Design needs a story

While good design can offer greater impact in marketing (MW 11 February), I do not believe that it alone that will make a piece of communications successful. Content should never be forgotten.

Words
Words: Come before design

It is true that design and content should go hand in hand. However, most marketing communications projects are placed with design firms and developed as follows:

1 Account handler takes brief from client;

2 Client explains what messages must be pushed;

3 Account handler briefs designer;

4 Designer comes back with three options – “safe”, “strong” and “out there”;

5 Copywriter is engaged to write it up;

6 Photographer is engaged to do the shoot.

And so you get a formulaic bit of work. No one thought about what it would take to engage the audience. No one worked out a narrative. No one worked out how best to make words and imagery work together.

The result is generally visually impeccable but, given it was intended to engage you, almost entirely hopeless.

There are times when a client needs to have visual people in charge of a task. But it usually makes more sense for the storyteller to get to work first – to think about what the audience wants, work out the most appropriate channel through which to target them and to consider the design. After all, you wouldn’t illustrate the story before it’s been written, would you?

Paul McKinlay, director, Triffid

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here