Why Design Matters?
( Design is a broad field, we refer to design here as multimedia design which includes images or graphics, video, and audio. )
Design is Leverage
The most basic unit of a marketing effort is when a person is promoting a product or service to another person, whether it is in-person or through a phone call. What happens when you record a video promoting your product or service and send it to your leads? You have leveraged an effort. Leverage multiplies and transcends our effort. Without it, our single initiative will only turn into a single output. Our effort’s potential value and reach will be limited, and its effect will only happen when it is being conducted. Design is an example of leverage. For example, once you have designed and built a website people can visit and revisit the site to learn more about your product and service. Another example of leverage is — The internet. And it is perhaps, the greatest leverage in our modern time. It allows anyone to connect to anyone in the world. Through the internet — websites, apps, social media became the “storefront” of every business in the digital space, and the method of communication on this leverage largely consists of — visual communication.
In summary leverage multiplies and transcends our:
- Labor — We can turn a single input (idea, message, etc.) into multiple outputs.
- Time — It can be accessed anytime or has extended its accessibility.
- Value — By producing a video of an idea, it can be rewatched, thus we have multiplied its value.
- Reach — Our single effort can reach multiple people.
Design Optimize User Experience
Imagine you own several small businesses, one of which is a coffee shop. What do you think you’ll do to attract customers, and convince them that it’s worthwhile to do business with you again? (aside from offering great tasting coffee) One way is through — improving the user’s experience. Perhaps, make the coffee shop’s ambiance cozy, neat, then add some soothing music, and make your menu and food posters: presentable, appealing, and clear, so that people will know what kind of coffee you offer and get them enticed. Make your staff and the environment look hygienic so that customers will know that cleanliness and safety are your priority in doing your service. Broadly the experiences we want to craft here are to make our customers feel relaxed, focused, and safe.
Let’s discuss another one of your businesses, this time, it’s a nightclub. What do you think will you do to attract customers, and convince them that it’s worth it to make business with you again? Make the place fun, exciting, lively, and loud. Broadly the experiences we want to craft here are for our customers to make them feel energized and enjoy.
As we’ve established earlier — websites, apps, and social media are the “storefront” of your business in the digital space. Similar to what we did to the physical spaces of our businesses, we craft and deliver the experience customers want and need to our business, to attract and convince them that it’s worthwhile to do business with us. In the digital space, design is one of the powerful tools we can use to craft the experience for our customers.
The needs that can we associate more with the rational parts of us.
Such as these testimonials: “ The service offers a great value for its price”, and “ I accomplish my goal faster with your product.”
The needs that can we associate more with the emotional parts of us.
Such as these testimonials: “ I feel empowered”, “ I feel I belong.”
here is an example of a Customer Experience Pyramid
Designers are Writers of Visual Communication
Writers use writing principles to optimize written communication to achieve a goal: to persuade, entertain, educate their target audience. Similarly, designers use design principles to optimize visual communication to achieve a goal with their audience.
I’ve worked with a company whose product is an e-learning platform. I was part of their animation team. I was with people that have been doing animation for years. And in the team, there was a young stand-out, younger than most of our designers and animators, and he was consistently doing amazing work. I was impressed and got curious. How is he doing better than everyone with longer experience using the same tools? What sets him apart? What is he doing differently? Someone can say it’s just talent, and that is why, but I went to inspect, and found the answer. In animation, there are 12 principles of animation developed by the ‘old men’ of Walt Disney Studios, It is now become widely used as a fundamental theory for all artists working with animation. That was when I realized, what he did that beats experience — is it his knowledge of the principles and his ability to implement those into his work that made the difference.
Here are examples of design principles:
Art vs Design
Art and design both use visual communication to convey information, idea, or meaning to evoke emotions, thinking, and experience to their audience. Their difference is in their essence. Art is expressional and not compelled with a goal while Design is intentional and goal-oriented under the context of business goals. For example, promoting a product, improving a product experience, or to attract clients and increase sales.
A Simple Framework for Design
When we strategize, broadly, we want to accomplish a goal or solve a problem.
Empathy is a talent. It is one of the mechanisms we use when watching movies. Empathy allows us to enjoy the emotional journey of a movie as it unfolds without thinking much about it, but to be more empathetic, similar to watching a movie — first, we must tune in.
We use empathy to facilitate our user’s emotional needs. And help us decide on what principles to use to bridge the gap between our strategy and the target market’s emotional needs.
Design principles exist across design disciplines such as photography ( composition, usage of light), graphic design ( color theory, layout), animation ( easing, squash & stretch, anticipation, etc.) Think of it as the fundamental building block of a great design.
We use thinking to facilitate our user’s functional needs. And help us decide on what principles to use to bridge the gap between our strategy and the target market’s functional needs.
The target market is the people that we want to serve. The people we want to focus our communication to. We want to figure out what are their functional and emotional need to serve them better.