Tips for getting great design that strengthens your brand and grows your business

Everyone agrees: design is important. Good design across a business’s online and offline marketing collateral will strengthen its brand. Good design will help engage users, create leads and gain sales.

Poor design, on the other hand, will do the opposite. We’ve all been frustrated with that unintuitive website where the colours clash, the text is hard to read, and you can’t find the button you’re meant to click on.

But the importance of good design is only part of the story. Like food or music, design is subjective. One manager’s taste will most likely differ from another’s. Managing the design process and the opinions of those with input into it is a whole different ball game.

At Mogrify, we work extensively with designers, both for our own collateral, and for our clients. So we’ve put together some tips to help businesses manage the design process.

Writing a great brief is a skill

The quality of the brief will dictate the quality of the output. Writing a fantastic brief is a skillset that needs to be developed. As a guide, the following information should be included; background information on the customer, the scope of work, who is the target market, who are the competitors, what is the tone of voice/brand guidelines, what is the objective of the piece and output expectations. The more information you can give, the better a picture you can build for the designer to create the right design.

Establish a great designer – briefer relationship and understand their costs and process

Yes, you could find a designer on Upwork but it’s not as easy as just writing a brief and sending it off to a random you’ve never met before and hoping for the best. The relationship between briefer and designer is more important than many give it credit for. Why? In short - Costs. Not having an established relationship with a designer tends to result in costs spiralling. You need to understand them/how they work and vice versa to get great results. Remember that a designer will charge per hour, large design files can actually take quite a while to open and you can guarantee this part of the task eats into your hourly spend.

Consolidate all feedback

Building on the above point around costs, consider how many times you give  feedback to a designer. If there are numerous stakeholders who need to sign off the design, wait and get everyone’s feedback and send it in one email. It’s far easier to edit a design based on a long consolidated list than it is to open the file, make changes, save it in high and lo res and resend to the customer, only to receive additional changes that were required on the first round.

Understand your brand identity 

Big organisations will have brand guidelines and tone of voice documents for designers to follow which streamlines the design process. However, many small businesses may not have these established yet. A great exercise we like to do at Mogrify is the “we are, we are not” process i.e. we are a people-centric tech company, we are not a load of cool hipsters working on our Macs at a coffee shop. The more descriptions you can give, the better picture a designer can build up about what design will suit your brand. You can use words or images, try it!

All design needs a good rationale

Design is subjective. Taste in design, as with food or music, is not an independent sense. Taste comes from unconscious prejudice and as a result of environment. The users of an organisation’s website may not share the same taste as the people who work within that organisation. So it’s important that you can explain the ‘why’ of the design to your team. To get everyone on board, you need to know the design inside and out, and the rationale for choosing it. A good marketing manager will need to explain why the website, logo or whitepaper was designed in that particular way, so that everyone else in the room realises it makes sense.

How Mogrify can help

So what do organisations need so they can be sure of getting great design that will help grow their business and boost their brand? They need someone with the ability to transform an organisation’s design vision into a clear design brief. Someone who can not only get the design done but also manage the entire process – including the reactions of the team.

At Mogrify, we do the hard work for you. We get to know you and your business first, so we understand your needs. We then manage all your designs so they are consistent across all your collateral. And unlike the rest of the industry, our design is price-fixed, meaning you avoid those hidden costs!

To get an overview of how effective your marketing activity and collateral is currently, and see how you compare against other companies, take our quick (and free) B2B online Marketing Assessment. 

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"Vision without execution is just hallucination."

- Henry Ford