Designing Your Document: Making Sense & Looking Awesome

This guest post from Inqune’s Senior Design Consultant Janine Eckhart explains why informational designers do a lot more than make your content “look pretty.”

We’ve got designer clothes. And designer fragrances, designer paint colors, and designer cars. “Designer” is so ubiquitous that doesn’t feel special anymore. Meant to indicate a level of luxury, “designer” often feels put on.

Amid all of this noise, design services may seem over-the-top, silly, or egotistical, but intentional, good design works in service of the message, putting it out in front, supporting it, and clarifying it with the lightest touch possible.

Making Sense

A designer for your presentation, your company’s brochure, or your new-hire onboarding paperwork is a second set of eyes. We catch errors you can’t see anymore because you are so familiar with the content; we make sure your message really is what you think it is. I love (I actually love) realizing that a client has sent me a table that should be bullet points, or the information in a paragraph is better suited to a table. Last, your great designer will make sure your project can be built on time and within your budget, because we exist in the real world.

Looking Awesome

The visual components —  the fonts and graphic assets, the shape and form of the paper, the file format, the aspect ratio — become the structural, nonverbal part of your message and a good designer is careful that everything on the page is in service of the message. To that end, it’s best if it all looks totally awesome. “Awesome” looks different for every project, and it’s our job to ask thoughtful questions to determine what awesome means to you and to align those preferences with the specific needs of the project.

Design Kickoff Questions 

  • Who is the audience? What do they know about your message already?
  • What format does this project need to take? Paper, digital, or both, for starters.
  • What assets do we have already? Are there branding guides, logos, colors, or images?
  • What’s the mood? Are we having any fun? We don’t have to have fun, but I sure like it when we do.

You are an expert in your field and in your message. Enlisting design services to make your message as clear and shiny as it can be will boost your signal above the noise.