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Ideas to Inspire

Design Thinking — 3 Features of Good Design (How Good Design Helps Your Brand Flourish)

by Tim Blake

I’ve written about the benefits of good design in the past. Here, I offer three different attributes of good design and give you even more reasons to hire a professional designer.

Good design can grow your brand.

1. Good design is captivating…

Recently, I experienced something that, once again, caused me to assess the value of good design. What was this event? Well, believe it or not, it was a video. More specifically: the title sequence for the Red Bull Signature Series, by Vogner Creative Design Studio. This video caused me to stop channel surfing and watch an actual surfing event.

I know, when most of us think about surfing, Jeff Spicoli comes to mind. But it wasn’t like that. As I watched the competition unfold, I began to appreciate the athletic talent, the creativity and sheer guts that it took to perform. In fact, I concluded that anyone who would allow themselves to be dragged onto the face of a five-story wall of water – that’s poised to crush him – and then stand up on a tiny piece of Styrofoam to calculate the most daring escape route, is to be admired.

Even though this video aired only once during the episode, I kept watching in hopes of seeing it again. I was so enamored that I spent the next two hours watching an event, which I knew very little about and had no stake in its outcome. In the interim, I became a fan… not just of surfing, but also of Red Bull.

So how does this relate to your brand? Well if a simple video caused me to invest a couple of hours, what more could a creative package design — for a product that your prospect is currently shopping for — or an intelligent user interface — on a website that they’re already browsing — do for your brand?

2. Good design is seductive…

This video has so many outstanding qualities — on target messaging, cutting-edge graphics, amazing post production — but the one thing that immediately stood out, was simply how beautiful it was. The entire composition was so much more than the sum of its parts.

While several factors go into any design, when I’m designing, my primary consideration is how best to entice your audience. Because if I fail to draw them in, everything else I do is pointless.

Without an inviting lure, your prospect will never take the bait.

Once you have their attention, It’s up to you to help customers know more about your brand; to appreciate its personality; to reinforce its values and principles. But until your prospect is seduced, he or she will never care about your brand’s other amazing attributes.

3. Good design is an emissary…

The truth is, I have long admired Red Bull’s marketing tactics. They have a full grasp of their Gen Y audience. They know that members of this demographic want to be involved and love railing against the powers that be. So by fabricating totally unconventional events – Flugtag, Air Race, Stratos — while sponsoring more mainstream events — Formula One Racing, America‘s Cup — Red Bull has been able to engage this highly prized demographic, better than any other brand.

The video — with its kaleidoscopic color palette, malleable triangular grid, death-defying action and inspirational message — epitomizes the Red Bull brand and the philosophical perspective of its audience members. The fact that I — someone who doesn’t exactly fit Red Bull’s target audience — was drawn in, is simply a problem most brands would love to have.

When done right, good design symbolizes and even defines your brand. Like other aspects of your brand — essence, commitment, personality, values — your audience will attribute the undeniable impact, that good design brings, to your brand.

Let good design work for your brand…

So if you’re tired of your brand being a wallflower, in its respective market, then perhaps it’s time to get your brand out on the dance floor. Maybe with a few stylish moves, your brand will begin to attract the right kind of attention. Perhaps prospective partners will begin to take notice, and choose to dance with your brand. Who knows, once they get to know your brand, they may even decide to build a long-term relationship.

If that’s what you want for your brand, then let’s get together. Let me help your brand become the center of attention. Once prospects catch a glimpse of your brand, they won’t consider any other.

Tim Blake is Principal/Owner of Blake Design, a design and branding consultancy based in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has over 25 years experience in the design and marketing industries. Tim uses his expertise to help businesses and organizations communicate their ideals and connect with their desired audience.

Tim Blake – who has written posts on Blake Design.

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4 Responses

  1. Dave Orrico says:

    Your insight is an interesting perspective. I don’t know a lot about “Brand Management” though I consider myself a life-long learner of everything retail/business.

  2. Gogo says:


    I’m a fan of your articles and I’ve been revisiting them when thinking through branding-related issues.

    My background isn’t in design, so I especially appreciate the combination of intelligence and simplicity that your insights on design convey.

    Take point #2 above.

    This “seductive” quality of good design – in fact, your use of that exact term – is especially apt. It’s that “missing piece” that makes so many simple designs the most compelling – our brains keep trying to complete the picture. For instance, all my favorite cartoonists seem to exhibit this attribute in spades.

    • Tim Blake says:

      Thanks so much Gogo.

      There are several design principles at play in what you’ve observed: Closure, Ockham’s Razor, Cognitive Dissonance, Continuation, Classical Conditioning – I’ll let you do the research. But the principle that most readily applies, to what you’re speaking of, is termed Aesthetic-Usability Effect. In simple terms, this means that form follows function. So when you see something that fits that particular aesthetic, you’re personally drawn to it. However that doesn’t mean that others will be.

      Only by understanding their audience can brand managers – as well as designers – generate a desired reaction. Only by employing certain design principles, can brand managers – or other stakeholders – entice the kind of audience they hope to attract.

      My apologies, but I haven’t written many articles of late. I hope to get back to it soon. I have lots of interesting points that I want to address, but I just can’t seem to make the time.
      Please keep visiting. Hopefully I’ll have more articles posted soon.

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