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How Digital Art Reshaped Marketing Movements With Visual Storytelling

How Digital Art Reshaped Marketing Movements With Visual Storytelling

Humans have been using the impactful nature of visual storytelling to spread information and engage with communities since the dawn of time. 

Visual storytelling is a powerful medium for communicating among people of different backgrounds, cultures, or languages. The images in use all evoke the same response or emotion. 

No matter where in the world you are, the same message is conveyed. This is why it has remained a consistent practice throughout so many generations. 

We may have started with rustic cave paintings and physically tangible mark-making. But the modern world now relies mainly on technology to share meaningful stories and influence society’s consumer decisions. 

Digital art encompasses any form of visual expression created through the means of technology. It’s found in websites, videos, images, brochures, illustrations, billboards, and nowadays—even 3D sculpture. 

As the world increasingly becomes more reliant on technology for communication, entertainment, and advertisement purposes, digital art cements its place in the marketing sector. 

The Origin and Impact of Visual Storytelling 

Visual Storytelling Design

The first recorded versions of visual storytelling were created more for lifestyle documentation and the preservation of memories. Rather than the large-scale marketing movements, we are familiar with today. 

Before most of the world was literate, visual aids for advertisement, education or warning signs were the only logical way to get people’s attention. 

Anyone with the ability to see can relate to evocative visual imagery without having to have pre-existing knowledge of the shared message.

The organic immediacy of how visual storytelling translates information is why visual media have dominated marketing campaigns. 

It is the perfect vessel to carry a message. Even consumers that have never seen or heard of a product before will usually be able to naturally understand its purpose by looking at a well-designed visual advertisement. 

When confronted with a visually told story, consumers can draw more robust connections between themselves and the brand. 

Good visual aids in marketing allow the observer to relate to what is being advertised on a more personal level. Ultimately resulting in a higher chance of purchase, subscription, or whatever CTA (call to action) the marketer aims to accomplish. 

The Shift from Traditional Art to Digital Art 

Digital Marketing Strategies Artificial Intelligence

A significant shift in the marketing world occurred when digital media became mainstream. 

In 1982, pioneering artist Harold Cohen created the world’s first digital artwork, which he designed using the AI machine of his invention called AARON. 

Initially, AARON created original abstract artworks on large sheets of paper on the floor, but it became more sophisticated as Cohen tweaked his invention. 

In the 1970s, AARON could draw rocks, plants, and finally, people. By the 1990s, the machine was drawing symbolic figures in interior scenes in colour. By the 2000s, AARON returned to creating more advanced abstract images, once again in colour.

Cohen’s AI machine set the groundwork for digital art as we know it today. 

Since then, digital art has become significantly more advanced from both a technological perspective and an artistic one. In 2021, digital art and technology have become inexplicably intertwined, and we are more accustomed to it than ever before. 

Not only are digital art-making platforms like Adobe Photoshop, Sketch, and Procreate making the production of digital art much more accessible, but completely new currencies like the NFT are now making it possible for digital artists to market and sell their work in a more professional setting. 

Traditionally produced fine art held supremacy over the art industry for centuries. But we are now seeing a massive shift from classical practices and mediums to the pixelated ones-and-zeros of the digital realm. 

How Does Digital Art Compare to Traditional Art in Marketing? 

Digital art and traditional fine art are both somewhat level when effectively translating an idea or message. But some distinct practical differences set the two apart. 

As technology advances, we may see the differences grow even more extensive, and the changes increasingly marked. 

In our current world, the significant difference between the two are:

1 – Efficiency 

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There are marked differences in the time and effort it takes to create a traditional artwork versus a digital one. 

Designs created on a digital application or software already contain high-functioning tools that facilitate measurement, proportion, and precise structural execution. 

Whereas traditionally created designs require skill, time, and experience to achieve all of those elements individually. 

You can create entire marketing campaigns overnight at a push, and digital artists can create everything from logos to complete brand identities in a concise space of time. 

Designs can scale up or down as required and quickly adapt to whatever medium they’ll appear in. 

Making changes is also a simple process, often requiring removing a few layers in a software program or the deletion of certain elements.  

Changing colours, shapes, and text-only take a few moments too, and the reworking of designs is far more accessible, as there is always a baseline to work from. 

If we were to change even the simplest element of a drawn or painted design, it would require a complete rework or a possible fresh start to achieve the desired result. 

2 – Cost-Effectiveness

Art supplies are typically on the more expensive end of the spectrum. They also tend to run out quite quickly and are required in large quantities. 

But creatives using design platforms or software to make art require nothing but their iPad or laptop to create an unlimited range of colours, textures, and shapes. 

Even though design programs often require a fee for running or download, the overall cost of creating a design will be much cheaper if made using technology. 

Additionally, the tools needed get used repeatedly, unlike canvas or paper that is single-use.  

The lower cost factor also means digital artists can charge slightly less than traditional artists, which is a big plus when considering the competitive nature of our current art industry. 

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3 – Increased Productivity

Digital Art In Marketing Strategies

Creating digital artworks is time efficient and allows for an increase in productivity. Previously, marketing campaigns could take months or even years to create, and marketers’ reach was greatly limited by geographical location and time.

With these barriers gone, the potential for an increase in marketing campaigns is enormous. Brands no longer need to focus their energy on one campaign that will carry them through several months. Instead, the ability to create new campaigns regularly is ever-present.

This not only drives up productivity, but it inspires more significant levels of creativity too. Designers can push the envelope in some areas, and if their efforts are not met with success, they can go back to the drawing board and create something new quickly.

4 – Social Commentary

Art has always had links to social commentary, and some of the world’s most incredible artworks drew inspiration from what was happening in the world at the time. 

However, these artworks would have taken a long time to create.

With digital art, the opportunity to comment on what’s happening here and now is easy. So often, marketing campaigns align themselves with a current event—look at Nike’s use of Colin Kaepernick in the wake of the Take The Knee movement.

Being able to create digital art that speaks to the here and now is a huge bonus. And it’s an excellent opportunity for a brand to show off its ethos and highlight its attitude to social responsibility. 

Digital art gives brands a voice and the power to stand behind a cause or promote a platform. Marketing tie-ins tell an authentic story, and having the ability to comment in almost real-time as events unfold is hugely valuable. 

5 – Permanence 

Digital Art In Advertising

When handling a digital artwork, the necessary aspect of preserving a traditionally produced artwork is eliminated because it exists in a non-tangible world. 

Digital art remains unaffected by its physical environment, evading any kind’s degradation by remaining within a digital file format. The colours will always remain crisp, the lines are unblurred, and the integrity of the image unblemished.

Technically, digital artwork will last forever. 

If you think about how we view marketing material from the past, you’ll see the value in this sense of permanence. 

A digital artwork will still exist 10, 20 or 50 years in the future, creating a historical legacy that’s far more accessible to anyone who wishes to view it.

6 – Duplication 

The process of perfectly replicating a digital artwork is significantly more straightforward, more accessible, and less exhaustive than that of replicating a physical one. 

Essentially, there’s always only one original artwork, and the rest are copies, with minute differences. Even the most skilled artist will not create identical artwork over and over again. They can duplicate their work, but it’s never a true copy. 

By pressing a mere button, digital artists can duplicate their original design as many times as they like without labouring any additional energy into the artworks themselves. Every single design will look the same and have an identical composition.  

In the world of marketing, this is an obvious plus. But what’s even more beneficial is that digital artworks have no geographical boundaries.

Any digital marketing material is viewable from anywhere globally, and it can exist on dozens or even hundreds of platforms at once.

This is especially true in the case of any online social media marketing. Digital artwork can exist just about anywhere, and its reach is incredible. If you think about viral content, this is an excellent indication of how duplication serves digital arts. 

7 – Versatility

Digital Art In Marketing

Once a digital design is created, its uses are almost never-ending. 

All that’s needed is a conversion method for turning a design into a vector image or portable graphics format (PNG) before the design itself is applied onto any physical or digital surface desired. 

Once made portable, the design is available for use in other digital mediums or printing onto posters, banners, flyers, or even clothing. 

This makes it the ideal medium for marketing material. A single design can carry across all of a brand’s marketing collateral with minimal fuss. 

There’s an almost unlimited scope of opportunity, from printing the most miniature image on a pair of socks to creating a giant billboard. 

8 – A Greener Option

If you think about it, digital art is a far greener alternative to traditional art forms. There’s no paper, no toxic paints or varnishes, and no waste. 

That’s not to say that art should stop altogether because it may lead to a little extra waste. But in the world of marketing, there’s never only one proof. 

There are dozens of changes made to designs, and each minor alteration requires a new sheet of paper and new materials. All the designs that came before getting thrown away, and even if they’re recycled, they’re still considered waste.

It’s easy to see that the waste factor is enormous, and artists may go through reams of paper before a single design or logo gets settled on.

In the digital art world, this isn’t even a consideration. This makes digital art a far more eco-friendly and sustainable option in the industry. 

It is something that many businesses will look for to promote how green they are and show off how strong their sense of corporate responsibility is. 

Why Digital Art is the Future of Marketing Movements 

Not only is digital art quickly filtering its way into mainstream art media, but marketers see the value of its flexibility and affordability. 

It has enormous value for current and future campaigns that require as much streamlining and corner-cutting as possible.  

From a design evolution perspective, digital art is also the logical next step forward as society strives to keep up with the rapidly changing world around it. 

A hundred years ago, oil painting and marble sculpture were at the forefront of progressive art production.

In a world of digital disruption where the technology industry continues to catapult through developments at an exponential pace, digital art is likely to maintain its position as one of the fastest-growing mediums in the world.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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