Integrating your visual strategy and social media strategy is more important than ever for marketers. To give some essential design advice to social media marketers, Dustin W. Stout stopped by #bufferchat.

Check out the full Storify curation of the chat here!

design tips

Why should marketers know basic design principles?

From Dustin:

  • “The same reason they to know basic fashion principles. If you look a mess you’ll be perceived as such.”
  • “People want to share things that make them look good. Why would they share something visually unappealing?”

Other great insights:

  • “Because marketing (unless purely audio) is very much based on visuals. Not just the message but how it’s presented.” @avizuber
  • “It’s just great practice for designers/marketers to understand each other. Improves communication and efficiency.” @abowersock
  • “Because design influence conversion and experience, which marketers need to have for success.” @KevinWaugh
  • “Marketing is all about getting your message seen-The better design, the easier the message will be delivered…and received.” @apartmentalist


What are the most important design rules to follow?

From Dustin:

    • “Balance (symmetry), Framing (consistent whitespace), Contrast (ability to discern between subject/background).”


    Other great insights:

    • “Stay within your brand guidelines, be consistent, and have a second set of eyes! Analysis paralysis can set in pretty easily” @marymallard


    • “Know your audience, rule of thirds, color theory, hierarchy in layout, proper typography pairings (!)…just to name a few.” @mandy_stark


  • “Legibility and proper, relevant imagery are two things I think are super important! Oh, and keeping things fun!” @misterfeeney



    • “One of my very first design lessons (in high school newspaper!) “Never have someone looking off page into space.” ” @TheNameIsCasie




What should marketers know about copyright?

From Dustin:

    • “It’s more important than you think. Value people’s work & respect their rights. See


  • “Always err on the side of caution. Ask before using som1’s work if it’s not clearly marked FREE to use.”



Other great insights:

    • “A basic understanding is crucial. Basically, don’t borrow, steal, or use anything unless you’re positive you can.” @EmilyaCarlton


  • “Find an image that’s legal to take or get creative! Make your own image for your brand & work off that w/ your design team.” @outsider_nyc



  • “The whole lot! Know too many that have been burned due to basic errors. Always verge on the side of caution!” @mike_mcgrail




 What are your favorite design tools or apps?

From Dustin:


  • “Notable mentions are @canva & @vsco – if I found myself w/o Photoshop, all I would need are those two.”



  • “I should have clarified since I’m a professional designer I use Photoshop and Illustrator all day long.”



Other great tools and apps mentioned:





















































Where do you go to find stock photos?

From Dustin:


Other great stock photo sites:




































More resources:









Who do you follow for design inspiration?

From Dustin:




Other people to follow:














  • ” for design inspiration, I follow @terrylwhite @paultrani @Robdobi @Carrot @buffer and I’m on @Behance” @The_ChrisBryant









  • “All these guys in this list! 🙂 …” @vvbellur



  • “Huge fan of @Pinterest and @thefwa for design inspiration. @dribbble can be good too.” @JoshStAubin





  • “I like @Visually too; great company with lots of amazing and inspiring content too” @HireQ_inc



  • “I love everything that @TheKatieAHall does. that girl knows design. Shes an awesome friend too. You should all follow her.” @domgarrett




Where can you go for more design tips?

From Dustin:


Other great resources:






















Books to check out:






Thank you to everyone who joined in!  Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday on Twitter for the latest chat and advice!   Image sources: IconFinder, Blurgrounds, Death to the Stock Photo

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Written by Nicole Miller

Community Champion at Buffer 🙂 When I’m not connecting with amazing community members, you can find me writing, reading or blogging about my urban homesteading adventures with 15 chickens, four ducks, two dogs and a horse.