Whether you’re about to launch a big marketing campaign or post something on social media, keeping your design simple matters. Design plays a huge role in whether or not your audience will engage. For now, let’s look at the purpose of a promo/post and how structure helps to communicate the message.
Cut the content.
You’ve heard the saying KISS – Keep it simple stupid. Simple messaging is the best way to clearly communicate to your audience. Think of the most important thing that you want to communicate and then work to make it more effective. This doesn’t mean you need to make award-winning creative ads every time you go to market. It just means that you should focus on one message so the reader can take in what you’re communicating easily, without feeling overwhelmed. If you’ve got a lot to say, write it all down and keep cutting the content until all you’re left with are the gems.
Before you even start to design anything, you need to plan. Ask yourself, what is the message that you’re wanting to communicate? At this stage everything you design needs to come back to this point, if it doesn’t you’ll lose direction and the message will get lost. The positioning of key elements in a design is crucial, there are many bad examples out there that showcase this, example 1 below, so let me talk about this one.
What’s the hierarchy?
My first thought? Where do I look first? There is so much going on in this that it makes it incredibly difficult to figure out what they’re trying to say. There are 2 starbursts, a big yellow box, and a huge star with a massive price point that are all screaming ‘look at me’. Now they obviously want to draw attention to those points, but why bother when they all conflict with each other, it defeats the purpose. This is where it’s important to have a hierarchy list:
- Headline – draw the reader in with an offer or something appealing that will interest them.
- If you need to clarify the headline, add in a subheadline.
- Now you need to sweet talk them into the offer. If you have something important to say write a good spiel and make it sound amazing.
- Call outs – use sparingly and ONLY ever use one, don’t over complicate it.
- Your details – these should always be last, tell them what’s on offer then you close out with where they can get it. Think of your target market here, talk directly to them and remember, this isn’t about you, it’s about THEM.
How to simplify it.
To give you a brief example of how this could’ve been done better in terms of content:
- Headline – FOR BEER AND WINE LOVERS EVERYWHERE
- Subhead – Brew your own for less than 30p per pint!
- Copy – Become a brew master, check out the special offer on our beer and wine starter kits.
Need to buy a gift, these are ideal, who wouldn’t love a starter kit?
Plus, if you spend $20 or more in store, you’ll score this $1 off voucher*.
Grab the discount online and enter ES101 at the checkout.
- CTA (call to action) – What are you waiting for? Let’s get brewin’
- Contact details – Logo and contact details
- Terms – *Conditions apply
Simplicity in design is key.
Take the famous VW Lemon ad below for example. This is a perfect case of how something so small made a big impact. NYC Ad agency DDB made this ad in 1959. In fact, it went on to change the way people went about advertising, (you can read more about that here). The goal was to sell a car that wasn’t very popular (these were the days where big cars were the go), nor attractive to people in that time so they had to think of a way to make it work. They had a bit of content, but they constructed it in a way so that it was easy to digest, fun to read and appealed to their target market. Given we are definitely in a different time, the same foundation still applies, look at Apple for instance. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality, showcase your best assets in the simplest way possible so you can create engaging marketing that appeals directly to your audience.
Don’t just think of it as ‘another post or promotion’, ask how you can do it differently to improve on what you did last time. When using social media, keep it just that, social. So if you’re selling into someone’s feed, you better make sure it comes across as interesting and authentic. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes, if this were a brand selling to you, would you be interested? The last thing you want is for people to get annoyed, tune out, or worse, unfollow you.
Obviously, there are a lot of elements when it comes to shaping a good ad, like colour (read my blog post on colour choice here), but laying a strong foundation is key. If you’re able to articulate words through imagery, then that’s exactly what you should do! For now, keep your copy condensed and full of meaning by eliminating unnecessary words. The message will get through faster, with more impact and the chances of your audience reading it will be tenfold.