North Star Marketing - Marketing Tip #126 - Why great design matters

Why great design matters

Here's a scenario we've all experienced: After a review of a campaign's creative elements, a couple of folks say, "Looks good," and give their stamp of approval. But without a strategic, integrated approach to design, "looks good" often translates into "doesn't deliver."

All too often, companies discount the importance of design - whether it's an ad, a logo, collateral, or a website. But in reality, a well-conceived design is often what separates a valuable branding tool from an unmemorable one - and the difference is more than just aesthetic.

A mediocre design squanders an opportunity to communicate with your audience and generate a desired behavior, whether that's a web click-through or a purchase. In addition, settling for subpar design can dilute or damage your brand.

So what, exactly, is good design?

For insight, we turned to Missy Martino, North Star's Art Director, an experienced designer who has a strategic perspective on design. She offered these observations on the attributes of great design:

  • It focuses on its purpose
    A design may look great and still fail miserably. A successful design must achieve real - and, ideally measurable - goals. That involves creative use of the best style for the job and the audience - and not simply conforming to recent trends.

  • It stays on strategy
    Great design typically evokes an emotion or feeling - thus making it more memorable. Even more, it must work with the context of an overall program. "That's the real strength - the real value - of an integrated approach to marketing," Missy says.

  • It reflects a depth of understanding
    The most effective design results from a collaborative approach. Missy says she gains valuable input from North Star's team of branding experts who understand the client, the brand - and the big picture.
So, when it comes to good design, do looks matter? Of course. But as you can see, there's much more to great design. In fact, at North Star, we believe great design is a bottom-line imperative. Why? For example, a poorly executed ad doesn't maximize the value of a media buy and makes inefficient use of the opportunity to reach prospects.

The best designs have a basis in strategy, address a targeted audience, clearly reflect a brand and work as one element of an integrated marketing communications program.

If that doesn't sound like your approach to design, it might be time for a change. After all, nobody can really afford to settle for mediocrity.

Bowen Smith

To learn more about our design services and how they contribute to effective integrated communications strategy, contact me at or 717-392-6982, ext. 100.

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