What Makes Good Design
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what makes good design

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By Nicki Brunner, Art Director

Duan Coetzee, CEO of AdMakers, once said, “Creative people should be sales people, because design is a function of selling.” Think about some of the successful companies out there – IBM, UPS, Ford, Coca-Cola, Nike, Target. When you think about these companies, what pops in your head? I’m willing to bet that when I mention Target, you think red bulls-eye. This plays a big role in Target’s success. They advertise with a
consistent, simple, memorable design. When used effectively, design can truly “sell” a business.

The purpose of design is not to simply make something look good, but to work with the content and the image to make a powerful statement. There are many elements to creating a “good” design. Three of the key elements are as follows:

Clarity. The purpose of a design is to support the content within the piece. You want your audience to be drawn into it, read it, and because of the design, better understand it.

Simplicity. The more modern we get, the simpler design seems to become. White space is not a bad thing. The average person is more likely to read a piece that is spacious and easy to follow than a piece that is so busy you don’t know where to start. A simple image will also tend to stick with your viewer more than something elaborate. Think about the Targets and the Nikes of the world again. Their logos are clean and simple yet still make the “statement” that fits the company’s needs. The Nike swoosh – such a simplistic form. But this logo has become so well known that Nike doesn’t even use the entire swoosh in their advertisements anymore. Nike is confident that its design has impacted the world to such a degree that they can simplify even more and people will still recognize that simple little swoosh.

Consistency. Your design is a visual representation of your company or business. It is the stimulation to kick-start the audience’s memory, leaving a greater impact than words alone. This is why consistency is key in designing for a growing business. From childhood, we begin to use products that are emblazoned with “branding.” Nearly everything we use has a corporate logo stuck to it. Should the look of this branding change, our loyalties may change as well. Small edits are OK, but the “recognizability” factor must remain consistent.

Design can seriously influence the way society sees a business. The design must fit the image of the business, whether the company is contemporary, conservative or completely creative. For example, a prestigious law firm wouldn’t use the same colors, shapes or font styles as a daycare. Make a statement with your design. Make it easy to navigate. Make it memorable. And of course, make it look good. But most of all, make your design a main ingredient in the success of your business.

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