Why is identifying your target audience crucial to the way you create your design elements? How can putting your personal preferences aside help you engage better with your ideal client? Is a picture really worth a thousand words?
In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks about how to design for your target audience.
In This Podcast
- 10 things to keep in mind
1. Identify your target audience
Great design begins with an understanding of who it’s for. Understanding your customers is a crucial factor for being able to choose the right design elements such as typography, color schemes, layout, and navigation.
In addition to knowing your audience’s demographics (age, gender, location, etc.), you need to discover what makes them tick.
- Who are they?
- What drives them?
- What are their beliefs and values?
- Which other companies are they buying from?
- What products do they use?
The more you know about them, the better you can design branding that meets their needs and requirements.
2. Create personas
Now it’s time to step into your client’s shoes. Create personas for each type of client who’ll be engaging with your brand and dream up some real-life scenarios.
Think about what they’ll be looking for when they land on your side, and how easy it is to find that information.
Consider how they’ll find you and what you want them to do when they arrive. Having a clear picture of your marketing goals and your user’s requirements will enable you to design, for example, appropriate website functionality as well as plan a relevant social media content strategy.
3. Check out the competition
It’s common for businesses to be looking over their shoulders or peeking into the yard next door to see what’s happening. By evaluating your competition, you can gain a much clearer picture of where your organization stands.
Look carefully at your competitor’s branding to see what they have in common. You’re not looking to copy them, but rather to see what works and what doesn’t. Look at usability, design, content, layout, and navigation, and optimization. Look for things they do well, but also seek out any weaknesses and opportunities to gain a strategic advantage.
4. Put aside personal preferences
When creating a brand, it’s absolutely essential that you put aside your personal preferences in favor of what works best for the clients.
You may wish to try out the latest cutting-edge trend but remember, what appeals to you may be a total turn-off for the people engaging with it. Stay focused on the client and produce branding that enhances their experience and is a perfect fit for the target audience.
5. Use typography to speak their language
Custom typography is a fantastic way to express brand personality, and there are numerous fonts to choose from, but choose wisely.
For a traditional, corporate feel, Serif fonts do a lovely job, whereas a contemporary, modern feel can be achieved by selecting a Sans-Serif font, which is more streamlined. Kids will enjoy fun, cartoon-style fonts.
Font size also requires consideration. If your audience is likely to include senior citizens or people with sight problems, you need to use a minimum of 12-point fonts and have options to increase the size (on digital mediums) where necessary.
6. Choose appropriate colors
Color can influence people’s moods and emotions, and sway their behavior. So think carefully about the tone you wish to achieve.
You should have a good idea of the type of colors that will appeal to your clients from your initial research. Start by identifying two main colors to work from. This will make it easy for your customers to recognize and remember your brand.
It’s also good practice to look for color combinations that are already working well in your industry.
7. Include enticing images
The old, cliched saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” remains true. Images are processed quicker than words, so they give users an easy route into your content. Therefore, choose images that are relevant and that will pique people’s imagination and curiosity.
Images are a great tool for breaking up text and adding interest to a design, though take care not to include images for the sole purpose of looking pretty – if they have little relevance to your content, your users will be left feeling confused.
8. Think about your content
Another cliched saying that remains true: Content is King. Your design efforts will be in vain if the content is inappropriate or lacking in quality.
Your audience has an effect on the type of content and the style of writing. If the website is for a specific profession, then industry-specific jargon is acceptable, and often necessary. But if it’s for general use, too much jargon will result in people bouncing away in bewilderment.
A friendly, conversational tone is perfect for a health and lifestyle website.
9. Order your information hierarchically
Ordering your information according to visual hierarchy will help your users navigate the content and absorb the information according to their preferences. Take a human-centered approach to design by basing your layout on how your users will expect it to be.
A visual hierarchy gives all elements an order of importance according to how they’re positioned and displayed. The most important thing should be the first thing users lay their eyes on, and it should be the loudest, brightest, and boldest thing on a design.
The second most important thing should be a little smaller and carry less visual weight. And so on.
10. Surprise and delight them
Introduce a fun, quirky, or helpful factor that will surprise and delight your users. This will make them more likely to remember you and become repeat visitors, and it will help your brand personality shine through.
People are more likely to work with companies that make them feel happy and comfortable, so if you can put a smile on their face, you’re more likely to turn them from visitor to a client.
- 8 Reasons It Might Be Time for a New Logo | MP 44
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Meet Sam Carvalho
Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.
She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!
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