Thursday, April 29, 2010

Canadian Marketing Blog - Canadian Marketing Association: Design Intelligence

Kev (my business partner) and I were chatting about the influence of design in marketing. He has great insights into design intelligence. Like most great insights, it's stuff that is floating in the back ground of our minds but too often we don't let it come to the forefront and really impact our work. He sees design intelligence for marketing as one of the most critical components for impacting and motivating choice. But too often marketing teams don't use design intelligence. Some designs are totally consumed by layout. That's the technical skill behind great design: white space, typography, use of colour, clean lines, careful attention to grids. While great layout makes the piece pretty -- it's doesn't push the edges towards brand personality, marketing principals and offer insight.

On the other extreme are the marketing teams who sacrifice design intelligence for fine art. Fine art is focused on the visual experience -- not the message. The message is often subtle or determined by the viewer. It belongs on living room walls and museums. Great marketing motivates and inspires action. Design intelligence starts with understanding the overall goal, the underlying challenge, the audience, human motivations and, maybe most of all, takes the designer out of the picture. As we were chatting, we were musing about a piece that we did for a client many years ago. Both of us hated it. While the offer was intact and the design intelligence was strong in understanding the overall brand and the motivations of the direct audience -- our visual minds were really turned off. It was the second highest performing acquisition piece that year. That taught us a lesson.

Our overall goal was to communicate to the audience. Frankly, neither of us were the audience. While neither Kev or I would be motivated by this piece -- we were not the people the client wanted to motivated. The biggest mistake marketers make is to allow our own preferences to interfere with truly understanding the audience. One more story.... when my son was about 2 years old my husband and I worked in a kid's program. One of the features of the program was a dorky beanie that had a helicopter blade on the top. On the way home I was nattering about the lack of sophistication of the premium when Chris piped up from his car seat: "I can hardly wait until I can get one of those hats!" The designer of the program was bang on in assessing the level of sophistication of the audience. Design intelligence refuses to be tainted by personal taste. It is objective, rational and results oriented.

Barefoot Creative is looking for a designer as I write. Without a question we are looking for a designer with design intelligence!
from Canadian Marketing Blog - Canadian Marketing Association by CMA on behalf of Gayle Goossen

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