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How design can support your advocacy strategy


Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible, serving us without drawing attention to itself.

Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

Design is everywhere, and more often than not we don’t notice it.

Take a moment to look at this article. Ask yourself, what elements of it are helping you comprehend this information? On a basic level, we have the letters, a series of symbols that when brought together create a way of visually communicating spoken word.

That is design.

We have the title, which is placed at the top and is both larger and bolder than the rest of the text. Its placement and style ensure that this is the very first thing you see, reassuring you that you are in the correct place, and setting you up for what you are about to read.

That is design.

We have the image, set below the title, to break things up and provide a visual focal point. Image and text together are shown to be much more effective at encouraging recall and attention than text alone, as explored in our recent report. After all, we can comprehend an image in as little as 13 milliseconds but it takes us much longer to read and understand a paragraph of text communicating the same thing.

That is design.

And the underlined text in the previous paragraph indicates to you that there is something extra there, which may bring you to hover your mouse over to discover hyperlinks. Had that text been identical to the text around it, you might never have known.

That is design.

But why is this important?

When you spend time researching, digesting, thinking and eventually writing about something important to you or your organisation, you will likely want people to not only read what you have done but to quickly understand and subsequently recall it. That’s where the value is.

When 55% of people spend fewer than fifteen seconds on a page before deciding if it is worth their time or not, there must be an immediate hook. If someone lands on an article and there is no title in sight, they may think they are in the wrong place and leave. If they see an enormous chunk of unstructured black text on a white page, they may feel overwhelmed and leave. A title in the correct place, an image, colour, and clearly separated paragraphs are the absolute basic necessities.

Infographics are a perfect example of the benefits of design. A study by Levie & Lentz found that people following directions with text and illustrations carry them out 323% better than people following directions without illustrations. Data visualisations are able to present patterns and insights that are not visible in a written list.

After all, design is not just aesthetic. It is a system put into place to ensure people interact with content in the intended way. Integration of design into your campaigns is crucial. When used correctly it helps you to stand out, reinforces your brand, and promotes information recall.

So you have a coherent message and a solid brand identity, but what’s missing? Organisations must approach their advocacy from every angle in order to succeed online, whilst constantly referring back to their North Star to ensure their actions resonate in the right way. An omni-channel advocacy campaign which integrates visual and written content builds a consistent presence across multiple touchpoints, with a clear message and design boosting it all the way.

If you would like to explore your approach to advocacy and learn more about omni-channel advocacy, visit Advocacy Lab.

Juli Ferguson

Senior Consultant, Head of Design, based in London

Juli heads up Leidar’s creative team. She is an experienced design consultant who works with clients to develop outstanding visual communication solutions that resonate with audiences and deliver on brand objectives.

Should you have any queries contact us