What makes great design?
Great design has always been a subjective discussion point. While there are universally agreed-upon design do’s and don’ts, a lot of what allows a good design to be perceived as a great design inadvertently boils down to the subjective eye of key project stakeholders. But it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, need to be that way. In reality, the difference between good design and great design is only in part about what it looks like. It’s also about how it functions. How it impacts the experience of the user, and how it encourages the user to successfully engage with the content that the design supports, whether that’s a website, a brochure, infographic, video, commerce page or humble social post.
Excellent design has purpose. Every element in your content – every colour choice, image placement, animation, style and layout decision needs to support the purpose of the content itself – whether that means making content easier to read, drawing the eye to a key call to action, or creating an instant impact to draw the prospect in. Great design uses visual psychology to build excellent user experiences. In turn, those excellent experiences benefit the user, but also the brand, as improved user experiences result in higher engagement, more conversions, and more returning customers.
But design is only one element of UX
The most successful B2B sales and marketing campaigns are multi-channel, multimedia programmes that nurture prospects down a journey – through the discovery, awareness and consideration phases before nudging them to make that final decision: the act of persuading them that your product or service is the best choice for them.
Design plays two roles in this user experience:
- Capturing – and retaining - the attention of your prospects that consume your content, while making your individual campaign resources easy to navigate and consume.
- Knitting your campaign sales and marketing assets together into a clear, recognisable and memorable identity for the user.
- But here’s where today’s design agencies need to offer additional expertise to ensure a seamless user experience, offer greater value for money, and ensure the campaign is as effective as it can be.
Design is only one of three critical capabilities a top-tier agency needs to offer, with the other two being;
Great strategy – the planning and analysis that helps you identify the correct content to offer, who to present it to (e.g. your personas) , on which channels, and at which time.
Quality content – the words that persuade, inspire or educate your prospects, strengthening their perception of your brand as a thought leader or expert in the field.
An absence of just one of the three pillars of design, strategy and content instantly weakens the other two. Without strategy, content and design can be misaligned, inappropriate, incorrect, or completely miss the mark. Without content or design, strategy is weakened, as the overall impact of the final product is less strong.
So when selecting a design agency, continue to think about the moments where great design has instinctually made you say “that’s cool” and “that looks awesome”, but then go a step further and consider how those assets have been woven into successful campaigns.
Ask yourself: has that landing page successfully functioned as a marketing asset, or in terms of practicality, does it perhaps fall victim to style over substance? Those emails look fantastic, but does the content align with the target audience?
Remember – great design is about providing the foundation for a great user experience, and once that initial “that looks awesome” moment has gone, does that sales or marketing asset still function in the way you want it to?
Case Study – Amadeus B2B Wallet Product Marketing
Runner up – Fintech Marketing Awards 2019
Discover how Prism Create continues to support Amadeus with ongoing marketing creative, content and strategy for its successful digital wallet payment solution