How to Design for Business
As designers, we are accustomed to fielding questions about resolution, pixels, PMS, typography, kerning, Lorum Ipsum, hex codes, UX, CMYK— it’s as if we have our own language.
But do you speak the language of business? Because when we’re talking with our clients— whether internal or external— they are typically not designers or creative professionals. Instead, they may be from marketing, operations, finance, or sales, and their focus is not so much on the font or finishing we’re recommending, but on the budget, cost, logistics, and ROI. (We’ll get to ROI in another installment of this series— stay tuned.)
Understanding and conversing with clients in business terminology reshapes conversations from subjective to objective, where we discuss our “why” behind a design and how it is, well, designed to achieve specific business goals.
Design for Business: Part 2
In Part 1 of this series, I introduced The Business 6,™ a very short glossary of the top six business terms that help creatives shift a conversation from a subjective opinion on the aesthetics of a design to an objective analysis of how the design will help a business achieve its goals. When we integrate these terms in client conversations and meetings, we amplify our credibility, our influence, and our impact as a strategic business partner – beyond our role as a designer. I have experienced it in action over and over again: clients hear our design input with more receptive ears when we share it in their language – the Language of Business™.
The reason is simple: typically our clients are not creatives. Instead, they may be from finance, marketing, or operations, and they are focused on customer acquisition, growth indicators, and other business targets. Talking with clients and stakeholders in the Language of Business transforms a design project from a creative endeavor to an investment in design as a strategic business initiative. These kinds of integrated business conversations may also give your clients the confidence to experiment and take more creative risks – something I view as a win-win.
Market Your Wisdom, Not Your Time
What Vicki Strull, Daniel Dejan and Trish Witkowski achieve is to bring the lofty world of data driven creative processes to an understandable level. Not a mystery. Not an exclusive exercise of the elite. In a direct, straightforward style these three creative souls lift the veil. The benefit is seeing where the empty seats at the creative decision-making table exist. What’s more, and most important, they explain who should be seated in those seats and why.
Sitting through the MarketWise Academy workshop the other day confirmed my belief that graphic communications businesses must understand design. Not just the files they receive to work with, but the considered and complex thought processes that lead to the creation of those files.
Being creative is one thing. It is for those inclined to think different. Those willing to take many approaches to the same challenge, confident in the validity of each, and be able to develop the one that works best. In the commercial graphics world creativity at the ideation stage, where the risks are taken, is where designers shine. From a goal that is data derived to a visual representation that connects emotionally and communicates effectively is the magic designers bring.
Trish Witkowski, Daniel Dejan, and Vicki Strull the founders of MarketWise Academy join Deborah Corn to discuss how they have joined forces to help creative professionals, marketers, and print service providers navigate and thrive in a post-pandemic world. Learn about their Fast. Forward. Masterclass and how you can leverage today’s powerful tools, technologies, and techniques to enhance your printing, marketing campaigns, communications, and more.