Level Set for Great Design

It’s a fast-paced world where everyone has an impending deadline that they are up against. Be it an internal newsletter that needs to go out, a product launch or even an annual report. It’s important to take a look at whether your internal communication team has the bandwidth and expertise to take on a larger-than-life project, versus handing off your project to a trusted firm.

Great design is not just about “design.”
To achieve great design, you need great business thinking/ doing — to effectively invest in design — and you need great engineering — to achieve unflagging performance. – @kpcb @johnmaeda #DesignInTech

But what is design?
I went right to the source: DMI. Simply put, design is a method of problem solving. Whether it is an architectural blueprint, a brochure, the signage system at an airport, a chair, or a better way to streamline production on the factory floor – design helps solve a problem.

For some helpful resources and stats on the impact of design, check out the research compiled by the Design Management Institute. This information shows that design-driven companies, such as Apple and Coca-Cola, have outperformed the S&P 500 by 219%.

So how do you incorporate good design into your communications?

Like any type of communication, it’s not just what you say, but how you say it. To borrow some words and really smart thinking from Jason Lankow of Visage.co and originally ColumnFiveMedia: good design stimulates viewers’ brains, enhancing the efficacy and impact of information in a cohesive visual experience by increasing: appeal, comprehension and retention.

Design is a strategic asset that is most effective when employed early in your planning process.

Jason Lankow points out that many organizations tend to focus design efforts on a small handful of external-facing projects due to time and budget constraints, which results in numerous missed opportunities. Instead, your position should focus on how to identify communication challenges and apply design solutions to communication at every level. The strategic application of design boosts the impact of everything from client reports to blog posts, increasing the value of the content you create.

The philosophy behind design is very much aligned with Design Thinking and the value it plays in today’s marketplace.

“Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.” – Tim Brown CEO, IDEO

The bottom line is that it’s all about creating EFFECTIVE communication, be it internal or external.

Here’s some tips on how to leverage your current internal team vs. sending out to a trusted design partner:

  1. Define your communication objective
  2. Create an action plan to meet those goals
  3. Review your internal team’s bandwidth and design strengths
  4. Take a look at the end results–the analytics by which you’ll measure success

“Great design and design thinking require critical thinking and a solid strategic approach. Creative lead/partners must be part of this process from the very beginning for maximum effectiveness and results.” – Victor Rodriguez, eurie creative

Looking for some inspiration and organization that really advocates for design?

AIGA, a professional organization for design, was founded in 1914 as the American Institute of Graphic Arts and is a great resource for all things design along with their mission on why design matters. Check this excerpt from their site: design is an investment in innovative thinking, branding and communication that creates value for businesses in terms of competitive advantage, customer trust and loyalty and market share.

Each year AIGA hosts their annual competition for design entitled Justified to recognize and celebrate the effectiveness of design. But what do we consider “effective” and how do we measure it?

Interested in learning more about how design can help you become more effective at communicating your message and answering the question of internal vs. external communication? Join Victor Rodriguez, of eurie creative and Gary Spondike of Pitch Black October 11th at the Annual IABC Heritage Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Plan on being inspired as we take a deep dive into some real life examples of great design.