Collaboration and Feedback Are Two of the Most Important Design Best Practices to Follow
One of the most important things to understand about the design of your marketing collateral is that at the end of the day, you’re mostly talking about a living, breathing thing.
On a surface level, we see this a lot in terms of all of the latest design trends and best practices. Something that seems fresh and new today may seem woefully antiquated even six months from now, once everyone has had a chance to jump on the bandwagon and pump the Internet full of similar types of content.
All of this is to say that just because you think you’ve landed on the most objectively perfect design for your next piece of advertising material doesn’t necessarily mean that it will remain valid for very long.
This is also why concepts like collaboration, and even solicited feedback are so important. They allow you to take the work you’ve already done and built a bridge to where you might be headed as a brand most organically and effectively possible.
Modern Design Requires Modern Best Practices
In a lot of ways, so much of your success in terms of these ideas will come down to the design collaboration software you choose at the beginning of the process. Any design tools that you want should not only feature devices that allow you to communicate, collaborate and share suggestions with your team members as often as possible, but they should also allow anyone to actively contribute in a way that is always pushing the final project forward.
Part of the reason why it’s so dangerous to have just one person focusing on design while everyone else focuses on messaging is that, before you know it, that lone individual is just “too close” to the project at hand. They’ve spent so much time on it, and they’re so deep in those proverbial weeds that they can no longer see the potential flaws or opportunities that are waiting to be taken advantage of.
Their view of the design becomes almost cynical and, at best, cold and calculated. They’re merely asking themselves, “does this convey what we need it to?” The answer at that point is either “yes” or “no.” There is no room for follow-up questions like “sure, this works in a technical sense… but is there a way we can get it to work even better than it does right now?”
With the right collaboration software, however, you’re looking at a way to draw constant input from every member of the team in a way that always doubles down on what is working and gets rid of what isn’t as quickly as possible. That’s a perfect opportunity to embrace the constant evolution that your properly designed collateral is going on, rather than seeing it as the type of liability that will ultimately end up holding you back.
Along the same lines, it’s also important to use design feedback tools to solicit feedback from the people who matter most of all: your end-users.
For the sake of the example, consider even a process as seemingly simple as using a tool like Visme (which I founded) to create social media graphics for your target audience. You’ve spent a considerable amount of time working on those graphics, and you’ve officially released them out into the world on sites like Facebook and Twitter. But just because they “exist” doesn’t mean you can’t keep improving them, making that result even better than it already is.
By soliciting feedback from the people in your target audience, you can go straight to the source and get insight into what they like and, more importantly, what they don’t. Because you have the right design collaboration software at your side, you can quickly go back in and make those changes and have a more durable finished product than ever.
In a lot of ways, it isn’t that dissimilar to the process you would go through if you were using a site like Respona to research blog topics for other types of collateral that you might be creating. When you conduct this level of keyword research, you’re doing more than just searching for inspiration. You’re trying to keep your finger on the pulse in a way that allows you to see what people care about. You’re paying attention to what they want to learn more about, and you’re using it as a chance to answer their questions or address their problems.
Inviting this level of feedback and pulling the curtain back on your design process is mostly the same thing – albeit from a slightly different perspective.
Indeed, your customers are maybe the biggest asset you have that far too many people don’t pay attention to until it’s too late. Your prospects will have absolutely no shortage of strong opinions that they’re willing to share with you regarding nearly everything that you’re doing. If you’re eager to listen to them every once in a while, you not only make your job easier – you capitalize on yet another opportunity to show people that you care and that you value their opinions just as much as your own.
You’d be shocked by just how big of a difference this can make when someone is evaluating which of two companies they want to give their hard-earned money to.
That’s not just how you lean directly into the modern-day design best practices – it’s how you build a tremendous amount of loyalty as well. As brand loyalty is essentially the dominant form of currency in the 21st century for most organizations, it’s easy to see why this is such a good idea.
Overall, it’s important to remember that when you think about current design best practices, you’re talking about two distinct ideas. The first is design in a literal sense – the way something looks and the impression it gives off, along with how the visual choices that you’re making support and empower the message you’re trying to get across. From that angle, things haven’t changed much over the years. The ways that you convey that information may evolve, but the actual point of what you’re trying to do remains the same.
The second idea, however, involves the fact that a piece of marketing collateral in the modern era is mostly never finished. Stop trying to get to the point where you think, “okay, that’s perfect. It’s done, there’s nothing else to do, and now I can get it out of my head and focus on the next thing.”
You’re not going to get to that point, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
These days, everything you do is constantly changing – even after it’s officially “ready for prime time” in your mind. There’s an old saying in Hollywood that reminds us that “a film is never released… it escapes.” This is an idea that speaks directly to the heart of what you’re doing as a marketer, too – and collaboration and feedback are two of the most significant changes you have at changing this idea from liability and into something that will allow your brand to truly stand out in a crowded marketplace in the right way at precisely the right time.
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience, and web app development.