Following on from an article I wrote recently where I was a little, say, impolite about the website fiverr (and others like it), I thought it would only be right to explain further why it is so important that you hire the right designer.
Not just that, but to also explain the difference between the good designers/design agencies, the ones that care about their art and craft, and the ones that are in it just to make a quick buck or two. You may or may not be surprised to learn that the difference is an understanding of psychology. Yep, psychology is the secret ingredient that enables a designer to elevate themselves above having the ability to knock up a quick logo idea, to being able to effectively brand a company in the right way to get them noticed.
It is the difference between being able to simply artwork a basic advert, and having the ability to conceptualise and design a creative and successful advertising campaign.
It may not always be immediately apparent, the use of psychology, not even to the designer. It’s quite likely that the designer can take a psychological theory learnt through experience and apply it creatively to a project, however it is also possible that a designer intuits a way of perceiving and sensing things. This is reflected in their work and goes well beyond the basic theories learnt in college.
LOGOS AND COLOURS
This goes right to the beginning of a branding exercise and choosing the right colours for your logo and your brand. Do you use a soft blue for your logo, like IBM for example, or a bright red like Virgin. Both are extremely recognisable brands with logos that haven’t really changed much over the years, but choosing the right colour was very important for them.
Colour cohesion is important in brand design to communicate authenticity. Research in to the relationship between marketing and colour has found that colour increases brand recognition by up to 80%. For example when we think of the multi-brand Virgin the colour that we associate with it is red. Another question, though, is does red accurately convey the values and qualities of the Virgin empire?
The personality of Virgin and it’s owner has always appeared youth-orientated, fun and confident with its history stemming from music, communication and travel. The colour red certainly fits the bill for this and for expressing any qualities in branding relating to action, courage, movement and energy.
If we change the colour of this by swopping it to a soft blue it changes the perception completely. Admittedly part of this is because we have always associated Virgin with red, proving how important it is to get the right colour from the beginning and how you shouldn’t rush this decision but think about how that colour reflects the personality of your business or product.
As well as the colour, there is also the shape and design of the actual logo itself. Should the design be modern and simple or colourful and bold or soft and comforting?
Rather than looking at the latest trends for logo design and seeing what you can be “inspired” by, you have to look at not only what reflects your company, but the future growth and the market it intends to compete in. What would your clients be drawn too, what is their personality?
USER ORIENTATED DESIGN
When you are a designer you have to create something for effect; a design has to have a purpose and it has to fit a particular audience, no matter how diverse that audience may be.
Unlike an artist, who can begin on the path of a creation without a brief, a designer needs a full and detailed brief. Full discussions need to be had with the client about how a project is visualised and a picture needs to be built up in the designers mind. With an insight to be gained about how to make the connection between the design, the client and the audience.
A design that looks amazing isn’t always a great design, as design without any applied psychology often fails to engage emotionally and lacks any thought of behaviour about how that design is used. Although it should still look great of course.
A website is often a great example of this, with so many sites lacking the usability that it needs despite being great looking.
Understanding the basic principles behind human nature, and incorporating those principles into a new website design, will bring great rewards no matter who the site is aimed at. You have to create a rich, engaging and seamless user experience which, although sounds quite simple, is something that many designers seem to forget or ignore. By doing this, you will not only maximise the potential of users returning, but also that some of those users spread the word amongst their friends and colleagues.
Well-worded text reinforced with the correct design features (fonts, colours, images etc), helps to reinforce the communication, engagement and interaction that your business desires and contains emotional triggers to pull clients in.
A site should be easy to navigate and simple, it should take the user exactly where they need to go. This all, again, sounds rather simple, but the easy mistake to make is to throw everything that you have to offer at the user thereby giving them too much choice and confusion. You have to work out exactly what you have to say, how to say it, and who to say it to.
The internet is littered with examples of how not to design a website, but one of my favourites is lingscars.com. Although there is a certain beauty in the madness, especially with the very random and seemingly unconnected music choices you hear when going onto the site.
SO WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE US
This is where the choice of designer for your business is one of the most important decisions that you will make. Design, for some strange reason, is often overlooked and considered unimportant. This, more often than not, is because people use the cheap sites like the already mentioned fiverr, or because they are able to “knock something up in Word”. Sometimes they might even use their nephew who has done a few fun pictures in Photoshop and designed a logo for their mates band, so is therefore obviously qualified as a designer.
Design is much more than that. Good design, with marketing and applied psychology, will give you and your sales team something to sell and help to elevate your business above your competitors.
Remember, as the great Dr. Suess once said, “think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”