5 Design Tips to Make the Most of Your Brand Impact
Graphic design can be a tricky field to understand because of all of the nuances and subtle (and not so subtle) psychological elements that go in to it. The field is always changing and designers must be innovative and adapt in order to create the impact that messages and brands need. Here are five tips to make your brand’s messaging more effective, whether you’re working with an in-house designer or an outside agency.
1 - Stick with a Simple PaletteIn the early stages of the design process, it’s paramount to decide on a color palette for a project, whether it’s business cards or a website. Why? Because a message with too many colors can distract the audience from the main goal that you want the piece to accomplish (usually a conversion-related action). Color can also play a vital role on visitors’ emotions. For example, a legal website with a cool-colored theme can instill a visitor with confidence and trust, and this trust may encourage the visitor to complete a conversion on the website.
2 - Keep It SimpleLogos should always be simple and clean as well as designed using a vector-based program like Adobe Illustrator instead of Adobe Photoshop, which is raster-based. Why should a logo be all those things? Let’s go into detail:
a) Simplicity: If a logo is simple, it’s easier to understand and easier to use. If a logo is busy and larger-than-life, it makes translation onto various digital and print materials difficult. Take this logo below for example:
What are the defining problems in this logo? First, there is no primary focus. Where should my eyes go? What is the logo trying to communicate? We get a general music vibe from it, but the title is illegible, so the main message is lost.
Secondly, this logo is busy. If we were to put this on a website header, it would either be too big and take up too much valuable space. If we sized it down, it would be indecipherable. Keeping the logo clean also makes it easy to understand, read, and work with. Great examples of simple and clean logos include the WWF™ logo, the Fedex™ logo, and the McDonald’s™ logo. Not only are they easily understandable, they’re memorable.
b) Vector vs. raster: The more technical side of logo design includes which program to use. For a lot of projects, graphic designers use Adobe Illustrator, mainly because the graphics created in the program are easily scalable.
Example of pixel-based and vector-based graphics
3 - Design with Device Conventions in Mind
If the design project is for mobile or tablet, keeping device conventions in mind is especially significant. If your elements replicate behavior from another platform, such as iOS vs. Android, you may risk compromising the user experience and conversion by confusing the user.
This also applies to how some components work on desktop vs. mobile, etc. By keeping the correct device conventions in mind, the user will trust your application or website more and therefore be more likely to use the website or application.
If we were to create a logo in Adobe Photoshop and then try to scale up the logo, it would become pixelated and blurry. This is because Photoshop is a raster-based program and uses pixels instead of mathematic equations and geometry (i.e., vectors) to create the art. Photoshop is great for more artistic ventures (think paintings) but not great for graphics that need to adapt to multiple screens or mediums. If the design project is for mobile or tablet, keeping device conventions in mind is especially significant. If your elements replicate behavior from another platform, such as iOS vs. Android, you may risk compromising the user experience and conversion by confusing the user.
This also applies to how some components work on desktop vs. mobile, etc. By keeping the correct device conventions in mind, the user will trust your application or website more and therefore be more likely to use the website or application. A great example of this is the navigation design in the Google applications. Every menu is positioned on the left, hidden away under a hamburger icon (☰). The menu then becomes a flyout menu once tapped on. The most important factor of this feature is that it’s consistent across all of Google’s mobile application styles and therefore creates a familiar atmosphere in which the user will grow accustomed to and, in turn, trust and use more.
4 - Get a Second Opinion
A designer may be the best in the world but if they’re looking at a design by themselves for 5+ hours, they’re bound to miss something. It’s always a good idea to bring in another designer to look over the website or application. Real users also bring valuable feedback, since they’re the ones who will use the tool. Make sure the users are more closely matched to your target audience (age, gender, etc.) so the feedback is appropriately targeted. Having another pair of eyes on a project is essential to see something that’s been missed or suggest ideas that can improve the experience. At ACC Tech, we have people on our team in different roles—graphic design, web development, marketing, etc.—involved in the process of website or application planning for a well-rounded approach.
5 - Test, Test, Test!Sure, a website or application can look great as still mockups, but what happens if the application or website doesn’t perform as well as expected? Usability testing is necessary to weed out any bugs or potential problems. Ensure the team in charge of the project (whether in-house or outsourced) has a testing process in place, and have some of your internal staff test it as well. If the project will be used by your customers, select some loyal customers to test it after any initial testing bugs are fixed (tip: a $25 gift card goes a long way to incentivize people to take action!). A website or application can even be tested in the wireframe phase with paper or using a prototyping tool such as Adobe Experience.
To Wrap It Up…
Education on new design techniques, strong teamwork, and a good sense for decluttering can go a long way in creating solid and unique designs that help to accomplish a project’s goals, whether they’re to improve an internal organization’s efficiencies through an application or to increase conversions on a website. For help with the design of your next website or application project, contact us.