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Color psychology in marketing and branding is more than just one-sentence explanations of what each color represents.

It’s true that specific colors can influence the choices of consumers. Color can affect the brain’s emotion sensors in many ways. It can call attention, inspire emotions, give assurance or tap into nostalgia.

But perceptions of color are not that simple.

A sentence like “yellow represents creativity and happiness” is not exactly color psychology—it’s a generalized association.

In reality, “yellow” can have different connotations depending on how it’s used, what color it’s placed next to and what tone of yellow it is.

Yellow is not always happy and creative—sometimes, it’s sickly and pale.

As an example, check out Visme’s subscriber popup below:

Visme's popup opt-in image

The yellow in it is very strong—it catches your attention and makes you feel empowered. Combining this yellow with an image of a roaring lion makes an even stronger impact.

To better understand why using the right colors is so important in content marketing, it’s best to first review the basics.

Color psychology in marketing is primarily based on how people feel about color, and that comes from how they experienced color as children and during the transition into adulthood.

The Human Perception of Color

As newborns, humans can only see black, white and grey. At around five weeks, the first of the primary colors a baby will see is red.

They develop color vision gradually until around 5 months. This is the age when they can finally see all the colors. It's that early that color starts to have meaning and perception.

The color red becomes associated with firetrucks early on, the same as how the color yellow becomes associated with the sun and green with the leaves of the trees. These early color associations form the basis for everything color psychology is about.

In fact, these first perceptions of color are inherent in every culture. In the US, pink is associated with princesses and ballet dancers, while in Japan pink is the color of the cherry blossom and is perceived a bit differently.

Knowing these subtle differences can help you better tailor your marketing efforts, especially if your products and services are international.

Some color perceptions are universal, like the “white lab coat effect.” This color effect explains how most people feel safe and better cared for when a doctor is wearing a white lab coat.

Another example of color perception worth mentioning is the Coca-Cola logo, which is recognizable by the majority of the world’s population.

The Coca-Cola logo is white over red—the bottle caps are red, the merchandising is red, and even the trucks are red. People know that red is the color of Coca-Cola.

Things like these eventually form color perceptions in the minds of people. Since they have grown up seeing the Coca-Cola brand around them, they will always recognize it as something that is part of life.

When they eat a particular meal, they will instantly look for the red fridge in the restaurant to ask for a Coca-Cola. The red vending machines in public areas will always be noticed fast and will be missed if not there.

If Coca-Cola's logo turned yellow one day, it would confuse lots of people.

The color red of the Coca-Cola logo is the essence of brand loyalty, which is what color psychology in marketing is all about. It goes deep into human behavior and how we interact with our perceptions of color.

Before we delve deeper into color meanings and perceptions, let’s take a look at the essence of how color works.

Color Theory for The Digital World

Color theory is the technical language for explaining how color works.

It’s the art and science of how different colors mix and match together to look visually appealing and convey messages.

The basic visual tool for understanding color theory is the color wheel, which has long been an educational hands-on tool for learning and discovering colors.

Unfortunately, it predates modern technology and can be confusing when trying to understand the difference between the colors on screens and the ink in professional printing machines.

The artistic color wheel, which starts with the primary colors, red, blue and yellow, is created with pigments, paints, inks or natural dyes.

This is still how it's done in schools, with tempera or finger paints. Artists and illustrators also learn color theory with this color wheel early on in their studies.

Digital designers and artists though, learn two additional color models in order to work on screens and send content to print: CMYK and RGB.

  • The color model for printed material is called CMYK
  • The color model for digital material is called RGB
The CMYK Color Model

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black).

The CMYK color model visualizes how colors are mixed together with pigments. These include the inks used for printing any type of marketing material, like flyers, brochures, merchandising, T-shirts, magazines, etc.

The way color is created with the CMYK model is called subtractive because the light wavelengths are subtracted as the colors mix.

When Cyan, Magenta and Yellow are mixed together, they create a very dark color, also known as an imperfect black. That is why the color model is called CMYK—K stands for “key”, or black.

The RGB Color Model

RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue.

The RGB color wheel visualizes how colors overlap on screens. The primary colors in RGB are not pigments, but colored light.

When the colored lights overlap in different intensities, they form all the other colors. This is the color space that designers use for all digital design, including websites, landing pages, social media visuals and more.

The way color is created in the RGB model is called additive. This means that color is not overlaid over another to create a new color.

The RGB model starts with black and the colors appear as light shines on it. When all three color lights overlap, we see the “additive” white.

When a designer creates content for print, they will switch to the CMYK color space. When working on digital content, they use RGB.

When the same content is used for both, designers start with RGB and then switch to CMYK before sending the files to the printers. Sometimes, color adjustments need to be made to ensure consistency across all mediums.

Primary Colors in Art, CMYK and RGB

Primary colors are colors which cannot be created by mixing any other two colors. In fact, they form the basis for all the other colors.

In the classic color wheel, the three primary colors are red, yellow and blue.

Now, you might be wondering why this isn’t the case with the CMYK and RGB models. This is because of the way the human eye sees color.

During the late 17th century, Isaac Newton discovered with his prism experiment that color came from light.

His interpretation of the rainbow—red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet—was the first visual tool for scientists to understand color.

With the evolution of digital screens and modern printing, the color spectrum shifted to accommodate how we use light and ink to create color.

The CMYK color model was introduced in the early 20th century by the Eagle Printing Ink Company.

After testing different pigments, they concluded that the best three colors to achieve the largest number of colors were cyan, magenta and yellow.

The RGB color model is sometimes confusing because the main colors are red, green and blue, instead of red, yellow and blue.

This is because the RGB model is made of colored light. When red and green lights shine together, they make yellow light. That is why yellow cannot be one of the primary colors in the RGB model.

The RGB color model was incorporated into color television screens. If you’re old enough, you probably remember that when you looked at the TV screen really closely, you could see red, green and blue rectangles.

What Happens When Colors Combine?

In terms of color psychology in marketing, knowing how colors combine and emit different moods and feelings will help you get better results.

In this section, we will look at basic color combinations, color harmonies and how to group colors in a pleasing way.

There are two basic color combinations: secondary and tertiary.

Secondary Colors

Secondary colors are created from the mix of two primary colors. In the color wheel, these are visualized in between the primary colors.

Tertiary Colors

Tertiary colors are the six colors created from a mix of one primary color and one secondary color. These only apply to colors that are next to each other in the color wheel.

The Color Wheel / The Color Picker

All the primary, secondary and tertiary colors complete the color wheel.

In the color wheel visualization below, notice how the colors are cut into sections on the left. These nuances make the infinite gamut of possible colors.

On the right side is a screenshot of the color picker inside your Visme dashboard. Do you see the similarities and differences between them?

Let’s take a deeper look at how the color wheel is set up and how it translates into the color picker on your Visme dashboard.

The Nuances of Color

Take a look at the color wheels below. At first sight, we notice the primary, secondary and tertiary colors. Then we notice how the center of the wheel is white on the left and black on the right.

That’s because the color wheel on the left visualizes color tints, while the one on the right visualizes color shades. Let’s see how these are different and why they are important for color psychology in marketing.

Pure Color / Hue

What both these color wheels have in common are pure colors.

A pure color is any of the primary, secondary or tertiary colors without any added white, grey or black. These are located at the outer edges of the wheels and the color picker. Pure colors are also called hues.

Pure colors / hues can change with value and saturation.


When white is added to any pure color, it becomes a tint. These are commonly called pastel colors and are softer and paler than the pure colors. A tint can be so light that it almost resembles white.


When black is added to any pure color, it becomes a shade. This technique is used to create a darker or dulled down version of any color.


Another possible color adjustment is by adding grey (a mix of black and white) to any pure color. This can create millions of different colors.

Tones are rarely used in most digital color pickers, except in professional programs like the Adobe design programs.


A very important term to understand the nuances of digital color is saturation, which defines the brightness or dullness of any color.

A pure color is always at normal saturation. It can be desaturated with white, grey or black to make duller versions of itself.

In digital programs, colors can be over-saturated as well. Over-saturating makes details disappear and isn’t generally a great effect.

Using saturation of color at different levels is what color pairing is all about. For example, some saturations of blue look good with pure yellow, while others might clash visually.

Why are These Nuances Important in Visual Marketing?

Color nuances are present in every brand’s color palette. It’s these nuances that give your color palette a certain feeling or emotion.

In marketing, this is important because the right color scheme can help tell your story positively, while the wrong one can detract from it.

For example, a brand with a saturated, vibrant color scheme with mostly pure colors is likely to send a message of liveliness, youthfulness or urgency.

A good example of using saturated colors to send a message is the infographic landing page for one of Atlassian’s products, Confluence.

Atlassian is one of the pioneers in the usage of elaborate design systems, in which color palettes play a large part.

In the infographic below, Atlassian’s designers used the most saturated colors in their secondary palette.

Infrographic by Atlassian

When you click on the CTA, the colors return to their neutral branded blues. The saturated versions were used only for this specific infographic.

Why? To catch your attention, of course!

How to Work with Color Nuances in The Visme Editor

In the Visme editor, there are a few ways to manipulate the color nuances in your visual graphics. For elements like fonts, shapes, lines, icons and illustrations, use the color picker.

In the color picker circle, the pure colors lie on the outer edges.As you move inwards, they desaturate with white. On the right of the circle, the chosen color can be darkened with grey and black.

Visme’s editor also has several preset color themes created by professional designers and proven to look great as they are. When you choose a color theme, your entire project will automatically adjust to those colors.

To edit photographs or illustrations you have uploaded, use the filter tab. With this tool, you can make a number of color adjustments:

  • Add a photographic filter with preset color adjustments
  • Add a color overlay
  • Adjust brightness
  • Adjust contrast
  • Saturate or desaturate
  • Change the hue
  • Change the opacity

If you frequently create visual content, it’s a good idea to start saving the color palettes you use.

This can help you split test different campaigns to see what gets you the best results. When you find out the most effective colors, you can add them to your brand style guide or design system for later use.

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Using Color Numbers

Digital colors are named with a system called HEX. Every single color, tone and shade on the color wheel has its own HEX number.

When you find a color palette you love, you can simply copy the HEX numbers and insert them into your editor’s color picker.

A HEX code is made of three sections. The first two numbers represent the red, the next two represent the green and the last two represent the blue.

For example, #FFFFFF is the number for white because it’s all the colors together (full color). The HEX number #000000 is for black because it has no color at all.

Here are the HEX numbers for red, green and blue:

  • Red = #FF0000
  • Green = #00FF00
  • Blue = #0000FF
Color Harmonies

Now that you know the basics of different color wheels, how colors combine with each other in pigment and light, and the importance of color nuances, it’s time to look at color harmonies.

Color harmony is the theory of how different colors work together to form a color scheme that’s pleasing to the eye. All color harmonies can have many different variations in tone and shade, so the possibilities are endless!

Here are all the different types of color harmonies:

  • Warm
  • Cool
  • Complementary
  • Analogous
  • Monochromatic
  • Triadic
  • Split-complementary
  • Tetradic
  • Square
Warm and Cool Colors

To visualize the warm and cool groups..

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With America’s collective student loan debt at a historic high of $1.5 trillion, many high school graduates and parents around the country are asking themselves: Is college still worth it?

While research on the subject concludes that those with a college education earn an average of $900,000 more over a lifetime than those with just a high school diploma, the fact that tuition costs are increasing eight times faster than wages and college debt has tripled since 2006 has led many politicians and media outlets to declare this a national crisis.

In fact, several top companies such as Google, IBM, Netflix and Apple have recently eliminated the four-year degree requirement from many of their job postings, in an effort to reevaluate the need for formal educational programs that often do not produce graduates with the necessary skills to thrive in the real world.

Whether this movement will gain steam among other companies across the country is yet to be seen, but this begs the question: What about the most successful people in this country? What career path did they follow and how did they get to where they are?

Old Money vs. New Money

We dove into three-decades worth of data to find out. Using figures and rankings from The Forbes 400, the definitive list of the country’s wealthiest residents, we visualized the makeup of America’s richest people, from 1984 to now.

We found that “bootstrappers,” or self-made entrepreneurs, far outnumber those who have inherited fortunes and are growing with each passing year.

It is clear from the above visual that the biggest percentage of “successful” people—if wealth is considered the principal metric of success—have paved much of their own way, although a majority of them come from a middle- or upper-middle-class background.

While we can conclude that the American Dream is indeed alive and well, the next question to be answered is: What education do these highly ambitious people have?

Most Billionaires Went to College

While many point to rich and successful college dropouts such as Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates to justify their decision to skip college and get to work instead, the data indicates that only 11% of the Forbes 400 in 2017 were college dropouts.

Meanwhile, 42% hold a bachelor’s degree; 25% an M.B.A or master’s degree; 8% a J.D. or M.D.; and 5% a PH.D.

As expected, the majority of risk-takers—those who ventured to make it big without a college education—were found under the self-made category, rather than those who inherited wealth.

To make the trend even clearer, we plotted the Forbes 400 by level of education and their self-made score:

Here, you can see that the majority of list members can be found within the following quadrants, from the highest percentage to the lowest: 1) those with a high level of education and high self-made score; 2) those with a high level of education and inherited wealth; and 3) those with a low level of education and high self-made score.

This means that, contrary to popular opinion, most billionaires, including self-made risk-takers, went to college and got a degree, even if they never applied what they learned in school to amass an extraordinary amount of wealth.

In fact, it seems that the percentage of billionaires without a college degree has decreased drastically since 1984, a few years after Forbes first starting publishing their definitive rich list.

While it’s true that the number of college dropouts seems to have increased slightly from 2011 to 2017, a more detailed breakdown reveals that the education of the Forbes 400 has remained roughly the same:

As a side note, it is also interesting to note that retail/restaurant, finance, investments and technology-related businesses created by the Forbes 400 have increased significantly since 1982, while real estate has decreased.

Is College Worth It?

Do you agree that attaining a college degree is necessary for success in this country? Or is having a formal education overrated? Let us know your thoughts below...

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Choosing the best presentation software for your needs can mean the difference between closing an important deal and blowing the opportunity of a lifetime.

Think this is an exaggeration? Just remember how many times a badly designed presentation—with slides chock full of text and outdated animation effects—instantly made you think twice about the credibility of the person presenting their product or idea. Or how a glitch or holdup made you lose your patience.

We’ve all heard of death by PowerPoint. You don’t want to be one of those who blow it because they didn’t choose wisely. Luckily, in a post-PowerPoint world, there are a variety of options for every need imaginable.

Top 10 PowerPoint Alternatives

To help you make sense of the dozens of options out there, we’ve summarized the most important features of the best PowerPoint alternatives:

1 Visme

A cloud-base, drag-and-drop presentation software, Visme offers users all the tools they need to create not just compelling presentations, but also infographics, data visualizations, reports, product demos and resumes.

Its ready-to-use templates, with HD backgrounds and professionally designed layouts, give users a breather from the all-too-familiar PowerPoint themes.

Packed with millions of free images, thousands of vector icons, graph tools in any style and hundreds of fonts, Visme allows users to create virtually any type of visual content in Its custom design area.

Visme - Empower yourself to create beautiful Presentations and Infographics - YouTube


  • Publish and share anywhere: Share URL or embed into a site.
  • Manage privacy: Control who can see your projects.
  • Present offline: Download presentation as image, PDF or HTML5.
  • Add animation and interactivity to any element: Insert call-to-action buttons, videos, surveys, quizzes, etc.
  • Quickly search for the exact slides you need from a built-in library with 900+ layouts

  • Analytics: Access combined statistics of project views in one place.
  • HTML5-based: Runs on any browser and device.
  • Import PowerPoint presentations.
  • Work as a team: Access collaboration and content management tools.
  • Searchable libraries with millions of images and thousands of high-quality vector icons
  • Create visual slides quickly using drag-and-drop blocks of content with visual stats, maps, figures and pictographs.

Price: Starting at $12 a month per user

Pros: Users can create virtually any visual content—including infographics, charts, reports and printables—in a single place; add animation, full interactivity and audio

Cons: Due to high level of flexibility and variety of options, might take some time to master all of its features

Ideal for: Marketers, entrepreneurs, educators and individuals in general; corporate teams

Other reviews: Huffington Post, ClearVoice, Crazy Egg

  2 Haiku Deck

This cloud-based presentation solution is often considered as a mobile alternative to Prezi and PowerPoint. It offers users 27 different templates and 35 million stock photos.

Users can quickly create presentations on the go and access and edit presentations from the iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, and Chromebook. The templates are characterized by big bold text and strong visuals.

Haiku Deck also offers an Artificial Intelligence helper called Zuru. Users can upload a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation on the platform and Zuru rebuilds it automatically.


  • iPhone remote: View and edit slide decks from your phone or iPad.
  • Access templates with big bold text and strong visuals.
  • Export presentations to PDF, PowerPoint or Keynote.
  • Access professional photos from Getty Images and graph creator.
  • Add private talking points or full transcript to published slides.
  • View slide galleries with the week’s most popular decks.
  • Use the Zuru version for AI-powered presentation building.

Price: Paid plans starting at $9.99 a month per user

Pros: Strong visuals

Cons: Customization options are very limited

Ideal for: Traveling salespeople, students

Other reviews: USA Today, Mashable

  3 Emaze

A simple-to-use presentation tool that uses HTML5, so it runs on any browser and device, including Chromebooks and tablets.

Designed for those who want to easily create presentations in minutes, Emaze offers professionally designed parallax, 2D and 3D templates, as well as the ability to create video presentations with online accessibility.


  • Create presentations within minutes with ready-to-use templates.
  • Share presentations with anyone in the world with automatic translation.
  • Access presentations from anywhere with this cloud-based software.
  • View and edit your presentations from any device, including tablets, laptops, PCs and smartphones.
  • Use the corporate branding option to stay on brand.

Price: Paid plans start at $12.5 / month per user after a minimal free option

Pros: Make sophisticated visualizations with little effort

Cons: Will not work on older devices; very resource-intensive; takes up a lot of memory

Ideal for: Users seeking easy-to-use 3D templates

Other reviews: WebHostingPlanGuide,  Geektime, SitePoint

  4 Prezi

This cloud-based software is popular for its nonlinear presentations, which pan and zoom from one page to the next without creating the impression of moving to a new slide. It’s a favorite with a lot of students and educators, especially for its ease of use.


  • View and edit your presentations from any device.
  • Store all your presentations in the cloud.
  • Share and collaborate with others.
  • Download for offline use.
  • Use advanced image editing tools.
  • Manage privacy.

Price: Paid plans starting at $5 / month per user

Pros: Create nonlinear presentations with ease

Cons: Not fully customizable; can only create non-linear presentations; can actually cause motion sickness in some viewers

Ideal for: Students, educators, speakers, companies

Other reviews:  SmallBizTrends, PCMag.com, PC World

  5 Keynote

Apple’s alternative to PowerPoint, Keynote is everything you would expect in an Apple product: sleek, sophisticated and intuitive.

Packed with powerful features—such as the ability to create interactive charts, add reflections and picture frames—Keynote makes it easy to create presentations with cinematic-like transitions between slides.

After the release of the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, Keynote is even more intuitive. Presentations are stored in the cloud and available on all devices.


  • Access more than 30 cinematic effects for text and objects.
  • Make interactive and animated charts.
  • View and edit your presentations from an iPad or iPhone.
  • Easily share and collaborate.
  • Access more than 30 polished templates and designs.
  • Import and edit PowerPoint files.
  • Save Keynote presentations as PowerPoint files.
  • Use on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil.

Price: Free for all Mac computers

Pros: Compatible with PowerPoint

Cons: Desktop software, not online-based; no slide library

Ideal for: Mac owners

Other reviews: PCMag.com, Macworld

  6 Slides

This cloud-based presentation software offers a solid and user-friendly alternative to PowerPoint. Its sleek editor workspace allows you to add background images, use a variety of designs and themes, collaborate easily with others and customize any of 10 default slide templates.

You can even other people’s presentations and use them as a template. Slides.com is not to be confused with Slides.ai.


  • Edit and access presentations from any device.
  • Manage privacy.
  • Present offline.
  • Access to analytics.
  • Fork presentations.
  • Access to revision history.
  • Display math formulas.
  • Define your own theme with custom CSS editor.
  • Add GIFs from Giphy and images from Unsplash.
  • Lots of Team features like branded templates and user management.

Price: Paid plans starting at $5 / month per user

Pros: User-friendly; includes beginner’s tutorial; users can copy other people’s design and layout as templates for their own content (this preference can be turned off when creating presentations).

Cons: Create only linear presentations; limited design options such as professional templates and types of slides; no graphs or infographic widgets available.

Ideal for: Startups, students, teachers, individuals

Other reviews: TechCrunch, SitePoint

  7 Slidebean

This PowerPoint alternative is a good option for all those who don’t have the time to design their own slides.

Slidebean has recreated pitch decks from big-name startups and offers them as ready-to-use templates. There are more themed templates available for users to simply plug in their content.


  • Ready-to-use content templates for different purposes (marketing, business, startups).
  • Search and insert curated images or GIFs from Unsplash and Giphy within the software.
  • Access to thousands of flat icons.
  • Import CSV data to create charts.
  • Share and collaborate with others.
  • Use the chat feature to communicate with others.
  • Browse curated color palettes.
  • Access viewers’ actions for each presentation.

Price: Paid plans start at $96 / year per user

Pros: Allows you to focus solely on the content

Cons: No animation

Ideal for: Those who want to create presentations in as little time as possible, startups

Other reviews:  PresentationPanda, TechCrunch, The Next Web

  8 Zoho Show
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When PowerPoint was introduced in 1987, presentations changed forever. It wasn’t long before the presentation software took over and tools like overhead projectors and slide carousels became storage room trash.

Before slides were designed on computers, they were made by hand. It took several days to design a slide deck and it was really expensive.

Back in those days, presentations were visualized with tools like paper flip charts and slide projectors, and these were used in classrooms and meeting rooms all over the world.

Interestingly, the design of the slides resembled the visual styles found in other fields of graphic design from the same time period. The evolution of presentations has followed trends, just like advertisement and fashion.

In this article, we’ll look at how presentations have evolved over time and how they've turned into the slide decks we know today.

Ancient Presentations

By definition, a presentation is a visual tool designed to help a person tell a story. This story can be for various purposes, including educational, entertainment and even business.

Cave paintings were the first of those "visual tools."

Neanderthal cave paintings, considered to be the first instances of art in human history, were created to tell stories of personal experiences.

These stories were handed down to their children with the help of the drawings they had done on the cave walls.

Jumping ahead thousands of years, another example of historic art can be considered a style of presentation. During the middle ages, Gothic cathedrals were lined with grand colorful stained glass windows.

Stained glass windows at Canterbury Cathedral

The images depicted stories from the Bible and the life of Jesus. The purpose of these windows was to visually enrich the sermons and the preachings given to the congregation.

The same teaching practice is seen in Buddhist temples throughout Southeast Asia. There, teachings are found to be painted on the walls of the monks’ learning areas in equally sized rectangles.

What's interesting is that each painting and each window of ancient times can be considered a “vintage presentation slide.”

Chalkboards and Whiteboards

The first purpose of presentations was education. It wasn’t until later that people started using presentations in offices and sales meetings, too.

The first tool used for presenting lessons to students was the well-known chalkboard. In fact, teachers have used chalkboards for hundreds of years to teach many generations of students.

Some teachers wrote as they spoke, while others prepared the boards beforehand. You could say that the latter was the most similar to the kind of presentations we know of today.

Here's a video of a well-known lecture by author Kurt Vonnegut that not only shows how a chalkboard can be a great presentation tool, but also teaches us about the storytelling process itself:

Kurt Vonnegut, Shape of Stories (subtitulos castellano) - YouTube

For decades, scientists and mathematicians used chalkboards to present their findings. Their complicated calculations filled large boards. While explaining, they pointed at different sections of the board with a long stick.

The photograph below shows a group of NASA scientists in 1961 showing a photojournalist how they worked out calculations about space exploration.

There are no real calculations on this board, only reference equations. Still, the visual message was delivered. It shows how scientists would present their knowledge and make calculations.

NASA scientists presenting their calculations in 1961

Digital Presentations Inspired by Chalkboards and Whiteboards

The chalkboard will always represent the classroom; in all fields of design. Even today, there are plenty of chalkboard and whiteboard presentation templates available for PowerPoint and other alternatives like Visme.

Ironically, chalkboards are now more popular in bars and restaurants than in the classroom. Whiteboards, on the other hand, are now interactive and still used in classrooms around the world.

Paper Flip Charts and Poster Cards

Another tool commonly used in the classroom for presenting information to students before PowerPoint was the flip chart.

The first flip charts were actually printed posters joined together with metal fasteners. Presenters used to flip over these posters one by one to present and explain each one.

Flip charts were created for visual lessons and could be used repeatedly. Teachers could access these flip charts through the school libraries.

The image below is of an antique flip chart titled Science Charts:

Science Charts an educational flip chart from the 1940s

It was used by teachers for presenting information to the students. It’s full of monochrome illustrations that helped the teacher explain the lessons without the need for a chalkboard.

The flip chart above is from the 1940s, and its design is very similar to the style of the textbooks of the era; monochromatic and very detailed.

Flip charts were also used for business. Their first recorded use for a sales meeting was featured in the book, "The Patterson Principles of Selling", showing John Henry Patterson presenting with two flip charts in 1912.

As an example, here's an image of an antique flip chart used by The Coca-Cola Company that seems to be from around the 1940s:

The Coca-Cola Company's flip chart presentation from the 1940s

As we can see, the flip chart above was used for presenting data about advertising practices and effects in the United States.

Unfortunately, we were unable to find any other images of this flip chart presentation that show the rest of its pages.

The image below shows another interesting example of a flip chart presentation being used in a Chevrolet Sales Meeting in the 1950s:

Chevrolet Sales Meeting using a flip chart in the 1950s

The flip chart can be seen right at the back against the wall, where it was probably used by the presenter to convey information about the brand.

If you look closely, you will notice that the design style of the flip chart resembles the design style of print advertisement of the era.

The image below shows a flip chart presentation from Sherwin Williams:

Sherwin Williams' flip chart presentation on employee benefits

The flip chart above was used as a tool to get employees acquainted with their benefits while being part of the Sherwin Willams family.

This flip chart is from some time around the ’60s or ’70s. The black and white illustrations resemble magazine advertisements of the 1960s.

Printed flip charts like these are sometimes still used in common work areas or employee rest areas.

The image below, for example, shows a flip chart with emergency procedures for a large company:

Flip chart on workplace emergency procedures

Flip charts like these are still used today because they can be easily laminated, hung on a wall and looked at whenever needed. The "slide" design resembles the colorful 90s style of design.

The first paper flip chart was introduced in the 1970s by Peter Kent. The paper flip chart is a large block of white paper sheets clipped on to a freestanding whiteboard.

Presenters can draw or write on a paper flip chart while speaking, or pre-design it with charts, graphs, and illustrations.

Flip charts were mostly used before PowerPoint came along, but they have also become a bit of a cult classic for giving live presentations. Many people still use them and swear by them for their projects.

Here's a quick video tutorial on how to use flip charts and why they might sometimes be better than digital slides:

In the 1960s, between flip charts and projectors, some presentations were visualized with cardboard posters mounted on wooden easels.

In the TV show Mad Men, this presentation technique was seen being used for the pitch meetings in Don Draper’s creative agency.

The video below is a clip from an episode in which Peggy uses large cardboard visuals in a pitch to a Burger Restaurant:

Peggy's pitch - YouTube

She switches from card to card by moving them over to an easel next to the one before it. In other instances, they would flip the card as a big reveal.

As another example, here is a photograph of a sales meeting at the Oscar Meyer Company. Notice how the men are holding a poster card with a sales data chart and showing it to Mr. Oscar Meyer.

Poster card presentation at Oscar Meyer Company's sales meeting


During the 1900s, chalkboards, flip charts, and poster cards were great tools for presenting knowledge and information — but they were limited.

When educators and salespeople wanted to present in a more engaging and interactive way, they used projectors of different kinds.

The first projector was The Magic Lantern. It used a candle or kerosene lamp to project light through the film transparencies, instead of a light bulb.

When electricity was invented, projectors quickly evolved and so did presentation design. Here is a visual timeline of the evolution of projectors:


The first “slides” were seen in filmstrip presentations. These were short 35 mm film negatives projected either on a wall or with a filmstrip machine.

These machines were controlled by hand with a wheel on the side. This wheel would advance the filmstrip one frame, or "slide", at a time.

Educators had access to prepared filmstrip presentations just how they had access to the scientific flip charts. The prepared filmstrips were usually accompanied by an audio file on a vinyl record.

In other instances, the filmstrips came with a printed text which the teacher would read during the presentation to explain things better.

The audio recordings that accompanied filmstrip presentations had a specific sound prompt to let the teacher know when it was time to change to the next frame/slide. The printed text had written prompts, too.

More modern filmstrip machines had automatic slide movements and a slot for a cassette tape which would play in sync with the filmstrip.

The video below shows how filmstrips were viewed in the classroom during the 1970s. It shows a series of filmstrips created by Disney Studios about getting to school safely, with the help of Winnie the Pooh:

#219 Remember the old FILMSTRIP Projectors from School? A TRIP down Memory Lane! TNT Amusements - YouTube

There were many other filmstrips like these available in schools for educating kids on different subject matters.

Slides, Transparencies and the Rise of The Slide Designer

In terms of slide design, the first instances in history where we see actual slide design practices were in the opening and ending credits in movies.

The techniques used for these frames formed the basis for all the slide design techniques that followed. In the 60s and 70s, these techniques were used to create informational filmstrips, much like the one below:

Civil Defense Home Preparedness Workshop Filmstrip 5 of 5 (1960) - Charlie Dean Archives - YouTube

The Hungarian website below has a great collection of filmstrip and slide deck series dated as far back as the 1920s up until the 1980s.

Many of the slide decks in this collection have a similar design; very simple composition of image and text. In some cases, the designs are a bit more complex. But for the most part, they seem more educational than creative.

Hungarian website showcasing old filmstrips and slide decks

Pre-made filmstrips you could get from film studios were great, but they were not always what educators or sales people needed.

This need was the reason for the rise of the slide designer. Teachers started to learn how to create slides and transparencies for their own lessons with the help of videos like the one below:

Handmade Materials for Projection - YouTube

The video above shows techniques to create transparencies and slides by hand to use on overhead projectors and other types of projectors, which needed different size transparencies.

It's interesting to note that the evolution of these projectors went hand in hand with the evolution of slide design.

Handmade slides and transparencies were great for the classroom, but they were not very practical for use in the business space.

For a sales meeting, transparencies had to be prepared days in advance. They then had to be transported in special protective folders along with the machinery needed to present them.

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To better understand how slide design evolved, it’s necessary to understand the difference between slides and transparencies.

Transparencies are essentially any type of see-through material, like paper or film, through which light is able to pass.

In slide design terms, a transparency is an acetate sheet on which the design is printed on. It's then presented using an overhead projector.

Teachers used overhead projectors in classrooms for a fairly long time during the 70s, 80s and well into the 90s.

They used prepared transparency slides, which they could also write on, and gave lessons with the information projected on a screen or whiteboard.

Overhead projectors were also used for business purposes, such as during meetings with prepared printed transparencies.

A slide is very similar to the acetate transparency, but much smaller. Each slide is one frame of film cut from a filmstrip and placed inside a plastic or cardboard frame. Slides are photographic negatives, this means that they are photographs of designs prepared first on paper.

A set of slides was presented with a slide projector. The first ones had slide boxes with a manual slider that brought each slide in front of the light bulb.

In 1965, the well-known Kodak Carousel was introduced. It was then that more sophisticated slide designs eventually started to emerge, such as..

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Want to make your product stand out?

Then you need to use visuals that make it pop.

If you’re serious about creating an ecommerce brand or product that sets itself apart from the crowd, you need to create powerful visuals.

But how?

A picture is worth a thousand words, and the data seems to back that up.

According to 2018 research, product images were the single most influential feature for smartphone owners’ digital purchases.

Field Agent's report on "The Digital Shopper"

Today, you’ll learn about 10 eye-catching image types to create visuals that bring your ecommerce brand into the foreground. You don’t need to hire an expensive designer or top photography team for them either.

A few passionate fans and a clever campaign might be all you need for a visual ecommerce marketing strategy that skyrockets you into success.

We’ll cover the best strategies for ecommerce marketing by creating visual content that helps your brand and products stand out.

Let’s get started!

Spice Up Product Photography with Creative Renders

A basic product photo is front and center in most ecommerce stores, and for good reason. A clear, illustrative image of exactly what you’re selling makes it more enticing to the buyer.

But can you make those images more interesting?

The answer is that yes, you can. To stand out, you can add some uniqueness to your standard product photography to make it pop even more.

Here’s how...


If you’ve been in the field of online marketing for any length of time, you know infographics—statistics, tips, or data displayed through an image—can generate huge amounts of traffic.

But did you know they can also help sell your product?

Product infographics have become increasingly popular on third-party platforms like Amazon, where sellers have limited control over the layout and details on the description page.

To explain a product in ways a text description never could, consider creating an infographic that highlights primary features.

This infographic from HiCoup maximizes the format to show close-ups on key features and explain the high-quality materials used in the corkscrew.

Needless to say, the combination of imagery and explanation makes for a more striking presentation than a simple photo of the product by itself.

3D Videos

When it comes to visual content, few strategies are as powerful as video for showcasing your product.

In April 2017, video was shown to be the most important social media content format for purchases, with 86% of respondents saying that video influenced their buying decision.

And one of the best types of videos to use? Gorgeous 3D renders.

If you’re thinking about using video for your ecommerce marketing, it’s a good idea to use a 3D digital render. A digital version eliminates any imperfections, dust specks or smudges.

It’s no wonder that awe-inspiring 3D product images are at the heart of iPhone release videos every year. They present the product in ways that no other medium can.

Plus, it lets you capture unique angles and zoom magnifications that wouldn’t be possible with actual product photography.

iPhone XR's 3D render video

Exploded and Cutaway Views

If you have a technical product, there’s a good chance many of your selling points aren’t actually visible to the customer. What makes your product great are components kept out of sight.

If that’s the case with your product, consider an exploded view. This unique and stunning visual content style allows a customer to peek inside your product and see exactly what makes it work.

For example, this exploded view of a Chopard L.U.C Full Strike minute repeater on Quill & Pad makes you appreciate the intricacies and detailed craftsmanship of the timepiece in ways no other photography could.

A related type of render is the cutaway image. It’s similar to an exploded view, yet differs in that pieces of the product are trimmed away to let the viewer see inside.

A great application of the cutaway view is this render of the Casper Wave mattress. Each layer is cut back and labeled, explaining what each component is for.

Cutaway view of the Casper Wave mattress

Educating the customer is one of the best ways to generate trust and brand loyalty and showing what’s under the hood can help potential buyers see why your product stands apart from competitors.

Encourage User-Generated Content

If you’re looking to build up the authority behind your product, one of the best ways to do it is to start using user-generated content, or UGC.

By including authentic user photos as part of your marketing strategy, you can show that your product is popular with real people.

Tagged Photos

One of the simplest, yet most effective strategies for promoting your brand with UGC is using tagged photos on a platform like Instagram.

While there are as many ways to run a UGC campaign as there are brands, the typical strategy is to create a branded hashtag and encourage users to post their own photos or videos with that hashtag.

To be truly successful, it’s a good idea to choose a theme (other than just the brand itself) to use in the campaign.

Also, you need to encourage users to participate; offer some kind of incentive. It could be obvious, such as a chance to win a giveaway or get featured on your website. Or it could be subtle, such as showing support for a cause.

A great example of a UGC campaign in action is with clothing company Aerie with the hashtag #aeriereal.

While subtle, the hashtag indicates taking a stand against photoshopped models and ads, instead of putting “real women” at the forefront.

Unboxing Videos

One of the unique developments of video in the last few years has been the raging popularity of what are known as “unboxing videos".

Just like the name suggests, these are clips of someone (usually YouTube celebrities or reviewers) opening a new product for the first time.

For example, video game site IGN recently released a Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice game unboxing, where the host revealed and explained each collectible piece in the package.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Collector's Edition unboxing video

As you can imagine, these are a goldmine for ecommerce stores. While sponsored content can look obvious and out of place in other types of user-generated content, it’s a core component of unboxing videos.

So, how can you get it to work for you?

First, you can encourage users to post their own unboxing videos. While you likely don’t have major YouTube stars in your audience, each video will target a close-knit circle of that customer’s friends.

If you’re looking for a more surefire way to get a hit (and are willing to spend some money), you can contact a YouTuber to set up a sponsored unboxing video.

Or if you’d prefer a less direct (but also less guaranteed) method, you can simply send a free box to a publicly-listed address of a celebrity and hope they decide to unbox it on camera.


No kind of user-generated content conveys a commitment to a brand like a tattoo does. But if the concept of someone getting a permanent image of your logo sounds too crazy to be true, think again.

Major brands like Harley-Davidson and Domino’s Pizza have developed such a loyal following, fans willingly do just that.

But it’s not just for giant brands, either. Even small startups—with the right engagement and passionate fan base—can do the same.

For example, dozens of people have Johnny Cupcakes tattoos, inspired by the T-shirt company of the same name.

Fans tattoo Johnny Cupcakes' logo on their bodies

What started out as a simple commerce concept has turned into an underground phenomenon, and along the way it has created lifelong fans willing to promote the brand on their own bodies.

Experiment with Interactive Imagery

If you really want to make your ecommerce brand stand out, you need to think even more outside the box with your image strategies.

In this final section, we’ll show some of the most cutting edge image strategies you can take advantage of.

With the advent of machine learning, augmented reality and personalization, the future is already here.

Shoppable Product Images

We’ve already mentioned Instagram for its incredible ability to market visual products. But recently, a new development called Instagram shoppable photos has added an entirely new dimension to the platform.

Shoppable posts on Instagram

With shoppable images, you can tag products and allow users to buy what’s on display with just a click. But this is only the beginning.

The newest development in e-commerce shoppable images is just around the corner. Soon, customers will be able to photograph products in real life and immediately be taken to the checkout page for that product.

The best way to prepare for this future? Start experimenting with Instagram’s shoppable images now.

Virtual or Augmented Reality

While ecommerce has revolutionized the retail industry with its focus on convenience, it has left out a key element many of us took for granted—physically being able to see the product before buying.

Sometimes, it’s hard to visualize what something looks like, which is why the ability to see a product at different angles was the second most important feature for ecommerce apps in 2017.

The modern solution to that problem? Augmented or virtual reality.

Using modern smartphone technology, we can now let users see exactly what a product would look like.

A great example of this is the IKEA Place app, which lets users place and view virtual IKEA furniture around their living area before buying.

IKEA's augmented reality app

It’s the perfect way to bring back the real-world feel of shopping even for products purchased online.


Product placement in games has always been hit-and-miss for most product manufacturers. That's because most customers tend to be averse to too much advertising in entertainment.

But in recent years, the opposite has suddenly become much more normal—branded games designed for products.

Games like LEGO Star Wars have become bestsellers, despite being product advertisements themselves.

Another development has been the dominance of mobile devices in the gaming world and their low cost compared to traditional gaming consoles.

For example, Macy’s Wish Writer created a powerful experience for children around the holiday season, yet the entire app was branded for a retailer.

Macy's Wish Writer app

If you’re willing to invest in a creative ecommerce marketing strategy for your brand or product, consider creating a branded game to appeal to a new audience.

Custom and Personalized Images

Finally, one of the more recent developments in advertising strategies is to include detailed personalization.

This can look very different depending on the type of product being promoted, but the one constant is that the marketing imagery is tailored to the user.

An excellent example that includes both personalization and augmented reality is the newest Warby Parker app.

The app uses facial recognition technology that recommends glasses based on your facial shape and lets you virtually “try them on".

Warby Parker's augmented reality app

These personalized images bring the consumer closer to the ecommerce store or product and build confidence around your brand.

By using images that adapt to the user, you can draw him or her in and create unique, one-of-a-kind experiences.

Boost Ecommerce Marketing with Creative Visuals

Want to grow your ecommerce store?

Then these image designs are exactly what you’re looking for. You can create a unique look and feel for just about any type of ecommerce brand.

Want to use creative graphics? Try explaining the story behind your product, showing a 3D view of your product or letting potential buyers see under the hood of just what makes your product great.

RELATED: 10 Visual..
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Did you know that visuals can do more than just engage visitors?

It didn’t take long for Remy Tennant, an affiliate marketer passionate about health and wellness, to discover how creating interactive comparison charts with Visme could actually help his website rank #1 on Google!

For the past few years, the health and wellness space has been on the rise with an increasing number of people worrying about their fitness and diet. For Remy, getting heard in such a competitive niche was a huge challenge.

Thankfully, the ability to create interactive content in Visme helped him do just that. Here’s what he has to say about his experience in his own words:

Tell us a bit more about your health blog, Human Food Bar.

Human Food Bar is essentially a health and wellness blog focused on dietary trends, recommendations, and comparison charts. I started the blog in 2018 and the site currently gets around 60,000 monthly unique visitors.

Remi's blog, Human Food Bar

The main focus of the blog at the moment are interactive comparison charts for products like keto-friendly protein bars, which help people make the right choice for their diet. This is where Visme helps me out a lot.

Protein bars are quite popular these days, and while there are plenty of blogs reviewing various bars, I wanted to go in a different direction.

At the time, no one was doing a really good side-by-side comparison charts for protein bars, so that’s what I decided to do.

How did you first realize you needed interactive visuals to communicate with your audience?

I use a very standard affiliate marketing model for my blog and search engine optimization is very important for me, especially because getting on top of Google is so competitive now.

I’ve been doing SEO for a while now and you have to create really good content to win. You need content that people are going to share. Content that grabs attention. Something they will spend a lot of time staring at.

When you make content interactive, it automatically increases dwell time—which is how long someone spends on a page.

Dwell time is a very important ranking signal, so the more time people spend on my content, the more Google finds it relevant.

When it comes to interactive content, I find that infographics work great for my niche. I’ve always been passionate about design and creating rich multimedia content, and I feel Visme is the perfect tool for that.

What tool or software were you using before to create visual content? Why did you switch?

Before Visme, I was using Illustrator to create visuals. I have some basic design skills, but I’m not at all a professional designer. So, it was difficult for me to create interactive visuals.

Hiring a developer and designer to create comparison charts would have been too expensive, so I decided to look for the right tool.

I found Visme during my research and it was the perfect fit for my needs. It’s super affordable, especially compared to most other infographic makers and design tools out there.

Plus, the idea of being able to embed all kinds of graphics into my website using just a snippet of code is super impressive. I had an ‘Aha!’ moment pretty fast when I saw all that Visme is capable of.

Can you show us some examples of interactive content created with Visme?

As I mentioned, I have been using Visme to create engaging infographics and comparison charts for my affiliate marketing blog.

Here’s a comparison chart I created for lectin-free protein bars:

View full comparison chart here

Create your own interactive comparison chart.Edit and Download

If you hover over the bar right at the top, you’ll see I have these tips and explanations that pop up. Then there’s the green flashing arrow and all those interactive buttons running along the right side of the infographic.

Visme makes it so easy to incorporate interactive features into my visuals. That makes people engage with my content and spend more time on my webpages, ultimately improving SEO and driving more traffic.

I’ve also used Visme for another one of my side projects. It’s a dating app called Date I.D., which basically lets users verify the identity of people they’re dating online by extracting information from various sources.

Here’s an infographic I created for Date I.D.:

View full comparison chart here

Design your own engaging comparison chart.Edit and Download
What positive results have you seen from using Visme?

Introducing these interactive infographics increased the dwell time on my blog, which improved my search engine rankings. In fact, it made my web page rank #1 on Google!

I also saw a 28% increase in traffic and an overall 37% increase in revenue.

Additionally, the ability to create a custom view for mobile actually drove mobile traffic up by 28%.

Using Visme also saves me an incredible amount of time and money. It’s around 3-5X faster than Illustrator.

If I'd hired a developer and designer to create interactive comparison charts like the one above, I would've probably ended up paying thousands of dollars.

What Visme features made it stand out in comparison to other tools?

Aside from the interactive features and animations, I love that you can export graphics in the HTML file format. It makes the visual content look extremely crisp and high-quality.

Also, there are so many professionally-designed templates to choose from. For the Date I.D. infographic, I actually used one of Visme’s templates and customized it to fit my brand.

There are also thousands of icons and graphics to choose from. I like that I can quickly search for the perfect icon and customize the colors.

I also really like the customized branding features, such as the ability to upload my own fonts and color palettes. For example, I wanted to use Clan Pro for my infographic and was able to upload it easily in Visme.

The best part is that I can save my brand templates for later use.

Plus, there are so many use cases for Visme. Although I’ve only worked with infographics so far, I would definitely use Visme to create presentations, social media graphics and even resumes in the future.

I’m fascinated by the concept of interactive PDF documents, such as reports and resumes. It’s great that Visme lets you create stuff like that.

Would you recommend Visme to others? If so, why would you recommend it?

Definitely and I have. Interactive content is not really an option in 2019. If you want to stand out and beat your competitors, it’s a requirement.

So, if you’re like me and can’t afford an enterprise solution that costs tens of thousands of dollars, then Visme is the obvious choice.

If you have design skills, you can DIY, but you can also get your designer to use it. Your designer will love it!

Your Turn

Ready to create your own interactive visuals? Take Visme for a test drive and let us know what you think!

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Apart from being a legal necessity, annual reports are a great way to show people your company's growth over the year.

The most common annual report design is a simple PDF, with a generic collection of numbers and data.

Then there are some annual reports that really shine, complete with digital interactivity or a unique printed design. These often become quite famous, like Vimeo's annual report from 2013 and Mailchimp's report from 2016.

Some companies even develop a second creative version of their annual report, just for online viewing purposes. These are typically called "A Year in Review" and talk more about milestones and events than financial data.

To get you inspired, we've rounded up some of the best annual reports from recent years in various formats: online, interactive, print and video.

Best Annual Report Design in 2018 Vodafone

Vodafone's 2018 Annual Report has just the right amount of interactivity to take away the boredom of a regular presentation. The hero images are large and very attractive, with animated text and transitions in between.

Vodafone's 2018 Annual Report

Navigating from one section to another is achieved with a horizontal menu and the data is displayed with strong brand colors that stand out.

This annual report is easy to look at and navigate, and is the complete opposite of boring. You could almost say it's the “perfect” annual report. You can also download the PDF version if you want to save a copy.


Far more interesting than a bunch of static charts, Corby's 2018 Annual Report features direction-aware hover effects that are activated by your cursor movements. It’s fun, colorful and definitely memorable.

Corby's 2018 Annual Report

Each section of the report has a unique illustration for an added creative touch. When you click on a section, the transition is a three-toned wave animation. Also, the buttons bubble when you hover over them.

The information in Corby's annual report is presented with impeccable storytelling. Instead of boring charts, they have used wonderful imagery.

Data is also presented in bite-sized chunks, which makes it easier to look at and understand. For more in-depth data, viewers can easily navigate through the links and prompts within the stories.


Pharma giant Roche published a highly visual experience for their 2018 annual report. All the hero "videos" flow seamlessly into the content. The first video even has a swipe effect with an X-ray image of a human skull.

Roche's 2018 Annual Report

The navigation has buttons and scroll options, yet there is no way you can get lost in between the sections. The data is displayed using animated charts designed with the brand colors, making it hard to get bored.

This annual report isn’t too creative in terms of design, but it incorporates video and animation really well.

Old Chang Kee

Old Chang Kee's annual report for 2018 is not interactive, but it's refreshingly unique in its own way.

Although it's a printed report like many others, it comes with an added creative factor: a vintage-style paper texture background and hand-drawn illustrations that bring the early days of Old Chang Kee to life.

Old Chang Kee's 2018 Annual Report

The charts are created in a handmade style, which gives them a unique touch. The designers also added a little extra personality to the images by making them resemble postage stamps.

This annual report stands out for its design creativity and we love that!

Habitat for Humanity

The 2018 Habitat for Humanity annual report is the perfect example of parallax scrolling done right. Their photography is spotless and full of smiling people, which reflects their brand values.

Habitat for Humanity's 2018 Annual Report

In addition, all the information is easy to read, with large titles and text. Sections are separated by a parallax background of a branded icon illustration.

We love that this annual report is so visually rich and makes sure that it gets the intended message across clearly.

Green Chameleon

Green Chameleon's Year in Review for 2018 is like taking a journey through time. As the months fly by, we see all the projects they have worked on.

Each item is clickable and can be looked at in detail. They all open in a new window, so don't worry about your journey being interrupted.

Green Chameleon's 2018 Year in Review

This annual report is defined as a Year in Review because it doesn’t show any financial information about the company.

What it aims to do instead is visualize what the company worked on throughout the year. We think it's an innovative way of showing success and portraying their overall creative outlook towards interactive design.

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When it comes to interactive years in review, Oscar offers a great example. In 2018, the insurance company published an annual report that's guaranteed to make anyone reading smile.

Oscar's 2018 Year in Review

There are prompts to move the arrows in different directions on the screen and every movement continues the storytelling of Oscar’s Year in Review.

As hands move on the screen showing different bits of information, the title at the top changes according to what's being shown. There is also a menu on the right which prompts the viewers to share the report on social media.

This report is a lot of fun and definitely one to remember. We love that the colors are well chosen and the amount of text is just right.


This year, Twitter shared their Year in Review in (you guessed it) a tweet!

This time, though, it's a video tweet. True to Twitter fashion — short and sweet — the video is only 38 seconds long.

365 days.
125 million hashtags.
500 million GIFs.
More @BTS_twt mentions than we can count.#ThisHappened on Twitter in 2018: pic.twitter.com/543gK41qQf

— Twitter Data (@TwitterData) December 5, 2018

Just like they've done in the past, Twitter visualizes the most retweeted tweet, the most commented tweet and other Twitter superlatives.

The video is designed using Twitter's brand colors and features modern music in the background. This is one of the finest annual report examples out there that are actually "on brand."


Some annual reports are short and some are simply gigantic, but the 2018 annual report by ABInBev is truly enormous.

Even though it's full of information, it doesn't feel overwhelming. Simple animations make the transitions between sections seamless.

ABInBev's 2018 Annual Report

Our favorite part is the landing page, which has a hovering map showing the favorite beer in each part of the world.

The designers at ABInBev used an asymmetric composition for the content and decorated the image sections with brand-colored rectangles. This keeps the pages interesting and in constant movement.

This is one of the best annual report examples out there for presenting a lot of information in a non-boring fashion.

Best Annual Report Design in 2017 EWZ

The Swiss energy company, EWZ, offers an immersive and interactive experience with their annual report for 2017.

The welcome mat is a floating, three-dimensional illustration of a piece of land, with prompts to explore the different areas. After clicking through, you can explore further by using the sideways scrolling navigation system.

EWZ's 2017 Annual Report

The best part of this highly visual annual report, apart from the beautiful illustrations, is the soundtrack playing in the background.

Rather than just generic music, the soundtrack is actually an ambient sound that reflects what is happening in each area of the screen.

I personally love this annual report for its creativity and interactivity.

Elevation Church

The 2017 annual report for Elevation Church was designed to look like a pixel video game. The navigation is a vertical standard scrolling system with some simple animations that work perfectly with each other.

Elevation Church's 2017 Annual Report

The colors are mute, yet agreeable, which makes it easy to scroll through the site. The design truly makes the viewer want to see more.

This annual report uses a tiny character to tell the story of how Elevation Church grew over the year. The data is presented with big numbers and simple charts, which makes it easier to read and understand.

Fun annual reports like this one are worth keeping as an example of how things can be done differently with great results.


The 2017 annual report from Weatherford is far from a standard report, mainly because of its innovative, four-part vertical navigation and dynamic titles that are designed with large letters crossing over onto an image.

Weatherford's 2017 Annual Report

To enter each new section, the windows open vertically like tabs. Better yet, the reader never loses sight of the main menu and the most important sections since they remain on the left side of the screen.

We really like how the interactivity is minimal in this report, but just enough to make it different and innovative.

Best Annual Report Design in 2016 REN

The Portuguese energy company, REN, published a wonderful interactive annual report in 2016. They've used animated polygonal scatter dots, which were pretty big back then. In fact, they still look good in this report.

REN's 2016 Annual Report

The title of the report is “Boundless Connections” and the letters are actually part of the navigation design.

The interactivity of the report is mostly in the title and highlights. Once you enter each chapter, the content becomes more standard.

The designers created a good balance between the two, giving the report just enough interactivity to make it stand out while not forgetting the investors who just need to see the numbers.

General Electric

Overall, GE's 2016 Annual Report has a highly professional and clean design. But the best part about this report is the landing area.

General Electric's 2016 Annual Report

There are two main sections of the annual report: Additive Manufacturing and Digital Industrial. Both sections start with a 360-degree view of a workplace with ambient sounds in the background. Around the space are clickable prompts to find out more about various services and products.

Further on in the report are more standard sections for financial data and text. There are also some interactive charts and videos along the way.


In 2016, Kickstarter published an impressive annual report full of their best projects of the year. The design is set up as a huge colorful slide deck and the large titles invite the viewer to move forward with the story.

Kickstarter's 2016 Annual Report

The showcased projects are clickable and can be viewed on the Kickstarter site. The stats show the results of some of the best Kickstarter projects, from films and books to the preservation of Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

This entertaining annual report is a big “thank you” to both creators and backers. In fact, you could say it's a celebration of Kickstarter.

Best Annual Report Design in 2015 Flywheel

Not many annual reports offer to send you a set of temporary tattoos in exchange for an email signup. But that's exactly what Flywheel did in 2015. Their color changing report visualized both important and funny data.

Flywheel's 2015 Year in Review

They even creatively included a section saying that they received messages with the word “Beyonce” in them twice.

They did a great job of storytelling with this annual report, using images of the tattoos as illustrative section separators.

They finish the scrolling annual report with a photo of co-founder Tony Noecker getting a real tattoo of the Flywheel logo.

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Best Annual Report Design in 2014 Crop Trust

Crop Trust's 2014 Annual Report is full of important information about the company. Yet, it's so much more than just a standard report. We love how they've designed the report to present a lot of information in a fun way.

Crop Trust's 2014 Annual Report

The first section is devoted to key figures and features unique illustrations with data hovers. Below them, you can navigate through the many different sections of the report. We particularly liked the interactive map about the Global Genebank Partnership.

There is a lot to read, but it’s all very well-organized with hover tabs that open intuitively. Things like the interactive map can only be found by navigating deep into the report, so there might be more to discover.

UZ Brussel

In 2014, UZ Brussel used patient stories to create a Year in Review. The storytelling technique is seamlessly set up on a landing page with nine vertical sections that light up as you hover over them. As each patient story opens, there's an animated hero image resembling a cinemagraph.

UZ Brussel's 2014 Annual Report

The data of the story is displayed below the image and looks very attractive with illustrations created in the brand colors.

Navigation is simple; readers can scroll sideways to the next patient story or click on one of the numbers at the top.

This unique way of telling a brand’s Year in Review story through its users is very personalized and sends a great message.

Best Annual Report Design in 2013 Shopify

Sometimes, annual reports don’t need to go too heavy on the interactivity to make the information memorable or unique. Shopify's Year in Review for 2013 is a great example of that.

Shopify's 2013 Year in Review

We appreciate how the financial and growth data is displayed with simple line illustrations that draw themselves as the page scrolls.

Following the letter from the founder, there is an animated map that uses colors to show the growth of Shopify stores around the world. The numbers grow from 0 to 82,000 in a very visual way.

Overall, this is one of the best examples of how an annual report can use simple animation to send a message with great impact.

Warby Parker

Warby Parker's 2013 Annual Report is designed like a calendar full of important events, fun facts and growth data. The boxes are grouped into monthly sections and can be highlighted according to a specific topic.

Warby Parker's 2013 Annual Report

Each rectangle is clickable and when it zooms in to the center of the screen, it gives information for that specific point in time. The report is also full of hand-drawn illustrations, photographs and animations.

Some rectangles are bigger than the..

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Facebook is simply too big to not be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy.

The platform has over 2.32 billion monthly active users, and while it might not be as "cool" as it once used to be, it’s still the preferred platform of millions of businesses around the world:

Here’s the best part: According to digital advertisers, Facebook offers the highest ROI of all social media platforms!

But with so many brands competing for attention on the platform, it’s hard to figure out how to create a Facebook ad campaign that actually works.

Thankfully, it’s not impossible.

How to Create a Facebook Ad That Actually Works

If you think about it, the ultimate goal of your ad is to make users stop in their tracks and pay attention to your message.

This is exactly what an effective ad visual does—it stands out and draws focus to itself, despite all the noise in the background.

Better yet, it’s powerful enough to motivate users to take action.

While ad copy is also important, it simply can’t replace your visual.

Luckily, Facebook now offers plenty of visual ad options to brands and marketers, from basic display ads to carousel ads, dynamic ads, canvas ads and even video ads.

Here's how to create a Facebook ad with visuals that win over customers:

1 Showcase Your Products

If you’re trying to sell something, don’t be vague about it.

Your audience is not going to spend too much time on your ad, so you need to capture their attention and pitch your product at first glance.

Instead of using a generic stock image, use a high-quality photo of your product in your ad:

NIKE uses high-quality product photography in Facebook ads

Using high-quality photos of your actual product will make your Facebook ad stand out and get noticed in a sea of generic, low-quality images.

It will also have a much bigger impact than an unoriginal image or a few boring lines of text.

If you want to promote multiple products, you can use Facebook’s Carousel ad format, which lets you showcase up to 10 visuals within a single ad.

Carousel ads are great for drawing attention to the variety of products you offer, and they tend to stand out more than generic display ads.

Better yet, they're interactive. Users can swipe to see the rest of your products. This automatically makes the ad more effective and engaging.

Sephora uses carousel ads to showcase multiple products

Product photography in Facebook ads works great for businesses selling physical products, like books, clothing, shoes and accessories.

But what if you’re trying to sell a service or a virtual product?

If you’re selling eBooks, for example, you can create mock-ups that showcase the cover—and even the first page—of your eBook to attract customers.

You can also create original visuals using elements that are closely associated with your product or service.

This wedding photography business is using some of their best photos in their ad to showcase the quality of their services:

Wedding photographer showcasing their work on Facebook ads

2 Use Icons and Illustrations

For most B2B services or SaaS companies, product photography isn’t always an option.

But this doesn’t mean you’re doomed to use stock images. You can always use illustrations and original graphics to get your point across!

In most cases, illustrations can actually perform better than generic stock photos.

For one, they’re original, customized and more relatable to your audience. You can be creative, add humor and use personalized graphics to grab attention and communicate your message.

Here’s how Mailchimp uses quirky illustrations in their Facebook ad:

Mailchimp uses illustrations in Facebook ads

If you want to go the extra mile, you can also incorporate icons into your ad visual. They’re catchy and you can customize the design to be consistent with your color scheme.

Another perk of using icons is that they can help you save a lot of space by replacing text in some areas.

Pro-tip: If you're using multiple icons in one visual, make sure you pick a consistent icon style. Using different styles can lower the aesthetic appeal of your ad and tarnish your brand image.

You can easily create beautiful Facebook ad visuals with icons and graphics using a tool like Visme.

GetResponse uses icons in their Facebook ads

3 Choose the Right Color Scheme

Colors are more important than you think. They can decide the difference between a successful ad and one that just gets lost in the noise.

Before you jump on the ad-designing train, consider the platform’s existing color scheme. Since Facebook’s feed is mostly blue and white, use dark or bright colors to make your ad pop.

Here’s an ad visual with a poppin’ color scheme:

AirAsia's bright color scheme makes this Facebook ad pop

If you make a Facebook ad using the same color scheme as the platform, it might cause your ad to blend in with the rest of the feed and get ignored by scrolling users.

The ad above uses a bright red color in contrast with Facebook's white and blue, which makes it immediately noticeable.

An ineffective Facebook ad visual would use too much white space or not have enough visual content to offer.

Also, don’t forget to create a Facebook ad visual with a sharp contrast between the background and the elements you place over it.

If you’re using a dark background, make sure you use a light font on top—this makes the text more noticeable and easier to read, like this:

Facebook ads with high-contrast backgrounds stand out more

There are other factors to keep in mind before choosing the right color scheme for your ad.

For instance, avoid using colors that clash with your brand image.

Also, don’t forget that every color has a meaning behind it. Before you decide to use a certain color, make sure you know what adjectives people associate it with.

Here’s a handy infographic on color psychology to help you create better Facebook ads:

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4 Tell a Visual Story

Behind every successful Facebook ad, there is a visual with a powerful story.

Don’t just use an image or video for the sake of it—make sure you have a clearly defined purpose behind it.

Think about why you’re creating the Facebook ad in the first place. What do you wish to communicate? It could be anything: showcasing a product, highlighting a benefit or solving a problem.

For image ads, try to use visuals that convey a deeper meaning or something your audience resonates with.

Dollar Shave Club uses visual storytelling to crush gender stereotypes in their Facebook ad:

Dollar Shave Club breaks gender stereotypes with their ad visuals

Your customers don’t want to be sold to. They want to associate themselves with brands that genuinely understand their values, interests and beliefs.

And this is exactly what the ad above does. If you manage to connect with your customers on a personal level, sales will automatically follow.

Pro-tip: You can use a minimal amount of text in your photos to make it easier for your audience to understand your message.

You can also use carousel ads to tell a visual story. In this Facebook ad example, WeWork uses a series of visuals to highlight its various benefits:

WeWork's carousel ad tells a visual story

Another way to incorporate visual storytelling into your Facebook ad is by making use of Instant Experience, formerly known as canvas ads.

Instant Experience lets you create an immersive, interactive ad that takes your audience on a visual journey.

Here’s how Coca-Cola used Instant Experience to introduce its new aluminum bottle:

Coca-Cola using Instant Experience to introduce new aluminum bottle

5 Use Video to Your Advantage

Did you know that people spend five times more on video than on static content on Facebook?

Videos are engaging, interesting and help you tell stories better than most other content types.

In fact, studies show that customers who view videos are 1.81 times more likely to make a purchase than non-viewers!

With Facebook’s video ad format, it’s easier for advertisers to get their message across and connect emotionally with their audience.

Here are some tips to help you get the best results out of your video ads:

  • Keep your videos short. Facebook recommends 15 seconds or less. People don’t have the time to watch never-ending sponsored content. If you want to grab attention, do it in the first few seconds.
  • Make sure your video makes sense without audio. Most people disable autoplay with sound. We recommend using text overlays or subtitles to ensure your video is just as effective on mute.
Additional Tips for Maximizing Your Ad’s Performance

While visuals are super important, you can’t completely ignore all the other factors involved in making your Facebook ad a success.

Advertising on Facebook has gotten a lot tougher in the past few years, especially because of the increasing competition.

Along with creating stunning visuals that stand out of the crowd, you need to make sure your ads :

  • Actually land in front of the right audience
  • Convince them to take action

Here are some non-visual tips to help you maximize your ad’s performance:

1 Ad Copy

Visuals might be more important, but never underestimate the power of compelling copy.

Great ad copy can boost your ad’s success by a huge margin, especially if it ties in with your visual story. Here are some characteristics of effective ad copy:

  • It’s short and sweet
  • It offers value
  • It instills a sense of urgency
  • It reduces uncertainty and builds trust
2 Call-to-Action (CTA)

Always make sure your ad includes a compelling CTA, which is a phrase or button that prompts them to take action.

No matter how beautiful your ad is, it won’t bring you any tangible results if users simply don’t know what to do once they’ve seen it.

Showcasing your product? Throw in a "Shop Now" button. Promoting a contest? Ask users to "Register to Win!"

Here’s how Marketo accompanies their Facebook ad with a CTA encouraging users to download a free sample:

Marketo's call-to-action example

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3 Targeting

This one is a no-brainer: Your ad will never be effective if it’s not visible to your target customers. Good thing Facebook has tons of targeting options to help you tailor your ads to appear in front of the right audience.

We recommend customizing your ad for different customer segments. You can tweak the colors, tone of voice, CTAs and the message to get a better response from each segment.

You can also intersect interests to target a niche, and potentially profitable, customer segment.

In this Facebook ad example, flower shops can target adult men around special holidays to prompt them into buying a gift for their significant other:

Flower shop's targeted Facebook ad

4 Ad Placement

The success of your ad also depends on where users see it. There are several areas on Facebook where you can place your ad, but you need to optimize it for each one.


Your ads will appear in your audiences’ news feeds on both desktop and mobile. Do note that mobile feeds show less ad copy than desktop feeds, so make sure you keep it concise.

Right Column

Your ads will appear on the right side of users’ screens. This type of placement is only visible to desktop users, which is why it’s cheaper than the other options.

Since images are smaller and text is less readable in this placement, it works better with customers who already know about your business.

5 A/B Testing

Don’t put all your eggs into one basket—or a single ad design.

Always split test multiple ad versions to find out what gets you better results. You might be surprised by how much you don’t know about your audience.

You can split test copy, CTAs, visuals and colors. Pick the version that performs the best and go full steam ahead with it!

Your Turn

Learning how to create a Facebook ad that gets results isn't as hard as it looks. You just need to find out what works with your audience and grab attention with the right visuals. This article will help you get started.

What strategies do you use to create winning visuals for your ads? Which ad format on Facebook is your absolute favorite?

Feel free to share your thoughts, questions and suggestions in the comments section below!

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Design reflects the world around us. Visual trends are almost always linked to the economic and political changes taking place all around the globe. It affects more areas than we can imagine, from fashion to pop culture, music, graphic design, product design and so on.

We’ve rounded up highlights from design authorities like Shutterstock or Pantone to give you a summary. Also, let’s see how brands and designers are already embracing these design trends in their communication strategies for 2019.

1 90s Nostalgia

Everything that’s old is new again? Can we start talking about nostalgic marketing? It seems like lately, we’ve all been nostalgic for the 90s decade, “the good old days.”

And even Google knows we’re nostalgic about this decade. Why do I say that? Because in their 2018 Christmas campaign for Google Assistant, we see Macaulay Culkin being "home alone" again.

Also, have you seen any FRIENDS t-shirts lately? Ugly big sneakers? It seems like it all started with the Pokemon Go hysteria.

From 90s pop culture Instagram accounts to TV show-inspired merchandise and a lot of golden leopard skin, the 90s influence is here to stay as one of the biggest design trends of 2019—but with a modern twist. Again, whether we like it or not, we’ll probably see this design trend everywhere.

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2 Zine Culture

You may not necessarily know what a zine is, but that’s okay because zines are in no way mainstream.

An interesting fact is that zines have been around since the 70s and 80s when they were used to promote punk music in a time when this genre received little to no interest. It’s a type of publication that can give anyone a space to express themselves. Zines are mainly associated with protests, movements and minority voices. Social movements like Black Lives Matter Portland launched a zine to express their work and beliefs.

But as of recently, zines are making a modern-day comeback, mainly due to Millennials who are looking for new ways of expressing themselves.

While zines clearly show that print is not dead, many modern-day zinesters are looking for ways to create and spread zines online. For example, people now share zines through Instagram accounts.

Zines are a major design trend of 2019 because they facilitate personalized content. Whether you have some bold ideas or certain interests, there might be other people out there with the same interests as yours. Why not share your opinions with the entire world through a creative zine?

3 Environmental Responsibility

Do you remember the famous photo of the tiny seahorse cradling a pink cotton bud in murky water? That was a major turning point that made an entire world realize the dangers of plastic waste. But it got even more serious when two Superbowl ads from 2017 were not about beer but about water.

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A post shared by Justin Hofman (@justinhofman) on Sep 12, 2017 at 8:28am PDT

The desire to connect with nature and be more responsible is directly connected with consumer behavior.

In 2019, more and more countries and brands are taking a public stand to be as eco-friendly as possible, so it makes total sense to include conscious consumerism as one of the top 10 design trends of 2019.

We’ll see more plastic alternatives than ever before, from reusable containers for ice cream or deodorant to bamboo toothbrushes and silver straws.

Brands like Seed Phytonutrients, part of the L’oreal group, has already jumped on the recyclable packaging bandwagon.

4 Pantone Coral

Directly linked with environmental responsibility, Pantone chose coral pink as 2019's Color of the Year. It’s the color of underwater reefs; a color that embodies a yearning to reconnect with nature.

Are brands willing to let go of the Millennial pink that was seen everywhere these past few years? We might say that! Coral orange is being used in all kinds of products, from cosmetic packaging to smartphones, headphones and sneakers.

5 Neon Typography

Designers are not letting go of the 80s or 90s influence in their work. And who doesn’t love a good neon sign to communicate a bold message?

No wonder this trend is on the rise in 2019. In an over-saturated environment, the battle for attention is getting more and more fierce, so designers and artists have to find new ways to get noticed.

This design trend is all about creating a glowing, futuristic light where you wouldn’t expect it to be. Of course, we’ve already seen this in home design, but in 2019, neon typography is also being used on more traditional canvases such as book covers.

6 3D Design and Typography

Talking about fun design trends of 2019, 3D typography seems to be everywhere lately. These compositions seem to jump right off the page, making it almost impossible to look away.

Here are a few brands who have already embraced this trend in their designs.

Adobe Photoshop used 3D visuals to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Photoshop:

When it comes to 3D typography in 2019, the cherry on top of the cake is clearly 3D food typography. Playful fonts that imitate food are a great way to incorporate 3D technology into your designs to give it a savory look.

7 Prism Design

The more colors, the merrier! The whole spectrum of the rainbow is the perfect playground for all brave designers in 2019. And this year, playing with bright colors is done through geometry. Prism as a design trend is all about bold, dazzling rainbows that showcase the power of colors as a design tool.

But as creative as this trend may seem, designers need to pay attention to carefully create harmonious compositions when working with a multitude of colors.

8 Creative Democracy

Did you know that 43% of consumers say that a brand’s values may drive purchase intention?

It’s all about relevant content and visuals in 2019. Speaking to individual clients should be every brand’s main objective. In order to stand out on social media, try out new, creative methods that inspire consumers to stop and engage.

Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt pic.twitter.com/SRWkMIDdaO

— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018

So when we see brands and influencers taking stands on political, gender equality or cultural issues, it’s a sign that in 2019, all brands should have a unique tone of voice. Using bold, brave and creative visuals will help brands communicate meaningful, more impactful messages and leave long-lasting impressions.

The biggest challenge for brands in 2019 is to take a stand, while remaining authentic at the same time.

9 Art-Inspired Collages

Collages have been around for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that the art of the collage was made popular by Pablo Picasso. Today, in 2019, modern-day collages inspired by art paintings are making a strong comeback.

Many artists have taken to Instagram to share their collage art with other industry members. Some of them use classical works of art and give it a satirical twist.

So, if you’re looking for new ways to engage with your target audience, you may want to make use of the art of the collage. With all the do-it-yourself, digital tools available today, it’s so easy to combine different images, textures, typography and other elements to create stunning collages.

10 Indian Patterns

This year, people will start to consciously seek balance through nature, as technology’s impact over our hectic lives becomes more powerful than ever. Designers are focusing a lot more on visual elements and images with natural elements and messages of spiritual wellness.

Indian culture is known for highlighting nature and spiritual well-being. Through its rituals, traditional practices, religion and arts, Indians have always lived in harmony with nature.

The art of Kalamkari is one of the biggest design trends of this year, as predicted by Shutterstock.

It’s the art that combines complicated Indian patterns and motifs with natural colors like khaki or yellow mustard.

Design Trends to Come

What design trends do you predict will take the world by storm in the coming years? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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The past few years have seen a massive boom in influencer marketing.

In fact, most brands and advertisers now consider influencers as an integral part of their content marketing.

These social celebrities offer an effective channel for content delivery and have proven to bring better results than most other marketing platforms.

But social media influencer marketing is not a static concept — it’s constantly evolving over time with changing consumer behavior, new technology and unpredictable market dynamics.

If your brand wants to keep up, you need to stay updated.

Luckily, we asked the experts to reveal some of the major influencer marketing trends likely to dominate this year.

Check out our infographic summary of this post below. Or keep scrolling for a detailed explanation of each trend, with examples!

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1 Increasing Budgets

Last year, 39% of marketers planned to increase their influencer marketing budgets.

This year, the figure has jumped to almost twice as much!

According to Mediakix, an influencer marketing agency, nearly two-thirds of marketers plan on increasing their influencer marketing budgets in 2019.

This is solid proof of the growing confidence in the power of influencers.

The reason behind it is simple: high ROI.

Mediakix also revealed that 89% of marketers claim to get equal or better returns from influencer marketing as compared to other marketing channels!

What does this mean for brands and advertisers?

Get ready to spend more this year on influencer marketing – because if you don’t, your competitors will.

2 The Power of Video

Where do you think the most powerful influencers work their magic?

Research shows that Instagram is at the top of the influencer marketing game this year, followed by YouTube.

Here’s a simple reason why: video.

According to Mediakix, three out of five of the most effective content types for influencer marketing are video: Instagram Story, YouTube Video and Instagram Video.

Long gone are the days when people chose static images over video because of bandwidth issues and slow loading times.

Even developing countries and budget-friendly smartphones have now caught up with high-speed internet, 5G and uninterrupted video buffering.

And let’s not forget that video is the most in-demand content type this year. In fact, Cisco predicts that video will be responsible for 82% of all online traffic by 2022.

This is exactly why Instagram’s latest features — including IGTV, Live Video, and Stories — have been so popular among influencers in various niches.

3 Risky Business

Brands are no longer interested in partnering up with "safe" influencers.

Instead, they now prefer to take risks and reach out to controversial influencers – simply because the latter offer them higher engagement rates.

CoverGirl named James Charles as the first male cover "boy":

Following suit, Maybelline partnered up with the first-ever male ambassador Manny Gutierrez:

In fact, even giant corporations like Billboard, MTV and Audi are now choosing to work with edgy influencers, like Shane Dawson, Sonja Reid and Danielle Bregoli (a.k.a. Bhad Bhabie) — only because they want to give customers a raw, authentic opinion of their brand.

This doesn’t really come as a surprise.

Consumers don’t want to be sold to – they trust influencers because of their honesty and transparency.

Likewise, influencers are extremely cautious when it comes to sharing sponsored content. They prefer to stay as authentic as possible to sustain the credibility they’ve worked so hard to build.

4 The Changing Social Media Influencer

Remember the time when only Instagrammers with over 50k followers were considered social media influencers?

Then came the age of micro- and nano-influencers: highly niche accounts with a small, but loyal, following.

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In 2019, the number of followers might not relevant at all.

The ‘influencer’ of today is pretty much anyone who people look up to – from a makeup-junkie who started a channel in her bedroom to a mainstream celebrity.

Let’s take nano-influencers — people with between 1,000 and 10,000 followers — as an example.

These accounts are sought after by simply because of their authenticity and high engagement rates.

In fact, their lack of fame is what makes them so influential. They are normal people who consumers can actually relate to on a personal level.

And since they don’t have a large following, it’s easier for them to directly engage with their fans through comments and direct messages.

On the other hand, Oscar-nominee Will Smith has over 25 million followers on Instagram.

Yet, his personality, credibility and authenticity makes him more influential on social media than most other mainstream celebrities and micro-influencers.

The actor-slash-influencer regularly partners up with brands, like Google Pixel, to create sponsored content:

Ultimately, this trend reveals how the most powerful social media influencers are those who are truly able to relate to their audiences, keep it real and organically earn people's trust, regardless of their popularity or number of followers.

5 Social Media Entrepreneurs

Social media influencer marketing used to be all about big brands partnering up with social media celebrities to promote their products.

Recently, though, more influencers-turned-entrepreneurs have started to focus on growing their own brands instead of relying solely on promoting other businesses, like Huda Beauty and Jeffree Star.

Huda Kattan, for example, uses a mix of platforms — specifically Instagram — to share tutorials of makeup looks created using her own beauty products.

For marketers, this poses a huge challenge.

To get influencer-entrepreneurs to promote your brand, it’s important to create innovative content that integrates your products with the influencer’s own brand, instead of completely replacing it.

Gen Z influencer, Emma Chamberlain, recently partnered up with the virtual shopping mall app — Dote — to debut her new clothing line.

Emma Chamberlain - Gen Z influencer

This is a great example of how brands can build mutually beneficial partnerships with Instagram entrepreneurs.

6 Long-Term Partnerships

More brands are now looking to establish long-term relationships with social media influencers, instead of going for just one-off promotions.

According to Shane Barker, digital strategist and influencer consultant:

Brands and marketers should focus on building strong, long-term relationships with micro-influencers who are the right fit for your brand and niche.

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Long-term partnerships with social media influencers have recently started appearing in the form of co-created product lines, especially in the beauty industry.

Morphe's special edition palette co-created with Jaclyn Hill

Brands are also increasingly opting to collaborate with influencers based on a social cause.

Eco-clothing brand Boyish Jeans partners with Instagram influencers

This is because marketers have finally realized the immense potential of communicating an authentic, consistent story to their audiences, which helps to build stronger brand associations over time.

7 Innovative Content

For brands and marketers, the key to making it big in the social media influencer marketing world is to move fast – and creatively.

Instead of doing what everybody else is doing, brands need to be innovative and think outside of the box for new ways to reach their audiences.

Brands need to be innovative and lead the way. You need to be the first to do it, or else you’re last.

Click to tweet

It’s important to remember that social media influencers are just one of the tools at your disposal. You need to have something special to share with or through them.

Boxed Water, an environmentally-conscious bottled water brand, has done an excellent job at innovation.

Instead of just reaching out to influencers and asking them to promote their brand, they created the "Retree Project." Each time someone posts a picture of their product along with the hashtag "retree," Boxed Water plants two trees.

The company reached out to a number of Instagram influencers for their campaign, and the results have been amazing. So far, they’ve planted over 600,000 trees in the U.S.

8 Sifting Through the Noise

Influencer marketing is on the rise, but so is the number of influencers.

With so much competition, brands are now extra careful about the influencers they choose to associate themselves with.

In fact, 61% of marketers face difficulty in choosing the right influencers for their campaigns.

Marketers now need to make sure that the personal brand, style, and values of the influencer they pick is aligned with their brand.

It doesn’t matter how many followers or engagement they have.

What matters is if they can actually tell your brand’s story effectively, without hurting your brand image in the process.

Case in point: PewDiePie’s ill-advised, anti-Semitic humor caused him to lose major deals with Disney’s Maker Studios and YouTube.

Also, partnering up with big social media influencers isn’t always good for your business.

It’s very easy to get lost in the crowd if your brand isn’t as recognizable as all the other brands an influencer works with.

This is another reason why new, local, or niche brands often choose to partner with nano-influencers initially.

Once they’ve created enough brand awareness and engagement, they can then move on to increase their budgets and partner with micro- or mega-influencers.

Social Media Influencers in 2019

Influencer marketing is here to stay.

In fact, it’s going to get a lot bigger (and better) in 2019.

Consumers don’t want to be sold to by brands and companies anymore. They want to be advised by their friends, families, and role-models — a.k.a. people they can trust.

And this is exactly where the new, evolved, and extremely powerful influencer marketing is headed.

Brands need to be credible, transparent, and authentic if they hope to survive, and partnering up with influencers who share these same values is the way to go.

What do you think is the biggest influencer marketing trend this year? Let us know your thoughts and comments!

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