Using good design to grow your business

In an age of brand awareness,  many of the world´s most profitable companies consider design their most effective business tool.

It's all about following a process and  applying a consistent set rules in order to increase brand equity and grow business.

Let's consider all the determining factors that influence customers such as personal preferences, product style, quality experience, technology, usefulness and appropriateness.

The key tasks are:
  • Knowing our customers and speaking their language
    The real leverage with a client comes when we position ourselves as their strategic partner. That kind of relationship implies that you have an informed point of view on the customer, the product or service and the business model. The way to persuade clients is to concern ourselves with understanding their business model or finding ways to cement relationships with their customers.
  • Identifying the challenge
    Design is a problem-solving discipline. By approaching the project from the clients perspective, through initial contact, supplemented by preliminary research (through the Web, interviews with customers, etc.), we develop an informed point of view about the business objectives, competition and other factors that impact success.

The Creative Process

Phase 1: Strategy

1a. Brainstorming
  • Read all documentation
  • Get information and listen
  • Research the competition
  • Internalize the creative brief. Get to know the client's business, who their users are, and what they want
  • Immerse yourself in the culture of the customer
  • Get ideas from everywhere. Surf the web. Visit thrift stores, bookstores, cafés, museums, art galleries, surround yourself with magazines that the user would read
  • Make lots of sketches and thumbnails. Every idea does not have to be a valid, logic-driven one.
  • Start with the key layouts of the site or product
  • Explore what´s possible with different technical effects [mobile, server push, steaming video, multimedia components]
  • Work on ideas that will drive the project forward. By the end of this phase, you will have a schedule and a set of deliverables.

1b. Design Explorations
  • Start by creating several pages of design exploration. These are not web pages but visual expressions of a particular look or feel to see which visual elements work together
  • Play with backgrounds, colours, collage, headline effects, type to come up with the general rules for a given look. This work can be done in Photoshop or Sketch
  • For resources, use images from other sites, scans from magazines or stock photography
  • Consult with the client on developing structure, navigation, style and technical components. Once you've chosen a basic look, it can be then applied to various media
  • colour studies
  • typeface studies
  • navigation schemes
  • animated elements
    It is helpful to work in black and white first to confirm idea of visual weight and emphasis of items prior to applying colour. Once you've made a firm decision, then we're ready too present the developed design to the client.

Phase 2: Design

2a. Presentation

The creative/art director should be prepared, preferably with one or two design staff to act as back-up for presentations to the client. Typically, you'll choose three finalists: the favourite, the wild and daring, and the more conservative which you're pretty sure they'll like.
The main points to present are:
  • A reiteration of the goals.
  • The site structure.
  • Design language alternatives, if appropriate.
  • The home page. As many versions as you decide to show. Make a firm decision. Show the least amount of versions possible, keeping other versions as backup.
  • A representative second-level page, showing one or two alternatives
  • A representative article or product feature page.
  • A first pass at navigation.
  • An outline of a content schedule.
2b. Documentation
  • StyleGuide Document the file, directory structure and naming conventions for the site in combination with other template decisions made and the process used so a new person can use it to modify the site.
May 11, 2020

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