What makes a ‘good’ design?

Whether it is for a website, a flyer, a logo or a social media post, you want to have a good design.

But how do we measure a design? What makes one good and the other bad?

Have you ever sat and wondered, is this flyer’s design bad, and am I going to lose money?

If so, read on, and let’s shed some light.

Design is not the issue

I’m going to make an assumption about you, right now.

Your problem isn’t design.

Design is actually not hard, and there’s a multitude of beautiful templates on the internet with great designs.

No, I think your problem is more fundamental, and one step below design: Messaging

Messaging is the issue

It is vital to realize that ‘design’ is just the icing on the cake.

The real element that is important is the communication, or the message.

This is achieved with words and to a lesser degree images.

Words are far more effective in communicating a message, because a photo could be interpreted dozens of different ways by different people.

The purpose of design is to ‘pretty up’ and make a nice presentation of the message so it is easily consumed.

Without a clear message, a design is just that… something pretty to look at.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s going to sell many products and services.

Business owners can get fooled by this, when they see giant multinational companies creating advertising campaigns, like Coca Cola showing a ballet dancer dancing, and that is the whole ad. And they are Coca Cola, so everything they’re doing must be right and should be blindly replicated, right?

No! They have an advertising budget to waste, and you don’t.

Before you even start designing something you need to craft your message.

But how do we figure out our message?

Purpose comes before messaging

The way to figure out the message, is to ask yourself why you are creating this (website, flyer, business card, etc), and what you want to get out of it.

If you can accurately name the purpose, then you can easily craft a message.

If you’re making a flyer that needs to get people interested and excited about an event, then your wording needs to build excitement, give key information, and tell them where to go to learn more. And then, add some ‘design’ to pretty it up.

If you’re making a website to generate leads, then your website’s message needs to be that you know your stuff, you’re pro, you’re trusted and you’re likable. All the text and pages need to reinforce those points. And after that you can make it ‘look good’ with some nice design.

What about design?

You’ve got your purpose figured out, and your message.

Now it’s time to make it look good, with some design!

Here are some tips. A good design does the following:

1. Puts emphasis on the key points of your message

2. Removes emphasis from lesser important points of your message

3. Helps you GRAB the viewer’s attention by using striking color, text, imagery

4. Does not confuse and overwhelm the viewer with too much clutter

5. Makes the information on the page digestible, easy to look at and consume. By using headings, bullet points, short paragraphs, etc.

So, what makes a good design? A design that communicates the right thing, clearly.