more to design

There’s more to design than being pretty

We love aesthetics.

It’s pretty obvious. The Lunax Group works primarily with beauty, fitness and health clients, so looking good is engrained in our philosophy. If you’ve ever stopped by our office, you’ll see we’ve taken the time to turn it into a beautiful space to work and relax –  it’s objectively pretty. But we’ve often overheard graphic designers talking about ‘making it look good, and a client also said that they just needed us to ‘make it look pretty’.

And it’s SO ANNOYING.

Good design goes unnoticed.

Design, or should I say good design is about so much more than making something look pretty. Design is about solving a problem. And in marketing it’s about communicating a message with the user. The thing is whereas bad design is very obvious,  good design often goes unnoticed because it does it’s job so well. Take, for example a restaurant menu. A badly designed menu would probably have you flicking back and forth looking for the starters, confused which meals are suitable for vegans, and unsure on the prices. Whereas with a well-designed menu, you’d just order your food and the job is done.

Trends and templates.

Now, we’re not saying thing’s shouldn’t look good too. Of course they should look good. Depending on the purpose, eye-catching graphics and a slick design go a long way. But where things get controversial is when on trend templates get used for everything. Templates are great. If you’ve not got a huge budget or have limited design skills/knowledge, then using a pre-made template could save you time, money, and stress. But you have to ask, is that template going to achieve what you need it to? Marketing materials should solve a problem and effectively communicate your message to your readers with a clear call-to-action. Marketing materials should NOT just look pretty.

One story I like to tell is when a brand-new eCommerce brand mentioned they had to choose four categories for their products because there were four boxes on the homepage of their website template. Urm what? Then there was the time when a client tried to get us to write their website copy to fit into the template they had spent loads of money on. It just shouldn’t work like that. Web design should be heavily focused on user experience and guiding customers to purchase/enquire/whatever you need them to do. Web design should NOT just look pretty.

And whilst we’re ranting, whilst the latest design trends might look cool, they might not actually be right for your brand. Rose gold, foils and handwritten fonts are appearing everywhere at the moment, and as beautiful as they are, it’s not good enough to apply it to every project. Branding should resonate with the target audience on a level equivalent to the messaging strategy. Branding should NOT just look pretty.

A little checklist.

So to round up the rant, and to actually provide something useful for you, here is a checklist of things to keep in mind and run through when you’re designing anything in the marketing world. (It’s certainly not exhaustive but we don’t want to overwhelm you).

  1. Who are my customers, and who is the design actually for? (HINT – your end user isn’t always the purchaser).
  2. Why do I need this thing designed? (HINT – you probably don’t need leaflets, flyers, business cards, banners, a website, social media graphics, etc).
  3. What do I want to say to the customer? (HINT – design and copy often go hand in hand so ensure your design reflects and compliments what is being communicated)
  4. Where is this going to be used? (HINT – don’t put loads of copy on a bus stop 6 sheet ad because no-one driving past will be able to actually read it.)
  5. How should I save the design? (HINT – your logo should be a vector file format. Online graphics should be PNGs. Files to send to print are usually pdfs etc.)