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Content Meets Design: Bringing Your Project to Life

by Vaughn Anthony

The creative process is serious business, and for this blog post, I’d like to focus on two areas: content and design. Most creative projects, such as a website or a poster to recruit patients for a study, contain these two key elements. Each element is distinct, yet they must work in unison. Here are some thoughts and tips regarding creating content and design, and bringing them together.

Definitions

First, definitions. I’ll begin with design since that is what the eye often sees first. Effective design will attract your audience’s attention. Your audience will take in the visual elements, such as color, shapes, or lines prior to reading even a few words. The arrangement of these elements determines what your product will look like. Design should be a chair that looks comfortable. It invites you to sit down and give us a moment.

The content is your message. Your words. What you want to say. Content is where your purpose of getting your audience to act emerges. You’re trying to motivate or inspire your audience to do something or feel something. It’s the message that leads to your call to action.

Collaborating

In most cases, two different individuals, and often two entirely different teams, drive the elements of content and design. These individuals and teams, like content and design itself, must collaborate and work in harmony throughout the process.

A recurring theme in our branding blog series has been the importance of communication. All parties involved with content and design should meet to discuss parameters and expectations before principle work begins. What are the physical specs? For example, the exact size of a poster or web banner.

Put a timetable together. When will each side have something to show the other? The writing team can work on the copy while the design team puts together its ideas for design (they can put dummy text in place of the content as a placeholder).

The final product

Ideally, the word count is just right, the design is attractive, and the headline and artwork sync together nicely. But what if there is a conflict, for example, between headline and art? Let’s say the writing team comes up with a great headline, but it is too many words, or the design features a photograph that doesn’t fit the patient demographics.

What should be done if each team is sold on its idea, and not willing to budge? You should establish before you begin who has final say. And that person should be kept apprised of the progress from both teams as work progresses.

In this blog post, I’ve discussed ideas to help smooth the creative process, and before I go, maybe you’d like to ask, “Hey, Vaughn, that’s all good, but how do we come up with great ideas that will look perfect and text that will get our potential participants to act?”

Ideas don’t invent themselves and they don’t show up out of thin air. My advice is to put as much time into your timeline as possible for your team to incubate ideas. Time to look out the window, so to say, and let your brain work.

And feel free to contact us at Imperial for our ideas.

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