3 Ways Design Creates a Stronger Content Experience

June 16, 2016 Michelle Polizzi

Design for content experience

The more people are bombarded with content, the shorter their attention spans will become. And while professional content creators might not want to admit it, the average brand audience struggles to read a piece of long-form content from start to finish. Luckily, that’s where design comes in to save the day.

In addition to helping you tell a consistent and compelling brand story, strategically-designed content supports a pleasant experience that stands out in consumers’ minds. If you want to drive higher engagement, create memorable content experiences, and get real results from your content, follow these three tips for using design in your content marketing.

1. Reinforce your main points with design

Every brand’s audience is comprised of people who consume information differently. Some people just skim headlines; others learn best when an article’s main points are accompanied by imagery. Regardless, intuitive design is a universal language. When design is strategically employed in order to reinforce key points, people are more likely to remember important facts and figures.

For example, this annual report for The University Union Operations of California State University, Sacramento, Inc., uses design elements to reinforce important statistics.

statistical design

The report illustrates fiscal statistics and its strategic placement of both numbers and written statistics helps reinforce the complex information. The report, designed by Joel Felix, uses a bright, consistent color scheme, as well as the union’s logo, to create a piece of memorable content.

2. Enrich your content with a copy-first approach

It’s commonplace for designers to use Lorem Ipsum in place of written content while they’re crafting up a new eBook or PDF. However, this method often causes a disconnect between the design and the content, resulting in a less-than-optimal content experience.

To avoid a subpar experience, try reversing your approach to employ copy-first design. Having access to final written content can help the designer create something that emphasizes ideas and shows them in a new light.

This infographic about #GivingTuesday by Classy proves the importance of designing with final copy. The graphic employs playful fonts and creative, color-block graphics, while still maintaining the integrity of the copy.

classy infographic

For example, check out the first set of bar charts that uses growing trees instead of traditional bars — this enforces the headline, “a growing tradition.” Lastly, blocks of copy are strategically positioned throughout the infographic, showing the designer had a clear grasp on what content would be most effective as copy or as illustrations.

3. Improve consistency with on-brand design elements

We all know a company’s content program should express a brand’s personality. That’s why it’s important to provide your designer with access to accurate brand information.

Brand management platforms such as Brandfolder make it easy to share colors, fonts, and brand imagery all in a single location. In addition to sharing design elements, these platforms help you share important documents such as brand personality and values. This ensures that the final piece of content is fully aligned with your brand mission and supports your overarching goals.

To understand the importance of brand consistency in design, check out Shazam’s Identity guide.

Shazam brand guide

The guide clearly documents how to use the Shazam logo, official Shazam colors, and its brand voice. It’s a visual way to understand the Shazam brand and how to express it, online and offline. Shazam’s Identity Guide will not only help partners maintain the integrity of Shazam’s brand, but it will also align Shazam’s internal team to ensure consistency throughout the organization.

Clearly, both design and copy are more effective when created in tandem. In addition to reinforcing your key points, design can also build brand equity when it clearly expresses a brand’s identity.

As more content is produced each day, it’s getting tougher for brands to stand out from the crowd. Luckily, these pointers for using design in your content experience will help you create memorable content that drives real engagement and results. Good luck!

Watch our webinar with SnapApp to learn how to design a better content experience

About the Author

Michelle Polizzi

Michelle Polizzi writes for Brandfolder, a powerfully simple platform for storing, sharing, and showcasing your brand assets. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her bicycling around Denver, catching a live concert, or cooking up a fresh vegetarian dish.

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