Messaging and design are like brownies and ice cream. Sure, each can be good on its own, but when you put the two together, their textures, flavors and temperatures play off each other, offering you a one-way ticket to flavor town. In short, they make each other better.
Graphic design is the organization and simplification of an idea that has been artfully arranged. When done right, design can bring your brand’s message to the next level and help you reach your audience more effectively. Most people don’t want to read a word document about why your product is so great, but they may be willing to engage with an image and typography that serves the same purpose.
Design can draw attention to your message, make it easier to understand, add more feeling and personality, and make your message more relatable to your audience. Not to mention, it helps creates consistency in your brand messaging. Visual similarities help build trust and ensure your brand is recognizable. Design builds relevance for your message in ways that messaging alone would struggle to do.
And while both elements, messaging and design, play equally important roles, they shouldn’t be done simultaneously.
Messaging First, Design Second
Most marketers agree that content should be established before designers go to work to create their magic. Why is that? It sets the stage for design to be more than just decoration. When content comes first, your design has meaning.
The message you want to convey to your audience is the most important thing, and your design should support and amplify that message. Now, this doesn’t mean that you’re design has to include text. On the contrary, if the message is strong and evident enough in your design, you may not need to include any copy at all. Your message can be a phrase or a feeling that you want to evoke, and your design is the mechanism by which you deliver it in the best way possible.
Finally, by starting with content first, it usually streamlines processes for the entire marketing team. You’ll likely save time, and your designers will greatly appreciate having a direction to work with.
Design Catches Your Eye
The first way that design builds relevance for your message is a rather obvious one: it draws the eye of the viewer. Unless you’re really getting innovative with typography, it can be difficult to grab your audience’s attention with text alone. Graphics and images can do the work of reeling your audience in so that they’re open to hearing your message. Whether it’s through a pop of color, a shocking photo, or just something new and different, good design makes it harder for people to pass by your message.
Design Improves Accessibility
One of the beautiful things about design is its ability to surpass communication barriers. A thoughtful design can express a message that doesn’t ignore people who speak another language or struggle to read altogether. Especially when you’re trying to reach diverse audiences without having to translate your message into several different languages, a design that strategically omits language can really pay off.
Design can also make your message more accessible by distilling complex information into something simpler and more digestible. Infographics are a great example, as you’re able to use graphics in place of longer-form text that would normally take much more space and time to read. With a little creativity, your message can reach more people through design, and that’s a huge win for your marketing efforts.
Design adds Feeling and Personality
While text can conjure feeling through voice and cadence, it can be difficult for it to come through on its own, particularly in short-form writing for print or display ads. Design adds a few more tools to the toolbox when it comes to evoking feelings. The feeling of a design can be altered through a variety of elements: color, soft or sharp lines, clutter or white space, typography, and many more.
Color plays a big role in evoking emotions, and scientific studies on this topic have trickled down into the hands of designers and marketers, giving them more to think about when selecting colors for logos and advertisements.
If you want to dive in deeper on this topic, we covered these tools a bit more extensively in our blog, “Connecting With Your Audience Through Graphic Design.”
Design Reflects Your Audience
Another way design builds relevance for your message is by reflecting and relating to your audience. Your audience is more likely to pay attention to your message if they feel like it’s for them. For example, you can demonstrate that you know your audience through your design by including images of people who look like your target audience, or by referencing things in pop culture that a specific group would recognize. Age groups, for example, have different design styles that they’re more likely to be attracted to. And when you relate to your audience, they’re more likely to listen to and connect with your message.
If you enjoyed this edition of PRIME Pulse, take a look at some of our other related articles:
- 4 Steps Toward a Better Content Marketing Strategy
- 5 Reasons Your Website is Never Really Done
- 10 Ways to Communicate Empathy and Authority Amidst Crisis
- 4 Reasons Your Messaging is Falling Flat
- The How-To on Facebook Marketing Campaigns