Designed to Sell

“People ignore design that ignores people.” – Frank Chimero author of The Shape of Design

Good marketing design is more than pleasing aesthetics and pretty pictures. It draws in the prospect and holds their attention. It brings them through a product story, creating desire along the way. It resonates on a level that drives a sale. And, it delivers an effective user experience, making it easy for prospective customers to learn what they need to make a buying decision. For this to happen, good design must consider the audience above all else. You may have a beautiful brochure, website and signage, but if your design doesn’t reach your intended audience or fails to educate them about your product, you’ve missed the mark.

Visual Personas

It’s likely you’ve defined a number of personas to represent your target consumer. Refer to those personas when determining what design elements will generate visual interest among your audience. Color plays a major role in consumer behavior. In fact, 85 percent of buyers cite color as a draw when making a purchasing decision. There are endless resources explaining the psychology behind colors and how you can use different colors to influence buying decisions. Beyond color, you should consider how typeface, textures, style, layout, and even white space communicate to your target audience. Failure to factor in all of these elements in your design execution may undermine an otherwise strong brand.

Additionally, images need to have a purpose and should not be used simply because you need to fill space. Choose graphics that visually represent values that are important to your customers. In doing so you may subtly motivate prospects to purchase your product or service. For instance, images that embody strength and trust can influence business-related decisions while a picture representing family values may motivate the purchase of a product that promises to deliver a better home life.

Audience Extremes

While these personas will aid your design, it’s not often you will be designing materials for one specific persona. Even a succinctly defined target customer base is made up of many unique little snowflakes. And this will undoubtedly influence the design elements.

More often than not there are two extremes within the audience of every design and the final campaign must resonate with both of these extremes and every individual in between. A balance should be struck between addressing what is expected and taking creative risks that make sense. The key is to stay within the accepted constructs the most conservative segment anticipates while pushing the envelope enough to draw in the more unconventional consumer.

The Copy Relationship

The purpose of your marketing design is ultimately to sell the product. Your audience depends on your websites, brochures, packaging, etc. to help them make a buying decision. You can’t achieve this without copy. Copy creates a need and explains why that need can only be filled by your product or service.

With this in mind, your design needs to help tell the story and the copy must speak to the intended audience in a tone that supports the design. The designer should consider how the copy will integrate into the piece. They must balance visual elements with the writing, give the story room to breathe and leverage design to strengthen calls to action. A well-designed piece also employs visual hierarchies that allow the audience to quickly find key information. Working with your copywriter from the beginning of a project will ensure that all of these elements will work together to make the sale.

Ultimately, there is no specific formula. It’s not about designing what’s right. It’s about designing what’s right for a distinctive and diverse audience and making sure they can easily gather the details they need. As long as you understand your varied personas and how to use the design to help tell a story that resonates with those personas, you’ll be able to create effective marketing pieces that lead your target customers down the purchase path.

Eliza Green

Eliza Green

Passionate about all aspects of content, Eliza has spent much of her career building an understanding of the nuanced needs of various audiences across nearly every vertical imaginable. She leverages this understanding to bring compelling, engaging content to pages of both the digital and print persuasion.