Brand Design – Part 1: How Do You Judge Design Quality?
- How the Pros Judge Good Design vs. Bad Design
- 7 Factors to Consider When Evaluating Design Quality
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 55% of brand impressions are based on visual branding elements. This important statistic emphasizes the value of the phrase “first impressions last.” You want that impression to be a good one, and design quality is a critical aspect of it.
But what is good design, really? What one person considers good might not be equal to another’s opinion. The subjective nature of design adds to the complexity of an already confusing part of branding.
Here, we’ll discover how to solve this problem when it comes to building your brand identity and more.
How the Pros Judge Good Design vs. Bad Design
What makes a good design good? Professionals use specific metrics to evaluate design quality and to determine whether it’s a suitable fit for your brand or not. We’re going to dive into them now.
Note: Feel free to use these web design examples for guidance as well.
Quality Design Has a Good Use of Color & Contrast
According to research, color increases brand recognition by a whopping 80%. Although consumers may not recognize your brand by its name, there’s a good chance they’ll recognize it by your colors.
Humans react to various colors differently. Therefore, it’s important to capitalize on color psychology when setting out to create a design that elicits the right impression. There’s a reason 40% of Fortune 500 companies use blue for their branding. This color evokes feelings of peace, security, order, productivity, and more.
Choosing a specific color palette to represent your brand is one way you can build on good design quality. From that main color scheme, you can incorporate contrasting elements that will give the design depth and make it easy to resonate with your target audience.
Alignment & Composition Are User Friendly
Alignment and composition are integral components of successful online branding and marketing design. We’re talking about how the various elements of a design—such as the images, text, and logo—are integrated in a user-friendly way.
Alignment must be complemented with a well-built composition, which is how you arrange the various elements on a page to enable them to interact. Even if the elements are properly aligned, a lack of composition can render it meaningless or ineffective. Moreover, it can have a negative impact on user experience.
Quality Designs Are Intuitive & Have a Good Flow
A good design must have a proper flow from one element to another. You don’t just incorporate elements for visual enhancement, especially if they don’t serve a purpose.
The ability to use visual direction is a compelling strategy in web design and development for good design quality. When it flows well, it also makes a page easy to navigate and the information easy to digest.
Good Designs Are Free From Interference
Are your design elements interfering with the purpose of the page? If they are, it can cause your website visitors to have difficulty navigating your site, which results in a poor web experience and reduced conversions.
Good design is not just about visuals. It should also consider functionality and efficiency.
7 Factors to Consider When Evaluating Design Quality
How do you know you’ve got a winning design? Design in the context of websites and marketing collateral is not an abstract concept.
Here are the most important factors to help you evaluate if the quality of your design communicates your message and achieves the desired outcome…
1. Design Quality Should Be a Collaboration
Different departments in your organization should work together and collaborate when building a good design. People in different departments think differently about the company, and that input can be invaluable.
When you consider the other elements of your branding and marketing strategy—through the collaborative efforts of these departments—you’ll have a design that delivers results.
2. The Message of the Design Should Be Clear
Above, we talked about the importance of flow on a web page. The delivery of the message is one reason flow plays a vital role in design quality.
Design can either make your message clear or interfere with the delivery of that message. To achieve the former, you should have a focal point in your design, such as a headline. Building visual hierarchy in your design layout makes navigating the supporting details of your message easy.
On the flip side, a lack of focal point can confuse the viewer as to which information to focus on first, leading to the message being diluted in the process.
3. The Design Should Speak to Your Audience
Build a design with your audience in mind. This approach allows the designer to create a design that will actually resonate with your intended audience.
Here’s an example: As mentioned previously, blue is a color of choice for many Fortune 500 companies. This color represents stability and trustworthiness. It’s no wonder banking and finance firms choose it as part of their design; it is appropriate for the clients they serve and the image they want to project.
4. It Should Be Original
Some would argue that there is no such thing as original these days. However, originality is an important basis of design quality. Allow your creativity to flourish so that you can stand out from the competition. But make sure it is aligned with your branding and marketing principles.
The concept of “originality” in design makes your brand easily recognizable, which boosts brand recall. You’ll want your target audience to associate with your brand when they see your logo or a particular color palette.
5. Every Design Should Reinforce Your Branding
To the point above, your design needs to be consistent with your brand. You can think of design as the medium through which you can build an instant connection with your target audience.
When your target audience visits your website, the page’s design should communicate what your brand is about. It should make it easy for them to assess what your offerings and services are in a visual manner.
Use this same design approach not just on your website but also in other aspects of your brand, such as your logo and product packaging. The more consistent you are with sticking to your brand, the more effective your designs will be.
6. Your Design Should Be Tested
Even if you are satisfied with the design quality of a page, you should conduct testing and analysis to assess its performance and effectiveness. Often, one little tweak can greatly enhance the design, improving conversions.
There are various ways to measure your design performance:
- Conducting surveys
- Setting up product focus groups
- Performing sales data research
- Doing A/B testing between variations
7. Quality Designs Hold Up over Time
Longevity is the ultimate measure of a good design. Trends come and go, so you will want to be careful about using them in your design. Otherwise, you may find yourself having to rework the design to fit into the latest trend in a few months.
A good design must stay relevant despite the prevailing trends. This will serve your brand for a long time and maximizes its role in forging brand recognition.
An excellent example of this is the McDonald’s logo. It is simple, classic, and easy to recognize. The brand hasn't changed its logo for years, and yet it continues to be one of the most powerful brand symbols out there.
Design quality can be challenging to figure out. That’s why there are experts you can hire specifically for the job. The best designers have knowledge and experience with marketing and branding to aid them in their design decisions.
If you want to leverage the expertise of our top designers, be sure to download our style guide template. It will simplify your design approach while giving you plenty of customization options to make your ideas come to life.
Check out part 2 of this series, where we discuss everyone’s favorite design topic—color!