Good graphic design is an art form and a science. It’s meant to look attractive, but not for its own sake. It has functions to perform that are crucial to success. If it’s lacking in any of those functions it cannot be classified as good design. Here are five ways to measure how good a piece of design is.
Firstly, good design enhances the brand it’s representing in the quality of copy, typography, graphics, images and branding used. It shows the company and its products and services at its very best, within the limitations of the media being used.
No Impression Without Representation
Secondly, good design will draw upon an understanding of established market demographics to ensure it appeals to the target audience. It has a message to get across and must relay it in a way that is perfectly clear to its recipients.
For instance, showing the inside workings of a piece of hi-tech equipment and presenting its features in techno-jargon may work well if the design has to appeal to a technical or scientific audience. However, if the product is the latest piece of consumer hardware, the use of highly technical terms could be a hindrance and the emphasis will need to be strongly focused on the benefits to the purchaser. Does it look good in the home? Is it childproof, easy to use, and provide the experience the consumer is looking for?
What Does It All Mean?
The third test for good design is the copy. It’s not just about how the text is presented. Making efforts into improving the typographic style, colors, imagery, layout and fonts to enhance the design and make it look its best is important, but if the content of the copy is weak, even the best design in the world won’t get the results the client is hoping for.
The copy IS part of the design. They must complement each other for full effect. Headlines must grab immediate attention and copy should lead the reader through a labyrinth of anticipated questions, addressing every concern along the way. The offer must be expressed with clarity and the call to action made easy. Even a humble business card design should make it clear what the business is and how prospects can quickly and easily get in touch.
Sign, Seal, Deliver
The fourth test for good design is the method of delivery. If it’s a website, how is it going to get in front of its audience? Have the appropriate keywords been researched and is the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in place to get the full effect of an ever-increasing array of marketing techniques? When the leads arrive, will the page they land on be relevant enough to inspire them to stay? Will they be able to navigate speedily and with ease to take the action required? If it’s a piece of direct mail, what would make a prospect notice it among the other mail landing on the doormat? What is it about the envelope that encourages the recipient to open it?
Was It All A Success?
The fifth and final test is whether a mechanism has been worked into the design that allows results to be measured. It’s been noted that by changing a single image, or as little as one word in a heading, a huge difference can be made to the outcome of a campaign.
In order to test the effectiveness of a campaign, it’s necessary to know which piece of marketing material has prompted new leads, or generated more inquiries or orders from existing customers. It’s quite easy to gather this data from online sources. In print, it may be necessary to apply a code to an advertisement that has to be quoted when responding to an offer. The more creative the designer can be in developing this mechanism, the better.
How a piece of design measures up to these five pieces of criteria will indicate how well it will perform and just how good the design really is. The bottom line is that good design not only looks good but gets results too.
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