04 Sep 10 Top Tips for successful design and communication
Top Tips for successful design and communication
What makes ‘good design’ in business-to-business communication?
For design to be considered successful in B2B communication, it needs to fulfil one main criteria – to have communicated a message and produced a response, whether emotional or physical. Ideally there will be feedback, such as a phone call or attendance, that confirms the message has been conveyed and the new service, product or event has aroused some interest. However, with a plethora of items vying for your attention, if the look and feel of the design is wrong then the message won’t even see the light of day.
Below are the key principles that businesses should consider when creating marketing materials to ensure the communication gets noticed.
1. The creative brief. Often overlooked, the creative brief to the designer is the single most important part of the creative process. Comprising more than just a few facts and figures, it should contain insights into the target market’s behaviour and how you want them to think about your brand or product. The proposition needs to be clear and steer the creative thinking, giving a benchmark for judging the creative concepts. The designer should be able to help write the brief or at least question it if they feel it doesn’t correctly define the proposition.
2. Think laterally. If your product has a hundred imitators or you are in a sector with many competitors you may need to think of ways of saying the same thing but in an unusual way.
3. Consider humour. People always appreciate a bit of humour – whether images or copy –and this can make communication memorable and effective.
4. Don’t underestimate your audience’s intelligence. A business client will be intelligent and knowledgeable about their profession or sector, so consider unusual or unexpected imagery.
5. Don’t forget the words. Headlines should go hand in hand. If the image is dull the copy won’t be read and if the headline is uninteresting the viewer may lose interest straight away. Whether you or a copywriter writes the headline, make sure it strengthens the concept.
6. Be honest in your presentation. How many times have you seen gorgeous models in a brochure for the local accountancy or law firm? Obviously from a photo library, they could appear in hundreds of brochures around the world. What’s wrong with pictures of the actual people who work there? After all, it’s those people that clients will meet if ever they do business with that company.
7. Size & formats. With unusual formats the designer can use imagery or typography to greater effect and create impact. For example, A1, A2 and A3 are all multiples of A4 and can be used in creative applications for newsletters and brochures. An enthusiastic printer will help in planning jobs economically.
8. Build the brand. If the brand is strong, it should be an intuitive process to use this to communicate products or services and build on your brand values – as well as promote the product. But remember, the work is only as good as the brief.
9. Plan ahead. To avoid miscommunication, plan ahead for changes of address, telephone codes, staff, prices or postal charge increases. Your designer should have good supplier contacts built up over time and feel confident in discussing options around the table. Also, short print runs with direct-to-press machines can help reduce wastage and expensive reprints.
10. Keep the idea simple. Generally, complex idea equals expensive production. The viewer will remember simpler ideas in years to come which helps to build the brand. Of the great TV ad campaigns from the past, think of the Cadbury’s Smash or Hamlet ads. Very simple and relatively cheap to produce but unforgettable – although of course they did benefit from a huge media spend.
By following these principles you should be able to create eye-catching and memorable creative communication. A good brief, open mind and daring to be different – even if just outside your comfort zone – will help your communication and successfully get your message across.
Creative Director and founder
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