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How can Museums create eye-catching marketing graphics and video?

Creating content for your museum that tells a story is key to developing a marketing narrative. Social media posts that include images and video have been proven to perform better than posts that are solely text-based. However, it can often be difficult to conjure up high-quality images to use. Many smaller organisations do not have the budget to have a photographer at every event. It can be easy to lean upon bad photographs and compromise brand imagery just to make posts a more engaging, but this is a bad practice. It’s better to use NO imagery than to use bad imagery. Thankfully, there are a myriad of graphic design and video tools available to those who look for them. 

This article will be a full-on look into the world of creating engaging visual content on a budget. Strap yourself in because we’re going to cover photos, infographics, videos, memes, and animations; a digital marketers treasure chest. 

We’ll begin by introducing some of the beginner-friendly (and mostly free!) applications that we’d suggest trying first, and then we’ll talk about some of the “Big Dogs” aka, the applications that are industry-standard but take some prior knowledge and confidence to operate.

Photo editing – Canva
A very popular image editing and graphics creation platform. A viable alternative to graphic design software like Adobe InDesign and photoshop. There are preset templates including ones that are optimised for social media posts and brand kit options. Not only do they offer lots of design options and support, but they also offer guidance in terms of their own Canva “Design School.” Courses are offered on the following subjects: Social media mastery, graphic design basics, business branding and presentations.

Not only do they offer digital design and editing, but they also offer print services as well. They had preset templates for everything from letterhead to invitations and flyers. This is a great way to keep branding consistent; to go with a singular design platform. 

The free plan (Canva) includes access to over 8,000 templates, the ability to upload your own photos and 1GB storage for photos and assets. These basic assets are great to use to become acquainted with the brand and then decide if you’d like to further invest. 

The Canva Pro package at $12.95/mo USD includes all of the above as well as unlimited design folders, team functionalities, unlimited storage as well as customisable options like colours, fonts and resizing. Excitingly, the option to export designs as animated GIFs is also an option! There is also customer priority support which is helpful for users that are just starting out! 

Canva comes highly recommended from us for small to medium sized organisations in the sector, particularly those that don’t have a massive budget for Creative Cloud or the need/capability for a graphic designer.

Animation – Crello

That’s right, you CAN create animation on a budget and with no prior experience. Crello offers users the ability to choose from 6,500 design templates with a range of 4,000 free photos and images. All of these are pre-approved for commercial use as well – and those perks are just with the basics plan! 

Most of their users opt for the Pro package which is $7.99/mo USD. This includes the ability to edit graphics AND video, to have unlimited fonts and images uploads as well as free access to 25,000 design templates and 500,000 free photos and videos. There are other benefits to this place like the ability to animate elements and resize as well.

Animation is a great way to add a light-hearted quality to campaigns and inject some energy. If you are marketing to families and young people, or want to have a youthful vibe to your campaign – we’d recommend giving animation a try. 

GIFs – Giphy
Is it “jiff” or “giff”? however you pronounce it, you will benefit from diving into the world of Giphy. This free platform is full of GIFs that are available for public usage. Upload your own GIFs to the site as well. Using a GIF is a create way to make sure that a post comes across as light-hearted and relatable. Don’t go GIF-crazy and use them with every post. However, you can run entire GIF campaigns (as TATE did with the 1840’s GIF party) and use them to insert wit into posts. 

Infographics – Vengage

With plenty of templates to choose from and an introductory quiz that tailors personalised recommendations based on your industry and needs, Vengage stole our hearts and our most highly-recommended platform for infographic creation. 

To better recommend relevant templates and infographic needs, Vengage begins by asking you to choose one of the following options: 

  • Government
  • Medium Business (51-500)
  • Self-Employed
  • Small Business (<50)
  • School/University
  • Enterprise (>500)
  • Nonprofit/NGO
  • Other

Once that’s sorted, you’ll then be asked to further define your role and choose some templates that suit your taste. All of these steps help to personalise the recommendations that Vengage makes for your infographic needs. 

The platform interface is a simple drag & drop format that is similar to other many other photo-editing platforms. They offer the ability to customise using your own brand colours and fonts which is a definite plus. 

Infographics are a great way to showcase important information in a visually-appealing way. Showcasing important research, making a case for funding and charting organisational or campaign progress all make great infographic. Linking powerful information and statistics to compelling visuals is THE way to take your marketing to the next level and turn up the savvy on your brand profile. 

Storytelling – Adobe Spark

Creating a visual narrative is a daunting task; that’s where Adobe Spark comes into play. This platform offers powerful tools to create stunning graphics, web pages and stories within minutes. Visually convey to your donors what their donation will mean to your organisation. Tell the story of an artist’s progress from start to finish. Document the experience of a student as they go through one of your education courses… There are endless ways to use storytelling as a tool to increase organisational awareness and levels of engagement. 

Adobe Spark makes it easy to tell your stories using thousands of stock photos or syncing up your own personal collections from Adobe Creative Cloud, Lightroom CC, Dropbox and Google Photos. They offer preset templates that are customisable with your own brand elements as well as mobile and web optimisation. 

There is a free starter plan that allows users to create graphics from scratch or to use free templates. The individual plan that is offered at $9.99/mo offers the choice of thousands of free images, the option to work with others on projects, to permanently remove the Adobe Spark watermark from your designs and to access all of the Adobe Fonts and premium templates. 

The next option up is the team package which is offered at $19.99 and includes all that is available within the individual plan plus the ability to manage multiple users under one account. 

Videos – iMovie, Hyperlapse, Boomerang

If you’re operating off of a Mac, then you can use the iMovie application which is actually quite good for clipping together photos or editing together video clips to create a “movie” which isn’t so long and cinematic as it’s counterparts… It can simply be a quick clip or promo video that’s put together to tell a story and promote a certain aspect of your brand.

A versatile and convenient aspect of this application is that it offers you the ability to start a project on your phone and to finish it on your iPad. In other words, projects are easily transferable from device to device so it’s easy to create content on the go. This would work well for smaller organisations that often have a small marketing team and need to create content on the go, to bigger organisations that have traveling marketers that need to capture content and quickly stitch it together and post. 

Hyperlapse is a downloadable app from Instagram (and sadly only available for iOS devices), but it’s worth flagging up here because it makes creating time lapse videos SO easy. The application relies on Instagram’s in-house stabilization making it possible to shoot solid time lapse videos without tripods and other equipment. This app is free – so if you’ve got an iOS capable device, why not give it a try?!

Boomerang is another downloadable app (only available for iOS devices) that allows you to easily create loop videos. It’s optimised for Instagram, but you can use this app to create videos for other platforms as well. You can shoot video or borrow images/video from your own library. We’d recommend downloading this app on a phone and using it to create catching graphics on the go. 

Now that we’ve introduced you to some of the little fish – it’s time to mention the big fish, well dogs… Whatever you call them, these programmes are the industry standard and professional-grade. If you have a big marketing department and are already using this software – that’s great! However, if you are a small marketing department with limited or no experience, we would recommend sticking to the apps above. 

The Big Dogs Graphics & Photos – Adobe InDesign & Adobe Photoshop

Adobe InDesign is a leading graphic design application and is used commonly within small to large organisations within the arts and culture sector. 

The software offers the capability to create stunning content for the web and print with loads of templates to choose from for everything from an event flyer to a multipage magazine.

For teams that are working on creative projects together, InDesign works seamlessly with Adobe InCopy so that writers and editors can all work together on a project at the same time. For both Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, text, colours, graphics and more can be shared with your team members through the shared Creative Cloud Libraries. This is super handy for storing your brand information once it’s been decided and then you can quickly reference it while working on projects. 

Pricing for Adobe InDesign is as follows…

  • £238.42 for the single application 1-year subscription, paid upfront
  • £596.33 for all Creative Cloud Apps 1-year subscription paid upfront

Don’t be started by the enormous price tag – Adobe also offers lots of monthly packages that fit every need and budget. There are options for individuals that start as low as £9.98/mo as well as team options that are offered at £25.29/mo for a single app (per license) or £59.00/mo for all apps (per license).

Adobe Photoshop is a place where you can create AWESOME photos graphics in Photoshop. Sure, you can blur out an imperfection or crop out something unsightly, but you can also masterfully manipulate lighting, background and play around with photo layers. 

There are lots of possibilities within this app and because of its enormity, you’ll always be discovering new capabilities if you decide to invest in this software. 

Photoshop offers a helpful learn & support section that is filled with guidance on everything from getting started with Adobe Photoshop to step by step tutorials on various aspects of the application. 

These applications are only for those who have prior experience, are about to embark on a design course or have LOADS of time on their hands to go through tutorials. These interfaces are not the beginner friendly drag & drop and the technical nature of these platforms can often be super-daunting to those just starting out. 

Unlike Premiere Pro and InDesign, this Adobe application isn’t available for purchase as a single package. It’s only available from the Creative Cloud as a monthly subscription. There are varying price levels dependent on if you’re a student or a business, but the average price for a single Photoshop subscription is around £20/mo. 

The Big Dogs Video – Avid, Premiere Pro & Final Cut Pro

Avid is the industry-standard for media and video editing. It is definitely geared towards those that have the experience and the need for advanced video editing software, but it’s top-notch and a great choice if you know what you’re doing. The control and editing capabilities that AVID offer are extremely comprehensive and cannot be rivaled by any other software.

Pricing for AVID is as follows…

  • £21.00 for a 1-year subscription, paid monthly (committed to one year)
  • £209.00 for a 1-year subscription paid upfront
  • £31.00 for a monthly subscription (paid monthly)

Premiere Pro is another industry-standard, Adobe’s Premiere Pro is a popular alternative to Avid as leading video-editing software. This application has powerful editing software that seamlessly works with other Adobe applications like Adobe Audition for sound and Adobe Photoshop for image editing. 

You can create original video and content for film as well as broadcast and optimise it all for the web as well. 

If you already have Adobe applications and want to give this a go, then we recommend starting with their very helpful tutorials that are sorted by beginner and advanced. They even offer tutorials on content from other video applications to Premiere Pro. 

Adobe’s customer support and forums are top-notch and offer great support for when you are troubleshooting or need to find a certain resource. 

Adobe has also recently launched Adobe Premiere Rush. It’s an application that allows you to create video and edit on the go, whilst switching seamlessly from device to device. Like iMovie, this capability is useful in quickly capturing content on to go, editing it with powerful tools, and then sharing with social channels. Adobe Premiere Rush automatically comes with any purchase of download of Premiere Pro which is pretty cool. 

Pricing for Premiere Pro is as follows…

  • £238.42 for the single application 1-year subscription, paid upfront
  • £596.33 for all Creative Cloud Apps 1-year subscription paid upfront

Final Cut Pro is the industry standard video editing software from Apple. It’s optimised for Macs and works seamlessly with their software and operating systems. It offers advanced multicam editing that automatically syncs up to 64 angles of video with different formats, frame sizes and frame rates. It also features powerful video noise reduction capabilities and advanced colour grading. 

This application is beastly – with a price tag to match. Make sure that you have a confident video editor in the house with prior knowledge and experience of Final Cut Pro before you make this investment. 

Pricing for Premiere Pro is as follows…

  • £299.99 for the application (one-time price)

Parting words

You’ve now got the ideas and tools to create amazing graphics, photos and videos for your marketing channels. Remember the importance of imagery and the lasting impact it can have on an end-user when paired with compelling copy. 

Utilise the tools we’ve gone over in this chapter to create content that is in-line with your brand and helps to further your mission and values. 

If you get stuck and want to seek out further information on how to use any of the platforms, most of them offer customer service and the internet is absolutely riddled with how-to videos and troubleshooting platforms for you to explore. 

Our final advice is to not be daunted, but to dip your toes into the waters of content creation by trialing a few of these apps. You may just find that app that you don’t know how you lived without as it’s completely revolutionized marketing within your organisation. 

About the author – Devon Turner

Devon Turner is an Arts & Culture Writer. She has worked extensively in arts marketing for both the visual arts and performing arts in the US and UK. Now living in London, Devon works in the arts and culture sector and enjoys traveling to visit museums.

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