“Everyone loves storytelling, so make your design be part of an unforgettable one.”
That’s good advice from graphic designer and brand storyteller Jean Phillipe Stanway, writing on LinkedIn. With the massive popularity of content marketing, brands are getting good at the words, but all too often the design is overlooked. And that could be keeping our content from getting the best possible results.
“Understanding the purpose, cause or rationale of the content before designing is fundamental to being able to continue its story,” he explains. This means, first of all, establishing an anchor for your design.
“This can only be achieved once you have found the ‘why” of the content; this, in turn, will determine the tone of voice.”
From there, Stanway offers some good tips for designing better content, beginning with collaboration.
“Don’t be shy! Opening up and sharing your ideas from the outset is key, as different perspectives will inevitably enrich the design,” he explains.
He also points out the importance of letting design inspiration flow, so be prepared to be hit with your best ideas while you’re on a walk, at the water cooler, in the shower … it doesn’t always come when you’re sitting in front of the screen.
As for story-telling, Stanway urges us to remember that whatever stories we are telling could be part of a larger story, so make sure your design is also. Brand guidelines are important, “but the story could be bigger than the company or organization.
More tips from Stanway include:
- Think about when and where your reader will be seeing the piece. Are they standing? Sitting? On the go? “For example, text that is meant to be read on the go will be set within narrow columns for a faster read.”
- How is the design helping the reader get the message and be inspired? “There are many design elements that control these factors. Hierarchies created through typography can be used to great effect, controlling the reader’s focus with the use of different typeface weights and point sizes.”
- Apply some reasoning to your design – not everything needs to be designed. And each design decision should add some value to the piece, either a business objective or reader value.
Finally, he reminds us to keep our technical game solid. “All the hard work preparing, starting and doing will be a waste of time if the finished product unintentionally has, for example, low-resolution images.”
Great design is applicable anywhere, from the high-end magazines to a single blog post. As content marketing evolves, designers who understand this are poised to become great story-telling assets to any team.