If you’ve ever gone to an art gallery and gone up to some of the best-known paintings, you’ve probably noticed the high level of detail that goes into them. In fact, many paintings are equally enjoyable from far away and up close. The mark of a great artist is how much detail they can put into their work. The same is true for designers; we just do it a bit differently.
First Things First: Good Design is Uncluttered
You might be thinking, “Why are we talking about details in design? Aren’t they supposed to be sort of simple, clean, and uncluttered?” Yes! But in the same way that there’s more to an iceberg than what can readily be seen on the surface, a great design should be packed with meaning.
What you don’t want is a cluttered design where you’re trying so hard to incorporate elements that what you’re communicating gets lost.
The difference between a good design and a great design is that a great design is easy on the eyes and meaningful. It will speak to the people it’s meant to speak to and hold far more meaning than simply “a cool design.” Great design is a blend of the practical and the aesthetically pleasing.
The Backstory of Your Brand
Whether you’re developing designs for a client or are a business owner going the DIY route, the brand backstory is important.
Writers, actors, and communicators of all kinds are familiar with the significance of the backstory. Actors are known for filling in missing information about their characters to make sense of how they react, their motivations, and events that forever changed their lives.
The thing is – the backstory rarely makes it into the meat of what the actors are doing. But it makes the characters so real to the actors and the audience that their performance comes across as genuine. Matthew McConaughey is quoted as saying, “I write way more than I ever actually say.” So why does he do it? Because it makes a difference.
This is why the first step to any design project needs to be research. Dig into the brand and learn all the information you can about it.
Once you have a solid base of backstory to go from, you can hone in on the elements you need to include and what makes the most sense in the context. Ask yourself (or the business owner) questions along the way:
- Why am I adding this element?
- Does this make sense for their clients? Their brand?
- Is there anything I should add?
- Is there anything I should take away?
- (For logos) Is this scalable? (Will it look good small AND large?)
Build Trust with Clients Through Design
Think about a friend of yours. Someone you trust. What makes them trustworthy? Do you feel you can trust them because they follow up with you about something you mentioned to them? Is it because they show an interest in who you are?
Interview experts suggest that interviewees mirror the people who are interviewing them. This small, subtle tactic can build trust and rapport between the person in the “hot seat” and the interviewer, making the process a bit easier and bridging the gap between you both.
A good general rule of thumb for communication is to repeat back what you’re hearing to show understanding or ask for clarification. This is helpful in any relational context: professionally and in your personal life.
In a similar way, incorporating small but important details into a design can have a massive impact. The client feels heard and understood, like you “get” their brand, their history, and their goals. As a result, they’ll love the design!
Here are some of the things you can ask yourself once you’ve completed the design:
- Will this appeal to the target audience?
- Are the images clear, relevant, and easy to understand?
- Do the colors highlight the important parts of the design?
- Does the design get the point across?
- Does the user journey make sense?
- Is the site easy to navigate?
- Do the web pages follow an easy-to-understand structure?
- Are CTAs large and compelling?
- Does the site load quickly?
- Is it mobile-friendly?
- Is branding consistent across all pages?
An example of detailed design
Though the details you include will change on a case-by-case basis, an example of how you can communicate an understanding of a brand is the Trust-Based Parenting Logo we created.
Here’s a quick recap of what we did:
- Used the church’s logo as a jumping-off point for inspiration (blue brand colors and tree theme)
- Made the logo round (symbolizing healing/wholeness, as well as a “hedge of protection”)
- Incorporated the image of a family (silhouettes so any family could feel welcome)
For More Design Tips, Follow Matcha Design
As a design agency that’s been in the business for decades, we have a lot to say about design. There’s no way to cover everything in a short blog post – so if you want to know more about design, you should check out our blog! You can learn about space/scale, color principles, and more. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!