The other day, a business colleague asked me how I become so passionate about quality design. I needed to think about this question because 'design' has been a part of who I am for such a long time. To be honest, every component of my professional life is connected to design.
As a child, and like most people, pretty things caught my attention.
My mother, a phenomenal seamstress, specialized in wedding dresses. What's not pretty about a wedding dress to a six-year-old? Being a young child, seeing the sparkling sequence, the glow of pearls, and the texture of the lace had an impact.
Sometimes, when a bride came for a fitting, my mom would let me sit in the corner (but only if I was super quiet). Seeing the emotional reaction of a bride looking at herself in a custom wedding dress infused in me a strong connection between emotion and beautiful design.
Naturally, as I grew up I wanted things I thought were aesthetically pleasing and invoked in me a strong emotion. It became part of who I was and how I looked at the world.
This connection influenced me...
as I started “creating” as a professional. Starting out as a technology trainer, the intrinsic connection between quality design, quality content, and effective communicate quickly became clear to me. As a newbie, I looked at lots of examples.
At the time, there were so many instructional materials that were just pages and pages and pages of text. Often I said to myself ‘this is really valuable information but holy crap, no one will read this and the major points are completely lost.’ Thus began my journey of thinking about design as a way to communicate clearly.
I quickly realized quality design wasn’t about adding a pretty picture or editing the copy so that it was precise or to the point. It was about using design principles (graphic design and layout, instructional design, web design).
The web allows for a rich, visual environment and incredible platform to teach people.
The need for clear communication with quality design is more important within the online environment.
When I see 'poor design' (at least, what I consider it to be), I know it is because of one of two things. One, the person doesn’t see the connection between quality content and quality design OR two, they don’t have the skill set to create the design they really want to create. Most times it is the latter reason. The good news is that learning these skills is possible.
If you are an online educator, a professional creating an online presence, or small-business owner providing online content, you have to think about design.
It is important. Your quality content and the message you are communicating is getting lost is you are not thinking about design.
If you don’t think about how you’re designing that information, particularly if you are creating calls to action, lead magnets, opt-ins, or asking for an up-sell, then you are quite possibly losing potential followers or clients. Quality design and quality content are really two sides of the same coin.