Designing with the end (user) in mind

2 June 2020

filed under

  • _ digital marketing
  • _ social media
  • _ website

Designing for the sake of making something beautiful and aesthetically pleasing should not be confused with the role of a designer. The criteria to justify beautiful design rests upon how well it served its function.

The saying rings true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The criteria we use to determine if design is beautiful or not, might seem subjective. Simultaneously, there are universal laws governing design trends. Parallel to this, design should serve a set goal and support the function of the design, whether it’s graphic design, illustrations, digital or print design. Therefore, to determine if a design is good or not, you also have to keep in mind how well it performs its function as well.

4 questions to ask before every design project

It is at our core to collaborate with our clients and to work with them. We take care to understand our client’s goals and ideas. So, keeping the briefs in mind, there are four main questions we ask:

  1. What is the goal of the design? To create awareness, educate or drive conversion will determine which elements to highlight in the design. Street posters should communicate important information in split second, hence minimum text in large print. Wine labels need to be unique and stand out on the shelves.
  2. What should it look like? Design styles include animation, geometric, simplistic, minimalistic, psychedelic, 3-dimensional and a spectrum more. Different audiences will be attracted to different styles.
  3. Who is it aimed toward? Age, gender, culture, LSM-groups and language will influence what the final product looks like.
  4. Where will the design live? Designing for print and digital respectively require different approaches. Even more, pamphlets, billboards on the highway, road-side posters, websites and social media posts serve different functions which influence the design journey.

Form vs Function

Every design should serve a purpose and function, whether it’s for decorative purposes like a modern daybed in a 5-star hotel, or an eye-catching company logo to stand out from your competitors.

Therefore, the purpose of a design is determined by the user’s needs, whereas the function is determined by how the user will interact with the design.

It has been proven time and time again that the more users find a design attractive, the more they will interact with it. Take websites for example. Even though a product-focused website like serves the purpose to sell laptops, the look and feel is extremely cluttered and therefore not functional. In contrast, Cape Town Gin Company’s website was designed with a young and vibrant audience in mind and to feature their product range. Our solution was to incorporate their bright colours and balance it with white space to make it easy for the user to navigate through the website to learn more about the product range and explore a few recipes.

Evaluating design

Designing for the sake of making something beautiful and aesthetically pleasing should not be confused with the role of a designer. The criteria to justify beautiful design, therefor, rests upon how well it served its function. For wine labels, the product needs to stand out on the shelf and the consumers should be able find the information they are looking for. With regards to websites, the web users need to navigate through the content effortlessly and take action where prompted.

It is also the role of the designer to ensure that the final work is in line with the client’s brief, target audience and the goal of the design.

With more than 40 years of combined experience, our team of outstanding designers design with the end user in mind. Feel free to browse through our portfolio and contact us to take your design to the next level.

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4 June 2021

Corporate identity is not just about picking a colour palate and a nice logo. It requires the creation of a visual language. Here are 4 steps to guide you through the beginning of building a corporate identity.