A beautiful guide to Emotional, Psychological and Intelligent Marketing using Graphic Design

From billboards and tweets to literature and speech, the best marketing:

  • Informs
  • Influences
  • Entertains

Informing and influencing customers is a typical marketing tactic, entertaining is not.

Everyone can be generically entertained by the same thing, but to truly influence consumers, they need to be specifically entertained.

And to be specifically entertained, the marketing material needs to know what will entertain the customer.

Many see art and graphic design as an easy practice or even a hobby but it’s the one area that can really make your marketing communication, entertaining.

Whatever marketing you’re doing, ask yourself, “Is it entertaining?”

If not then you might not be influencing enough to make a sale.

To solve the problem let’s look at how you can create marketing communication that works for your business.

Emotionally targeting your audience

It’s impossible for you to know exactly what entertains your customers.

Or is it?

Entertainment is just an exploration and attraction of our human emotions.

And we know that every human has the following emotions within them:

  • Admiration
  • Adoration
  • Aesthetic Appreciation
  • Amusement
  • Anxiety
  • Awe
  • Awkwardness
  • Boredom
  • Calmness
  • Confusion
  • Craving
  • Disgust
  • Empathetic pain
  • Entrancement
  • Envy
  • Excitement
  • Fear
  • Horror
  • Interest
  • Joy
  • Nostalgia
  • Romance
  • Sadness
  • Satisfaction
  • Sexual desire
  • Sympathy
  • Triumph

Emotions in general, have a great impact on us.

Once we have an emotion, we’re compelled to act on it, thus leading to the next emotion.

And this is how and why you can use emotional marketing with graphic design to promote your business.

Emotions can connect with customers in a creative way to build rapport.

Emotions can attract, entertain, influence and impact customers actions.

All you have to do is strike an emotion that your customer can relate to.

To do that you need to create a story and use graphic design to tell that story.

Emotional Stories in Graphic Design & Marketing

Every piece of creative design is a ministory, as demonstrated by the above adverts.

But let’s take this bottle of Mountain Dew on my desk for another example.

Do the Dew!

It tells me a compelling story of emotions:  “Excitement, Interest, Satisfaction and Triumph”

It entertains, using the whole bottle as a unique piece of “storytelling design” with eye-catching colour.

Mountain Dew is a soft drink that’s synonymous with a younger generation, appealing to skateboarders, hikers, and video-gamers. (i.e. the alternative cool kids).

But in general, this bottle attracts everyone with a story that represents a unique, fun and daring experience.

And that’s what you need to do with your marketing material and graphic design.

Create a compelling story based on emotion’s and use it to connect with a niche segment of your audience directly.

Let’s say for example that you’re not selling fizzy drinks, your selling business services.

You can create a story about your customers “Confusion” when dealing with other business services in order to pose your business as a solution.

You can use “Satisfaction” as a way of advertising your customers emotions after finding your business services.

You can adopt “Amusement” as an over-arching emotion to gain your customers trust whilst using any other emotion and scenario as the basis of your advert.

The most important thing is that any piece of marketing material you create must be based on at least one of the above emotions, with a story capitalising on that emotion, in order to influence and entertain the customer.

That marketing material could be a letterhead design, an email signature, vehicle livery, a television advert, a flyer design or even a logo design.

In any case, it doesn’t need to shout the story or become theatrical to entertain.

It might just whisper the story and intelligently amuse.

But an emotion is what it needs to convey.

Without emotion, your marketing material will become soulless and pointless.

It just won’t entertain enough to influence a sale.

Emotional Marketing & Graphic Design

Once you’ve picked an emotion or two and thought of a story that can be used to connect with your audience, you need to start designing a piece of marketing material that can resonate with your audience.

Graphic Design will be key in conveying a strong emotional message and story.

The final design will be the epitome of an emotion and story itself.

To do this we need to consider all graphic design elements as narrative elements.

Colour within Graphic Design & Emotional Marketing

Colour has an amazing effect on our moods and memory.

But colour picking is not a guessing game.

Psychologically, the brain is programmed to associate colours with messages.

But if you combine colours with shapes, you can create a new altered message.

Likewise, if you change the hue or tone of colour ever so slightly, you could come up with a different message altogether.

To create an emotional message, pick colour harmonies and shapes reflective of the emotion that you want to create but reconsider their effect in combination with shapes and images.

Keep it simple and logical by using colour to reinforce emotions and the story that you want to tell.

Left Bright Yellow : Fun, Happy, Childish, Cheap | Right Muddy Yellow: Gold, Warmth, Modern, Satisfaction

Imagery and Emotional Marketing

Images are your strongest tool to communicate emotion and you’ll have a huge array of visual elements to use.

You have:

Emotional Photos

A good photo will carry a mood, tone, emotion and a mini story all in itself.

A good photo will also be entertaining.

Most stock photo sites and photographers tag their photos by emotions as a standard so they should be easy to find, but to really have a great impact, you need photos which exert an artistic appeal so that they do more than carry an emotion.

They should viusally entertain.

Maybe it’s the vibrancy of colour, or the camera perspective?

Maybe it’s the quality of photo or the scene setting?

Overall a great photo will be one which tells the story that you want tell.

Examples of great stock photos that carry emotion, entertain and tell a story

Emotional Shapes

Much like colour shape can be used to trigger past memories and make any emotion feel much more real.

The characteristics of a shape also associates itself with different messages.

Sharp pointy triangles can emote uncomfortableness or resemble blades as a sign of precision.

Circles are soft and fun.

Combining shapes, altering shapes or designing new shapes can also help to tweak your emotional message and create a new graphic element.

One that’s reminiscent of another symbol, message or emotion.

Combining shapes to createa a new shape with a new emotion
Combining shapes to create new shapee with a new emotions

Icons & Symbols

In terms of emotional marketing and graphic design, icons and symbols rule the roost.

A simple graphic, such as a heart shape can easily convey the emotion of love.

Some symbols are instantly recognisable as emotions
Some symbols are instantly recognisable as emotions

And there are a million symbolic icons out there with an associated meaning attached to it.

When a customer sees an icon, they don’t even have to think about what it means, the instruction and definition are embedded into their brain already.

Symbols are a great way of telling your emotional story quickly.

Textures & Patterns

Textures in graphic design and emotional marketing are subtle.

But they have enormous impact on setting a scene and carrying an emotional message.

Quite often textures are reminiscent of past experiences and culture, ideal for rekindling memories in story telling or creating an atmosphere.

Textures are the secret weapon to graphic design and emotional marketing.

Using textures to entertain, inspire and trigger emotions
Using textures to entertain, inspire and trigger emotions


Style much like texture can be used to create an overall mood and tone for a piece of graphic design.

And picking a style is like picking an emotion.

It’s the foundation of what your piece of design will say and how it will say it.

Style, reminds viewers of other things, allowing your design to connect itself to an emotion in a much stronger way.

Using a retro american style convery an emotion of nostaglia
Using a retro american style convery an emotion of nostaglia

Typography and Emotional Marketing

Fonts ooze emotions.

Each one is designed to portray a specific message but in combination with colour, formatting and layout, could create a different message altogether.

What’s really important with regards to fonts, graphic design and emotional marketing is a tone of voice and character that the font creates.

That tone of voice can be used to personify printed text into spoken word, allowing your story to have a narrator to double up on the emotional message.

Learn how to pick your fonts

Different fonts express different tones of voice
Different fonts express different tones of voice

Originality & Intelligent Entertainment with emotional marketing

An emotional and entertaining piece of marketing doesn’t have to be wild, over exaggerated or childishly fun, it can be extremely adult and intelligent.

The end goal is that the emotion, story and design connect with the audience in a way that entertains them in one way or another.

And that’s when emotional marketing works best.

For emotional marketing to be truly effective, the design of the communication needs to be creative, original and based on reality.

This means that your marketing may have to be daring or different to really connect with your customers but that risk will pay off because your audience with resonate with your honesty and intuition as a brand.

They’ll thank you for entertaining them by talking about your advertising, remembering your advertising, referring your brand and even purchasing from your brand.

If you want to know more about emotional marketing and the psychological effects used in print adverts, check out our post Subliminal Marketing Psychology.

We know that you run a business and your forte may not be art and graphic design but ours is, so if you want a second opinion on your marketing materials then get in touch to see how we can make it a little more entertaining, in turn, may be a little more influencing and emotional.

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