paint-brush
How to Create Promotional Assets: An Insider's Guide into the World of Graphic Designby@viktorkapcov
268 reads

How to Create Promotional Assets: An Insider's Guide into the World of Graphic Design

by Viktor KaptsovMarch 22nd, 2023
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

Promoting any media product starts with planning, creating a strategy, and estimating the scale of objectives and resources. In mobile game development, promo assets vary in format, depending on the goal you have in mind. Some formats are used to tell users about the product for the first time and attract their attention. Others focus on the prominent game features to retain the existing players.
featured image - How to Create Promotional Assets: An Insider's Guide into the World of Graphic Design
Viktor Kaptsov HackerNoon profile picture

Promoting any media product starts with planning, creating a strategy, and estimating the scale of objectives and resources. And at some point, you have to show your product to the audience. A trailer, teaser, poster, banner — all this can be called promo assets that familiarize potential users with the genre and vibe of your content. 

In this article, as a Head of Promo at ZiMAD, I offer you to go through the evolutionary stages of promo materials that have always been used to attract and retain the audience’s attention in all kinds of spheres. You will also learn the rules that should be followed nowadays to reach out to your target audience.

One tool, different goals

In mobile game development, promo assets vary in format, depending on the goal you have in mind.

Some formats are used to tell users about the product for the first time and attract their attention, while others focus on the prominent game features to retain the existing players.

Both the general rules of the visual language, like composition, shape, color, etc., and specific, genre-based ones are applied when creating promotional materials.

For example, creating a banner and a game icon are two completely different tasks.

The banners I made for the mobile game Jigsaw Puzzle Villa, which demonstrate the importance of large bright elements to attract attention

A banner is an advertising space where you can put a text message, add some details, and be sure that the user will be able to comprehend this information.

And an icon is a tiny image that doesn’t imply complex compositions—they might confuse players, causing substantial difficulties in understanding your message.

Examples of common restrictions for such materials are based on the general rules of the visual language—ignoring them will most likely lead to creating a failed asset.

Visual language and The Rule of Three Seconds

Regardless of the chosen format—a static image, video, playable asset, or animated  banner—there are general rules for creating a successful promo material:

The rule of three seconds.

During the first three seconds, an asset must capture and retain the user’s attention for them to watch the video further.

In the case of static graphics, three seconds should be enough for the consumer to perceive the visual information and fully understand it. Don’t make your potential user solve visual riddles. Otherwise, you can simply lose them since there are tons of icons and banners with more engaging and explicit information.

Attention control.

Save your users’ eyes. Don’t try to blow their minds with excessive visual information to spark their interest—it can be misleading and even irritating.

First of all, your asset should attract people’s attention with a clear message, call out to associations, and evoke genuine emotions like calmness, inspiration, nostalgia, etc., depending on the theme.

Consistency.

When working on promo assets for a campaign, it’s vital to keep its elements consistent. It can reinforce the recognizability of your campaign, product, and even brand image.

Skeuomorphism and evolution of the graphic language

Any technology evolution is conditioned by the fact that consumers have to adapt to something new.

Making such a transition smooth and painless is the job of the product’s design—from industrial to graphic.

One of the brightest examples is the invention of the first smartphones with touchscreens and other devices with the same input/output interfaces.

The main question was, “How to quickly teach consumers to use the tools that work like buttons, but physically don’t exist?”.

The answer was skeuomorphism — a design concept, according to which design elements should have the forms of objects from real life. The main buttons for accepting and ending a call featured images with a handset; the image on the email icon was an envelope, etc.

Skeuomorphism was used to channel the concept of a book into a new environment through the image of wooden bookshelves and page-turning animation; taking a photo was accompanied by the sound of a shutter click — all to adapt the habitual actions to new circumstances.

After a while, consumers got used to the new reality, and simulating real-world objects and actions when creating graphic assets was no longer required.

Skeuomorphism as a design approach quickly became unwanted due to its high labor coefficient, cost, and size of the ready graphic pieces. It was replaced with flat design — the extremely simple design in terms of detailing, 3d elements, and animation.

Demonstration of the transition from Skeuomorphism to flat design

Trends in promo assets

The graphic language got rid of excessive details and became simpler and more functional. This tendency can be observed in promotional materials as well.

In the early stages of the mobile game market formation, a lot of things had to be explained to users through graphics. Many of the now popular game genres were only coming into existence and looking for their audience at that time.

The marketing goal was to use promo assets as one of the ways of drawing people’s attention to a product. As products and, therefore, the competition was growing, promo materials had to transform as well. It became crucial for game development companies to show the users how their products were different from the competitors.

Based on the promo assets for our ASO campaigns at ZiMAD, we see a general trend for a gameplay demonstration that includes the setting, special content, and game features.

If a person likes coloring pages, puzzles, and match-3 games, they hardly need to be explained how to color, solve puzzles, or what match-3 is — they already know all that.

Instead, show them how your coloring app and puzzles differ from other similar games and why they should choose your product.

Screenshot updates for Magic Jigsaw Puzzles demonstrate the tendency to simplify the overall layout of promo materials.

We emphasize the graphic content of the game and the unique features it offers, for example, different puzzle piece shapes to choose from: 

The banners I made for the mobile game Magic Jigsaw Puzzles, which demonstrate its uniqueness puzzle pieces of different geometric shapes.

It can also be adding colorful themed content from collaborations and acquiring the rights for popular IP, which both reboosts the engagement of the existing audience and attracts new users:

The banners I made for the mobile game Magic Jigsaw Puzzles, which demonstrate the variety of puzzle sets.

Final Thoughts

The mobile game industry is actively growing and expanding.

More and more demanding genres, such as shooters, RPGs, and open-world games, are entering the market.

Affected by these factors, the audience is growing and becoming more diverse as well, and all the marketing activities, including promo assets, must be adapted to the new conditions.

The competition is increasing in all genres, so the ability to stay flexible and open to changes is not just a key to your success — it's one of the main rules of survival.

The way you promote your product also has to stay adaptive. If you love your games, dare to show them with passion and confidence.

Love your audience, and they will return the compliment.