When I graduated college in 2011, artificial intelligence and machine learning were not topics that surfaced regularly in our graphic design classes. Now, almost 10 years later, as a designer at a B2B storytelling agency, I’m creating technology marketing materials for these abstract concepts on a daily basis. It can be intimidating designing for big tech ideas, but here are a few tips I’ve learned to help navigate the process.
Go with what you know
Certain design metaphors already exist in tech marketing, like a lock representing data security. There is sort of this unwritten rulebook of icons for designers. Sometimes these icons make sense and sometimes they feel like a stretch, either way it is a good North Star. For example, I understand why a cloud represents the cloud but ever wonder why a can represents a database? Assigning a design element to an abstract idea makes it feel more tangible and helps tell a story in a visual way.
While there are some general tech marketing design guidelines that exist, each project is different. As an agency, we want to give clients unique designs so not every keynote presentation looks the same. Always look to a company’s brand guidelines and try to get creative about how brand details are incorporated. Elements like color, pattern, and iconography are cues we can massage into the design to ultimately delight the client with a final product that stands out.
Don’t forget fundamentals
Even though these tech themes can be abstract, it’s important to keep in mind the fundamentals of design. A website layout still needs to have some sort of hierarchy, words on the page of an eBook need to feel balanced with the visuals, and an infographic should guide the viewer through a story. Using these visual elements in the right way make these big ideas easier to digest.
Eventually we will have to visualize abstract concepts that haven’t been thought of yet. What comes next beyond artificial intelligence and machine learning? It will be interesting to see how the design of tech marketing evolves. I hope it’s something fun and colorful…like rainbows or trolls.