Daniel Tay

Lead Content Strategist | With Content

Yesterday, Piktochart had the honor of being in the hot seat at Buffer’s insanely cool Twitter chat series, #Bufferchat. The popular series has featured awesome people like Unbounce’s Oli Gardner, Pinterest expert Jeff Sieh, and Buffer’s own Kevan Lee, so the bar was set pretty high.

Marta Olszewska and Jacqueline Jensen – our Head of Marketing and Community Evangelist respectively – were on deck to talk about the best practices of visual marketing, and were understandably excited. Personally, I think they performed spectacularly!

The session was fast and furious, with insightful comments and conversations being struck up at will:

Below are the highlights from the #bufferchat session with Marta and Jacqueline.  

Why are visuals so important in social media?

It’s taken for granted today that visuals are critical in being successful on social media, but why, exactly? In a line, Jacqueline believes that visuals “help tell your story, quicker.”

  • Images, photos, and video take content to another level. We know this from stats, but also as social users ourselves
  • We’ve evolved from long-form content (like blogs) to bite-sized social content

Marta explains that we’re “wired to digest all that’s visual.”

  • There’s a reason why the fastest growing networks are visual platforms such as Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram
  • We’re wired to digest all that’s visual. Our brains process visuals 60k times faster than text
  • Our Piktochart posts that are accompanied by visuals are shared five times more than the text ones [so] we usually create a set of three to five images for every blogpost we write

Other great points from the community:

  • Because people skim the web, visuals help to grab people’s attention. Thereafter, your content keeps them captive – @wilton13 and @danielleirogers
  • Visuals make great jumping-off points for larger and longer pieces of content – @lkcalloway
  • Visuals stimulate the soul, and provokes an emotional response – @eggwhisk

What are your go-to sites for stock images?

Stock images have a bad reputation from being tacky and boring:  

Thankfully, they’ve gotten a makeover in recent times, thanks to websites such as Unsplash and Death To The Stock Photo – and Vince Vaughn:

Jacqueline’s favorite site, as well as many others’, is Unsplash:

  • I’m a big fan of Unsplash! 10 photos every 10 days. I look forward to the new curations. Mikael Cho and his team are great!

Marta likes Death To The Stock Photo, as well as a slew of other sites who specialize in lifestyle images:

  • I personally admire guys behind Death To The Stock, not just for their monthly packages, but their culture and transparency

Some other cool recommendations from the community:

  • If that’s not enough, here are another 39 more resources from @QuietlyApp
  • Another option is simply to make your own images – @themohammedg
  • And an interesting Google Images hack from @directom:

What are your go-to tools for creating graphics?

Here’s where the geek galore begins! We discovered a whole new world of useful tools for creating graphics. Both Marta and Jacqueline’s default tools for visual-making are my personal favorites as well: Piktochart and Canva.  

Other tools that the community recommended:

What are your go-to tools for building infographics?

We were pleasantly surprised to receive lots of Piktochart love:  

And also from Jacqueline:

Before starting with Piktochart, I never thought I could create an infographic on my own. It’s a really easy tool to use.

And Marta:

  • Call me biased, but I love Piktochart. I joined the team because it made my infographics look awesome!

We did learn of other cool tools for making infographics as well from the community:

What design rules are important to remember when creating graphics?

Tools are awesome at speeding up the process of creating graphics, but ultimately, the human is the one who decides how everything – fonts, colors, layouts, and so on – comes together coherently. For that to happen, there are best practices that ensure a certain standard is met. To Jacqueline, consistency is the most important rule to follow:

  • We posted a design series on our blog in August, and it has awesome tips. My favorite is consistency

    Marta believes that the design process begins even before your hand touches the mouse:

  • Pin down your goals, audience, and storyline first
  • If I could just name three key ones, it would be: simplicity, white space, and alignment
  • Always keep your designs neat and clean. Instead of thinking what to add, think of what to get rid of
  • Nothing kills a great design like an unnecessary noise and clutter

Most of the community agreed with keeping it simple:

  • Less is more when it comes to wording. Use bold images, action terms, and keep branding in mind – @nicoleraye_
  • The more complicated the graphic, the greater the chances of losing your audience’s interest – @hacpara
  • Don’t mix fonts, or use too many/unlegible ones – @danielal007

Where do you go for inspiration on design?

Good artists copy, great artists steal. Pablo Picasso’s wise words spurred on a generation of designers who continue to iterate, improve, and inspire the next to keep getting better.

Thanks to the Internet, inspiration is just a few keystrokes away. In fact, Jacqueline took an online class that stuck with her ever since:

  • I took a class on Skillshare run by Ellen Lupton called “Demystifying #GraphicDesign: How Posters Work.” It. Was. Awesome.

Marta looks to Piktochart’s users as an ever-flowing source of inspiration:

  • Users play a huge role in inspiring our designs. We look into their problems and design templates that could solve them
  • Sites like Pinterest, Dribbble, and Behance deliver our daily dose of design inspirations
  • When we’re stuck in a rut, we look into books like Infographic Design by SendPoints
  • Going through our gallery of featured Piktocharts produces lots of ideas too!

Here are some other sources and hacks the community suggested:

What was your personal favorite graphics project?

Storytelling time! Every designer has that go-to story that they whip out at parties and networking sessions. Here’s Jacqueline’s:

  • We collaborated with the World Bank on a report about transportation. I’m kind of an urban planning nerd 🙂

And Marta’s:

  • I like collaborating with nonprofits, startups, or event organizers and creating custom templates for them
  • One of the coolest projects so far has been a roadmap infographic we created for SXSW that we attend each yea
  • SXSW is a diverse event with lots going on. It’s easy to miss things if you’re not organized!
  • We helped SXSW by creating a custom infographic on “How to Navigate through SXSW” for their website visitors

Here are some other cool projects the community have worked on:  

We had some hilariously off-topic moments too. The conversation took a funny turn when some people started wondering what social media would have looked like in the 80s:

That’s all folks! We had a fantastic time engaging with you all. To those coming from #Bufferchat, we welcome you with open arms – feel free to have a look around.

For the rest, if you enjoyed what you’ve just read, you should definitely check out #Bufferchat when you can. It happens every Wednesday at 9am Pacific Time – see you there!

What were your favorite pointers from the chat session? Tell us in the comments below!

Want to create an infographic just like this? Here’s the template we used: Education is Key.

Images via Unsplash