I often joke that my job as a graphic designer is to ‘make things look pretty’, but it’s not. My job is to effectively communicate a message, draw an emotional response from the target market and lead them to take action. This might seem simple but there is actually some pretty complex psychology behind getting viewers to react the way you want them to.
Communicating a message
There are often a multitude of subtleties in the message that any business wants to convey. When we take a creative brief we’ll ask a whole lot of questions that may seem irrelevant, to say, a flyer advertising a hair dryer. We might ask you the history of the business, your business’s mission and values, your strongest competitor, where you sit in the market. Do we really need all this information to make you a simple flyer?
The answer is yes! We make assumptions all the time about a product based on the design in the advertising and all the subtle, subconscious cues that tell us more than what it says. Colour, font choice, the space between letters, image choice, how much text is on the page… this all tells us how expensive the product is, how long you’ve been in business, if the company is casual and friendly or professional and corporate. A good graphic designer will be able to convey all of these subtle nuances.
Drawing an emotional response
This is what you really need from your advertising! Advertising is all about emotion. It’s about getting the right emotional response from your target audience so they feel motivated to act! Campaigns that fail are the ones that don’t make us FEEL. In order to develop designs that draw out those emotions, you need a creative team that can study a target audience, understand them and empathise with them. A beautiful design means nothing if it doesn’t appeal to the right audience.
Leading a horse to water
Lastly, a design needs to lead an audience to take action! Whether you’re designing a flyer, website, app or magazine ad, design should always be focused on the end game… ensuring the audience does what you want them to do. It can be as simple as telling the audience how to contact you or as complex as designing a website that subtely encourages people to purchase your products. As the saying goes “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. It’s true, but if you don’t take it to the water, it definitely won’t drink!
The bottom line is, it’s not worth paying for something that doesn’t work. If you buy a car for $500 you know you’re taking a big risk. Same with design. Paying for great design from a professional designer ensures you will get the response you want from your advertising.