Creative and Useful Design Tips for Management
Choose designs that suite your customers.
Good design is good marketing. I often see management go through designs we’ve suggested or surf the internet showing us what they want to see in their website, and I’ve noticed that they often gravitate towards what they like as opposed to what the customer wants to see. In this stage management seems to forget they they aren’t selling the products to themselves but an entirely different demographic. To have a successful design you have to know your target demographic and address this clearly to your design team. A successful design will bring in new customers that don’t normally go for what you sell. And naturally that brings in more revenue and profits for you and your design team.
Consistency is a company’s best weapon
A mnemonic device is something you associate with an idea or information to help you remember that little nugget you’re trying to memorize. Your brand is your mnemonic device for your company. The reason so much money is spent on marketing is because Aflac wants every time you hear a quack to think about their insurance or every time you see yellow arches you think McDonald’s. These messages are less effective the more often they are changed. There is no reason behind a website redesign if there are no plans to redesign your business cards, flyers, or other promotional material. The rule of thumb with changing your brand identity is don’t.
What worked five years ago doesn’t necessarily work today
The reality is things change. If you keep coming back to doing a full throttle brand re-imagining and have the budget ready to change your entire marketing package, then let’s jump all in. Truth is, that if done correctly, a redesign should last years. Yet I still see company management keep going back to the drawing board and redesigning their website all too often. I blame following trends. Another word for trends: fads. Fads come and go. Likewise you shouldn’t demand that rounded glossy buttons look good (see point number one) and they should be used throughout the site. A good design falls in that meaty middle between predicting the future and designing decade agnostic. The example I always love is CNN.com. Layout and usability are always easy to consider – how a customer reads hasn’t changed since the birth of the World Wide Web. CNN.com hasn’t changed their layout since I can remember. They’ve always had that red header, navigation, their meat and potatoes, and then the footer. The predicting the future part, that’s where subtly and vision help. Very little changes on CNN.com from revision to revision. They might add a gradient here or there or add glass buttons, but all of it is subtle and actually are quite unnoticeable.
Trust the designer
If I could sum up this whole article in one point it would be to trust the designer. We live in a society of extreme technology – and it’s only going to increase. Every thing you could want is at the tips of your fingers. The biggest challenge designing today is that every management team already has a copy of Photoshop and has read every tutorial on the internet about how to remove the background from a picture. Too many people in management think that’s all it takes to be a designer. Often, to put it in perspective, I try to describe being a designer akin to being a mechanic. I can go out and buy a wrench and watch a transmission teardown on YouTube, but that doesn’t mean you want me to take a look at that rattling in your engine. Some might think that is a little extreme; cars are worth thousands. But so is any good design. What’s the difference between a $500 website and a $10,000 website? The company that pays the $10,000 actually listens to the designer.