“Visual communications of any kind … should be seen as the embodiment of form and function: the integration of the beautiful and the useful”
In his book ‘Thoughts on Design’, Paul Rand (best know for his logo design work for IBM, Westinghouse and UPS) states the fact that utility is a fundamental goal of visual communication design. Therefore, when content is created with the purpose of being distributed, a large measure of its success is its reach.
There are many factors that influence reach, such as the quality and relevance of content, how appropriate the delivery mechanism is, and of course, the proverbial issue of timing. Graphic design is another factor.
Graphic design principles deal with space, contrast, proportion, harmony, rhythm, repetition, line, mass, shape, colour, weight, volume, value and texture. When it comes to visual communication, the designer is harnessing all their graphic design knowledge and experience, and applying it to the communication process by delving into the science of visual perception, optical illusions and semiology. When reviewing all the individual elements that need to be addressed, it is little wonder that intuition is such an invaluable design tool. Some of the greatest designers in the World have become great by harnessing their intuition.
The fundamental concept of communication is to have a message to communicate, a communication method, and resulting message – this is a very simplistic summation of semiology. Every principle of design can influence the resulting message, to a lesser or greater effect. For example, colour is such an important tool for communicating emotion – its choice can be critical to conveying the right sentiment.
Think for a moment, why do many financial institutions use blue in their logo? ANZ and BNZ banks are good examples of this. Just as the blue ocean symbolises tranquillity, the colour blue in design is associated with the feeling of trust, integrity and peace. What about other colours? Red brings an energy and sense of urgency that is unparalleled in a primal way. Softer pastel tones create a tranquil mood that is more relaxing for the audience. The psychology of colour really is a large and fascinating beast.
With every choice along the way, a designer is influencing the outcome of a piece of content. One of the most important outcomes in the modern age is reach. As such, I recommend that you have an open dialogue with your designer about how their design choices facilitate your intended outcome.
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