only will we see this when it comes to creating ads, it also comes up when creating brands for clients. We make sure to ask the client these 10 questions before starting a brand project which help us get a better idea of what they see. Often we’ll insert our design and marketing expertise to “bridge the gap” per say.

3. Jack of all trades

You can call us your “Creative Guru”. We’ll point you in the direction of higher conversions and sales.

You might be saying, “Yeah, but what’s your role in the creative process?” or “do you do everything when creating an ad?” And to that, I’d say that at an inbound marketing agency, a graphic designer is usually a jack of all trades. We can do just about everything in the creative process.

Here are some of the “trades” that a graphic designer at an inbound marketing agency possesses:

1. The Retoucher
This is usually when a designer gets an image that isn’t flattering and has to go in and retouch it. This type of designer is usually a maestro of photoshop and has really great photoshop skills.

2. The Layout or Grid Designer
This type of designer is the designer who lays out information into creative in a way that draws the attention to the CTA (call-to-action) or message.

3. The Typographer
The typographer designer doesn’t just pick any font and incorporate it into the creative. They usually find a font that correlates with that the layout designer came up with and conveys the message the in the most clearly, legible way.

Graphic design skills (or a team of graphic designers from an inbound marketing agency) aren’t the only things you’ll need when kick-starting an inbound marketing campaign. To help you out, we created this Marketing 101 Checklist which you can download for yourself here. Best of luck!