Visual Strategy 101: Essential Graphic Design Types for Social Media Success

Feeling the pressure to win the social media game? You’re not alone. It’s a constant battle for attention. And just when you think you’ve crafted the perfect content, your competitors raise the bar. Therefore keeping up can feel like an endless chase.  But what if you knew the secret sauce for winning? The answer lies in strategic social media graphic design. 

This blog is your guide to mastering the art of visual storytelling for your brand on social media. We’ll break down the essential graphic design types you need, where to use them, and some quick design tips too! 

So, are you ready to up your social media game today by effectively leveraging the right graphic design types for your social media pages? Let’s go! 

But before we begin our discussion on social media graphic design tactics, let’s shift gears and talk about the power these visuals possess. About the importance of social media in marketing.

The Visual Advantage: Reasons Why Graphics Hold Power On Social Media 

  • Social media opens up a window to reach a global audience. The number of social media users is projected to reach nearly six billion by the year 2027. This means that incorporating the right visuals allows you to connect with a vast and diverse audience across the globe.
  • You need stunning graphics to keep up with your competition. Over 40% of marketers are already leveraging visuals – are you keeping pace? 
  • Visuals on social media are the key to better engagement. Studies show posts with images outperform plain text by about 150%. That’s because compelling visuals spark conversations, shares, and likes, thus boosting your brand engagement.
  • Eventually, visually engaging social media graphics build trust and drive more sales. Data shows that consumers who come across social media referrals are 71% more likely to make purchases if these referrals contain relevant visuals. In short, effective graphics help you showcase your offerings, build trust, and ultimately drive sales.

To unlock these benefits, brands need to explore diverse graphic design types. So, in the next section, we will delve into the specific graphic design types that will power up your social media presence and how to effectively leverage them. 

10 Essential Graphic Design Types & Design Tips for Social Media

1. Static images 

Data shows that about 80% of marketers continue to include images in their social media posts regularly. And static images continue to be one of the most sought-after formats on social media. 

When it comes to social media visuals, a lot of discussions focus on video. So, if you are wondering if static images are still important, remember that TikTok, the platform that puts videos first, introduced an option to add photos a couple of years ago. And a few weeks ago, there were rumors about an upcoming photos app from TikTok as well! 

So, static images are still crucial on social media because:

  • They captivate at first glance.
  • Well-designed static images can effectively communicate your brand story. 
  • Engaging images boost shares. 

Static images come in handy on brand pages when you have to announce product launches, share customer testimonials, showcase a new product, tease an upcoming product, share an event announcement, etc. 

And the best part is that static images are some of the most versatile graphic design types since they work on almost all social media platforms. 

Social media design by KIMP 

KIMP Tips: 

  • When it comes to static images, quality is key. 
  • Choose custom graphics and illustrations. Because overused stock photos appear uncanny and inauthentic therefore diluting your brand’s reputation. 
2. Carousel images 

If you build on a static image and expand the message to be conveyed into multiple images then you have a carousel. A set of swipeable images that offer a dynamic and seamless presentation of the message. 

According to the popular social media toolkit, Buffer, carousels continue to be the most engaging post types on Instagram with about 2.37% more engagement than other posts. 

From sharing customer stories to step-by-step tutorials carousels come in handy for various applications. The below carousel, for example, presents educational content through engaging crisp visuals. 

Carousel design by KIMP

KIMP Tips: 

So how do you design carousels that stop the scrolls and drive engagement? Come up with a relatable story. Then plan your slides such that each slide builds on the previous one. Here’s how you do it: 

  • Start with a hook. 
  • Present the narrative as a seamless progression or a problem solution presentation or even a before & after snapshot.
  • Add a compelling conclusion.  
3. Infographics 

Infographics are visually immersive ways of presenting valuable information that can be otherwise difficult to comprehend. They can take charts, statistics and other text-heavy content ad convert them into digestible formats suitable for visually driven spaces. Therefore they are some of the most valuable and engaging graphic design types for social media. 

Infographics make a great choice when you are:

  • Presenting some research findings.
  • Showcasing industry trends. 
  • Explaining complicated procedures step by step. 
Infographic design by KIMP 

Given that links with infographics are about 45% more likely to be clicked including infographics in social media posts meant to drive traffic or conversion is a good idea. 

Moreover, infographics are particularly handy on platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, and X (formerly Twitter) where fostering trust can be challenging. 

For instance, the popular online marketing platform Semrush uses infographics on X to draw attention and to add quick summaries to the blog posts featured. This helps evoke curiosity and drive traffic to their website. 

KIMP Tips: 

  • Establish a clear hierarchy without which an infographic fails to communicate the core message. 
  • Double-check data accuracy and typos since infographics get shared often and even the simplest errors can dampen your brand’s reputation. 
  • Ensure that your infographic design is optimized for mobile devices. 
4. Story posts 

Vertical images presented in a dynamic ephemeral format – Story posts are some of the most immersive graphic design types every brand needs on social media. 

Story posts are great for:

  • Sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses.
  • Adding event highlights to create FOMO.
  • Sharing bloopers and humanizing your brand. 
  • Hosting Q&A sessions. 

Through all of these, Story posts help document real-time responses and boost engagement. Moreover, by using Story posts consistently, you can stay top-of-mind with your audience. For all these reasons and more, Stories continue to be among the most productive graphic design types for brands on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. 

For example, on the Stories of Google’s Instagram page, you’ll find instant updates about major announcements as well as weekly recaps of any big news from the tech company. That’s creative use of Story posts to keep your audience in the loop! 

KIMP Tips: 

  • From the visual elements to the text, keep the overall design of the Story post conversational and informational. 
  • Include relevant stickers and polls to boost engagement on Story posts. 
  • Make your CTA clearly visible by establishing a clear hierarchy in the design and by incorporating ample negative space to direct attention to the CTA, as in the below design. 
Story post design by KIMP 
5. Memes 

To hop on new trends, to deliver a relatable message, to tap into humor, to communicate to your customers that you understand their pain points – memes are handy graphic design types for various applications. 

In fact, memes reportedly bring about 60% better organic interaction than conventional marketing visuals. This is because:

  • Memes speak the language of social media users. 
  • By tapping into pop-cultural references and key cultural moments, memes make the message relatable and memorable. 
  • Memes are easily shareable. 
  • And they are a great way to portray the brand’s personality. 

When can you use memes? When you have to hop on conversations about current events or display your brand’s sense of humor to personalize your brand.

For example, the below meme from Chipotle preserves the brand’s sense of humor while also sparking conversations. 

KIMP Tips: 

  • Keep the copy crisp and relevant. 
  • Know your audience to identify the right memes that work with them. 
  • Stay original instead of using cliched ideas. 
  • Prioritize brand alignment. 

When doing all these, remember to tread carefully and stay away from controversial or sensitive topics. 

6. Cinemagraphs 

One of the most intriguing graphic design types you can incorporate into your social media content strategy is cinemagraph – the brilliant blend of still photography and subtle video loops! 

Cinemgraphs offer a unique way to grab attention and create a memorable visual experience on social media. Cinemagraphs work because: 

  • They bring a static design to life. 
  • With them, you can enhance the emotional depth of your design by using relevant animations & effects. 
  • They can be used to channel your brand’s artistic appeal and sophistication. 
Cinemagraph design by KIMP 

Cinemagraphs make the perfect choice for product showcases like when flowing fabric or a whiff of steam can make your design livelier. Moreover, by animating the relevant elements in the design you can also shift attention to specific features or attributes of the product you wish to showcase. Or even ensure that all eyes are on the CTA! 

KIMP Tips: 

  • Use subtle animations rather than swift ones that can startle your audience. 
  • Do not animate too many elements as it might end up confusing your audience. 
  • Pay attention to the quality of your graphics because noise, unwanted distortions and pixelated portions can affect the visual appeal. 
7. Short-form videos 

Short-form videos have grown to become indispensable in social media marketing. Because they are bite-sized engaging and entertaining. Therefore this is one of the most effective graphic design types every business needs to invest in. 

These could be promo videos like the one below: 

Or short educational ones that create value for your customers, like the below video from Wells Fargo. 

As can be seen in the above examples, short-form videos are about delivering important messages in a few seconds. Because this is one of the most appealing graphic design types for people with shorter attention spans and fast-paced scrolling habits. 

So where can you use short-form videos? 

  • Product demos
  • Launch teasers 
  • Feature introductions 
  • Testimonials 
  • Behind-the-scenes glimpses 
  • Event announcements and teasers 

KIMP Tips: 

  • Be mindful of the safe zones for various social media platforms. You do not want text and other important details to be lost behind engagement buttons. 
  • Use captions because an estimated 69% of users like to play videos without sound. 
8. Long-form videos 

When it comes to in-depth storytelling and establishing credibility, one of the go-to social media graphic design types for most marketers is long-form videos. 

This is because long-form videos help you dive deeper, showcase your brand’s expertise, and thus foster trust. Furthermore, they are handy in providing detailed product walkthroughs, feature demos, and even informative product comparisons all of which are crucial in purchase decisions. 

Also, in-depth content positions your brand as a thought leader in your industry. And can be unique ways to forge deeper connections with your customers. For example, take a look at the YouTube channel of Patagonia, one of the most popular outdoor clothing brands. Their channel is filled with videos that paint stories of outdoor activities, diverse lifestyles, and more. In short, their long-form videos showcase the brand’s unique approach to marketing. 

KIMP Tips: 

  • To maintain viewer interest in long-form videos, choose a cohesive and professional aesthetic throughout. 
  • Break down the content into chapters, add timestamps and clear transitions to help users navigate through the video with ease. 
  • Create short-form video teasers to increase the reach and draw more people to the long-form videos. 
  • Use catchy and relevant thumbnails to make your videos clickable. 

Looking for a design team that can help edit your long-form videos by adding a creative flair and your brand’s unique visual style? Get a KIMP Video subscription! 

9. GIFs

GIFs are some of the most versatile graphic design types that can be used on social media, emails, websites, ads, and other places. Naturally, they are the next most important thing to add to your social media content calendar. 

GIFs use short, looping animations that encourage users to stop scrolling and take a second look at your post. The major difference between GIFs and cinemagraphs is that the former plays as a sequence of images in a loop while the latter features a still image with one subtly animated element where the animation plays repeatedly. 

GIFs come in handy when you have to make your design more expressive and instantly engaging. They are particularly useful when you have to share quick UI animations or product feature highlights. 

For instance, in the below post, OpenAI uses a GIF to demonstrate the update and how to leverage it. 

KIMP Tips: 

  • Keep GIFs short and sweet in order to effectively communicate the message.
  • Since GIFs do not have audio, text overlays can help add more clarity. 
10. Audiograms 

This is perhaps one of the least used social media graphic design types and yet a highly effective one. Audiograms are short and simple video snippets that are visually engaging representations of audio content like Podcasts or audio blogs. 

Therefore audiograms are great ways to attract attention via social media and direct traffic from there to your podcast page. So if you regularly use podcasts for your brand, then you need audiograms to promote them. 

From promoting industry leader and celebrity interviews to speeches, and new podcast episodes, audiograms are useful in a variety of applications. 

KIMP Tips: 

  • Use simple and relevant animated waveforms to capture attention. 
  • Add a clear CTA that directs users to the destination where they can find the full audio. 

Create Eye-Catching Social Media Graphics With KIMP 

Equipped with this knowledge of diverse social media graphic design types and design tips, you’re well on your way to crafting a captivating social media presence.  But creating a steady stream of high-quality visuals can be tedious. What if you could unlock a world of design possibilities without the design burden? An unlimited design service, like KIMP, can be your secret weapon to elevate your social media game. 

Register now for a free 7-day trial!