DESIGN FOR THE 21st CENTURY

Creating a following, growing your business, making a sale—whatever you’re looking to achieve using design and advertising—is harder today more than ever. The following points I’ve identified as reasons for this:

1. The average attention span of anyone online is 8 seconds on any piece of marketing
2. Individuals use multiple applications and platforms to find and get what they’re looking for and more often than not they’re connected.
3. The user has more power than the brand that is advertising to them (think about reviews)
3. People are consuming thousands of messages a day via text, email, TV and the web
5. Small mobile screens are now the number one format to digest information.


WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR DESIGN?

In light of the above I propose that design today needs to be

a. compelling (addressing the needs and aspirations of the consumer to capture the attention)
b. concise (or straight to the point, for time reasons)
c. cohesive (the exact same look, sound and feel across all platforms)
d. functional (if users can’t get what they need quickly they’ll find some place they can)

Wherever possible I see working in the following order to create design that achieves results:

1. DEFINE

Why do I/does this exist?
What is the vision/preferred outcome?
Who is this aimed at?
What are their needs?
Who else is doing this?
What kind of experience do we want to create?
Can we test out our ideas?

2. DESIGN

Brand System Design*
Brand Narrative Design (customer facing)
Brand Style Guide
Brochures and leave-behinds
Business Stationery (letterhead, envelopes and business cards)
Website/Sales funnel
User experience design
User interface design
Environmental graphics
Wayfinding
Product design
Vehicle signage
Uniforms
Advertising
Packaging

3. DEVELOP

Marketing campaigns
Brand culture
New product development
Innovation
Template design (email, landing page)

The most common pitfall I see in design today is that of businesses and organizations jumping straight to the design phase and missing the define stage, or not enough weight or time is given to the define stage to really determine key ideas from the audience (customer or donor) perspective—what are their needs, desires, aspirations and struggles. Jumping straight to design or only half committing to definition will mean a watered down, mediocre or convoluted design or experience in the mind of the consumer.


* A Brand System is a visual and verbal kit of parts, namely (but not limited to) a logo mark and/or logotype, a set of specific fonts, colors and brand patterns, a collection of positioning statements, a sound mark, an entity name, and a tag line. Having one Brand System or Kit keeps everyone on your team representing the business in the same way, consistently, visually and verbally.