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Graphic Design Elements that Increase Sales of Digital Products

Introduction

Visually selling digital products like ebooks, online courses, software subscriptions, stock media, and more presents unique design challenges. Lacking physicality, digital items rely heavily on visual presentation to command value in customers’ eyes.

Graphic design improvises dimensionality and perceivable substance. Strategic elements lend digital products enhanced credibility, desirability and urgency driving purchases.

This guide explores graphic design techniques to incorporate on landing pages, listings, promos, and interfaces to boost perceived worth and conversion of intangible digital offerings. Follow these tips to make digital products shoppers can see and feel.

Use Strategic Mockups to Emulate Tangibility

Since digital items lack physical form, smart mockups imply substantive heft. Place product screenshots and previews in context familiar to how customers would engage with tangible equivalents.

Book and Magazine Mockups

Show digital publications upright in hands, on shelves, or stacks as if printed.

Device Mockups

Display app icons and software interfaces on convincing smartphone or computer screens.

Print Mockups

Feature stationery, planner, invitation, and paper item designs overlaid on physical surfaces.

Photo Mockups

Style stock photos with frames, studio backdrops, completed albums, and real-world environments.

Apparel Mockups

Show digital clothing/textile patterns on tangible shirts, fabrics, models, and racks.

Mockups embed intangible purchases in real-world scenarios customers recognize, increasing perceived ownership value.

Stylize Titles With Dimensional and Textured Typography

Type choices carrying texture, depth and natural imperfection increase perceived substance for digital product titles and headlines.

Layered Bevel/Emboss Effects

Mimic light shadows and angles adding dimensionality against the page.

Subtle Paint Textures

Overlays like cloth, wood grain, worn edges, etc. imply physicality.

Distressed Styles

Cracked, scratched, grungy, letterpress styles suggest history.

Handwritten Style Fonts

Mimic the natural rhythm and quirks of human penmanship.

Outlined/Inline Effects

Faux engraved, stamped and etched outlines carry natural intricacy.

Words leaping off the page reinforce value rooted in meaning, not just data.

Spotlight Engaging Lifestyle Photos In Usage

Show digital products actively integrated into the target customers’ aspirational lifestyles through:

Workspace Scenes

Someone using item in their ideal work environment.

Activity Images

Products incorporated into hobbies and interests.

Everyday Moments

Weaving products into mundane routines and habits.

Gatherings

Entertainment, parties, events enhanced by item.

Travel & Outdoor

Vacations, adventures and destinations made better.

Lifestyle context gives purpose and personality to otherwise generic digital goods for easy projection of usage value.

Use Authentic Customer Images To Support Claims

The most powerful visual proof of digital product value comes directly from real satisfied users voluntarily.

Compelling testimonials include:

Candid Photos

Sharing products actively in use rather than posed.

User-Shot Videos

Brief clips demonstrating and reviewing tools.

Workshots and Results

Examples of finished projects and output generated.

Testimonial Quotes

Quote excerpts and highlights call out powerful endorsements.

Ratings and Reviews

Excerpts highlight specific points of praise.

Avatars and Names

Putting faces and details to praise adds relatability.

Let customer results speak volumes through their lens rather than overt marketing language.

Illustrate Complex Concepts Through Charts and Infographics

Visually simplifying complex processes, relationships, and data points helps customers grasp utility quickly without dense text explanations.

Flow Charts

Show sequences and relationships between steps.

Continuums

Map progressions along a spectrum with callouts.

Illustrated Stats

Use size, counts and iconography to show magnitudes.

Concept Maps

Connect and summarize related ideas and subtopics.

Timelines

Sequence major events and milestones evolutionarily.

Diagrams

Visualize parts, connections and hierarchies within systems.

Informative sketches relieving mental fatigue amplify engagement and perceived depth of knowledge.

Feature Cover Art Emulating Physical Books and Products

Even for purely digital items, a skimmable cover helps customers swiftly grasp the core value proposition at a glance like they can with a physical product.

Recommended cover elements:

  • Concise, benefit-focused tagline
  • Primary subject visuals
  • Recognizable style matching the genre/category
  • Author/creator branding
  • Iconic, memorable design elements
  • Color scheme hinting at the content’s tone

While ornamental, a book-like cover captures attention and cements first impressions of what the product will deliver.

Structure Interfaces Around Clear Visual Hierarchy

Guide users’ eyes through clear visual prominence on hierarchy of interface elements so they can quickly scan and navigate digital tools.

Use techniques like:

  • High contrast headline fonts over simpler body text
  • Dividing white space between distinct page sections
  • Matching element sizes and spacing to importance
  • Using borders, color and contrast for grouping related things
  • Intuitive arrangement top-to-bottom and left-to-right by significance

Interfaces mirroring visual relationships found in the physical world feel more intuitive and legible at a glance.

Add Animated Microinteractions to Bring Life

Transitional microanimations breathe liveliness into digital interfaces through details like:

Meaningful Motion

Elements move in ways hinting relationships and results from interactions.

Visual Feedback

Subtle reactions to clicks and other inputs provide dynamic context.

Loading Transitions

Progress bars and visual flourishes make waits feel more responsive.

Hidden Surprises

Whimsical touches like hover reveals reward interaction.

Celebratory Flourishes

Fanfare for completing steps gives achievement feedback.

Animated flourishes transport bland functionality into delightful experiences with personality.

Use Illustrative Product and Process Graphics

Custom flat illustrations help depict abstract concepts, unseen workings, and step-by-step processes driving digital products in engaging graphic ways.

Mascot Characters

Anthropomorphic mascots humanize brands explaining features with humor and wit.

Location Illustrations

Maps, birds-eye-views and cutaway establish settings and context visually.

Sequence Illustrations

Multi-stage graphics demonstrate transitions, journeys and how systems function from end-to-end.

Concept Illustrations

Represent complex, intangible ideas through relatable visual metaphors and symbols.

Literal depictions transcend confusing jargon with instantly graspable graphics clarifying value.

Conclusion

Without the benefit of physicality digital products rely even more heavily on graphic design to increase perceived substance and value. Leveraging mockups, engaging photography, explanatory illustrations, hierarchy, animations and more transforms sterile digital files into tangible-seeming goods conveying worth at a visceral level.

Rather than hope customers take vague marketing claims at face value, allow strategic visuals rooted in real-world textures, emotions and scenarios to tell the story. Savvy digital merchants paint the full picture.

By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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