Content StrategyEvents

Redesigning How We Design: Our team’s top takeaways from The Design Conference 2023

By July 3, 2023 No Comments
The Design Conference

After three days in the company of some of the world’s leading creative agencies and brand experts at The Design Conference, our design team shares two takeaways every business can apply to their content strategy. 

Design without strategy is just decoration 

As a creative agency, and as a creative, it’s important to remember that you are not the target audience for your design or the target user for your experience. That’s where content strategy comes in – after all, design without strategy is just decoration.

Creating a strategy is more about uncovering problems than finding solutions. As visual problem solvers, how are we to solve problems through design if we’re not certain what those problems are in the eyes of the target audience? 

Make sure you’re keeping your strategy front of mind right when creating a brief, or working on your design. A designer equipped with a strategy-led brief will produce strategy-aligned work focused on a specific audience. Nobody likes double handling or starting over from scratch because of a poorly-considered brief.

That way, instead of wasting time and budget on design output (25x social tiles that look like *that cool Pinterest thing*), you can focus on design outcome (12x content pieces that are engaging and in-sync with your business goals). 

Even the most incredible design will be ill-equipped to make an impact on the people to which it matters – the target audience – if it isn’t aligned to a solid strategy. Taking a step back, returning to your content strategy and business goals, and investing time into the brief is vital to break through the clutter of a design-soaked content space, and allow incredible design to flourish.

As Evi.O Studio reminded us, design is like midwifery. We’re helping the clients to create something that’s theirs. It’s not our baby, so we should always be led by what’s best for each client and their strategy, not our personal taste.

If you want to be memorable, then remember to be playful

If you want to create memorable experiences, you need to push the boundaries of design. Don’t be afraid to try something completely different, exciting, and fun. Being playful with your creative process will show in the end result.

So, how can we do that in a world of rigid briefs and specifically crafted strategies? It’s important to seek new ideas, rather than waiting for an idea to come to you. Take risks in design for that extra visibility, and to fully flesh out the kind of brand the strategy seeks to build. 

To get ‘risky’ designs across the line and out into the world, we need to maintain a trusting relationship with our clients, a passion and belief in our ideas, and to hold our nerve – especially when the client is nervous. When pitching something new and different to clients, always bring the focus to the strategy behind it and how it aligns with their goals.

The European Agency of the Year, Studio Dumbar, encouraged attendees at The Design Conference to take a more fully considered view of what a brand can be by demonstrating the impact of sound and motion in brand design. Consider bold, new, and alternative ways of approaching a brand, and how concepts such as motion and sound might inform a design, and make a brand feel alive.

Thinking about the design of a brand in new and unexpected ways can help define who they are and how they relate to their target audience. As design is far more than just static imagery, brands and identities can also be complex and personable. Pushing the boundaries of design through playful and creative work will always create more memorable experiences. 

If you don’t play, you can’t win.