If you ask people to describe what design is, most will mention pretty pictures and bright colors. But those are only a few possible elements of design. What you need to understand from a marketing point of view is that good design is really all about communication. And a comprehensive, well-balanced, visually-appealing design is key to relaying your message faster than a 5G connection.
Humans are visual by nature, and our brains are association machines. What we see every day affects us subconsciously, whether we are aware of it or not. Our decision-making process is based largely on how we respond to visual stimuli.
This is why good design is critical; it streamlines your message to your audience so that they retain the information you want them to in a short amount of time. Let’s face it: peoples’ attention spans are getting smaller the more information they are presented with.
The trucking industry is seeing an increase in driver turnover across the board. Although systemic and financially rooted in some cases, the fact remains that competition for your next hire depends on communicating why someone should drive for you and communicating it well.
In this post, we’ll look at what makes good design, focusing on overall layout and composition, and touching on the importance of using established branding.
What is Good Design?
Good design presents necessary information in a visually-appealing way. It’s aesthetic, honest, unobtrusive, understandable, innovative, and thorough, even to the last detail. It tells a story of what the viewer should see by leading the viewer’s eyes through the information.
When we respond positively to something visual, there is a reason for it. Time and effort have gone into the creative process. Thought has been given to the intended audience. The end result is something that is easily understood, gets the point across, and delivers key information quickly.
Some misunderstand that good design simply means something looks amazing. Visual appeal is part of good design, but just because something looks amazing doesn’t mean it’s good – it also has to be functional.
Why is Good Design Important?
Good design is essential because, in addition to communicating with others, you are representing your company’s values, mission statement and culture in every form of communication that goes to your audience. Being consistent with logo use, fonts, colors, and having clean layouts goes a long way to letting your audience know you are extending those same values into everything you do. Good design is honest, and delivering an honest message increases trust. And in turn, trust builds brands.
With this in mind, it is important to remember who your audience is, understanding what they will respond to and what they care about. For example: drivers are busy, are on the road constantly, deal with exhaustion, some aren’t masters of all things technical, and, like the rest of us, typically only respond to what matters to them. A one-and-done approach isn’t the way to go.
If you are publishing content of any kind, it is vital to be consistent. This is where the importance of branding and design meet. Does your company have a logo? Do you have certain colors you use? Do you use certain fonts?
It is also important to present your business in a professional way. Doing so will ensure you’re establishing a visual connection between your audience and your company. Over time, when they see your designs, they will associate it with the core values of your company. It is subliminal, subtle, and very powerful. If you aren’t using your company’s logo and colors in your designs, you should be.
Layout & Composition Best Practices
A solid composition means you have taken the time to compile the information you need to include in your design. Ask yourself: what does my audience need to know first? What is most relevant to them? What headlines will I write to encourage them to keep reading? What visuals will I include to give their eyes a break before heading to the next piece of information?
Arranging content and giving priority to the order in which you want your reader to see things is the first step to building an effective layout your audience will understand and enjoy. Additionally, you’ll want to give thought to what you want your audience to do once they receive your message. How will you make your call-to-action stand out, and what information do you need to provide to get your audience to act? Will it be a phone number to call, a button to click, or a form to fill out?
As mentioned earlier, people are bombarded with information all day long. Your layout needs to be clear and communicate quickly. For this reason, you should keep in mind these simple tips:
- Use one or two fonts (typefaces) only (anything more becomes a strain on the eye);
- Emphasize headlines and sub-headings with larger type size or weight than body text (this helps lead the eye to the key parts of your message);
- Give space to text, images and graphic elements (called “white space” in the industry, this helps you avoid assaulting the eye by cramming every possible inch of an ad or marketing piece with content);
- Make sure the flow of your content follows the way people read naturally: left to right, top to bottom (you’d be surprised how many amateur designers reveal their inexperience by organizing their content poorly).
Good design takes time, and it’s worth doing right. Consider the information you need to communicate, and the best way to present it. Remember, good design not only looks good, but is functional. It presents information in an appealing way to encourage engagement from the viewer. Stay consistent with branding, use logos, colors and fonts to establish a unified visual message that conveys the values of your trucking company.
If communicating effectively through good design is important to you, but you don’t have the time, experience or resources to commit to it, talk to us and find out how we can help.