Crafting digital content or complex design solutions using pre-made templates or drag and drop builders might be an easy way of keeping your content machine going, but it certainly isn't the best way of catering to the problem in large.

If you – being a digital content creator and/or a multi-disciplinary visual artist – conceive & create design solutions including key-visuals, wireframes, or websites, without thoughtfully decoding the problem that the user experiences, your design runs the risk of becoming a temporary vehicle of eye-candy with no backend value as such. What many creatives fail to understand is that even if we feel the unmeasurable urge of doing something extraordinary on untitled.psd, we shouldn’t use the same good old model of ‘just trust me’ to present it to the end-user or the client; we must specify and structure the thought-process, use the correct design grammar & rules, and give an appropriate and logical rationale for opting for the desired approach.

It wouldn’t be wise to spend hours creating something which wouldn’t really grab the customers’ attention or make them take the desired action. Thus, design research is incredibly important, because when building brands, first impressions are everything. A well-crafted design – be it an Instagram post, a landing page or your app’s display screens on the play-store – is more likely to yield better engagement in terms of likes, comments, impressions or downloads if you first consider the intention of the content before you create it.

Here’s a handful of strategies that you can employ to your craftsmanship in order to create something that will break through to your consumers to build a lasting relationship:

1. Design Thinking:
Design Thinking is a human-centered approach that aims to solve both basic and complex problems by keeping the needs of the people, technological possibilities and the business’ goals and objectives on the forefront. It primarily starts with observation; an informed understanding of the culture, context and root-cause of the problem, and then embarking on a journey to ideate, innovate, prototype and test.

Design Thinking and problem solving was well described by our very own Omer Salimullah – a digital banking veteran and COO of SadaPay. Omer likes to say, “love the problem, don’t love the solution.” One should be willing to go where the evidence leads them, and shouldn’t turn down the idea of listening to the customers, even if they are ripping the ‘perfect’ solution to shreds.

2. Bring Innovation:
This does not mean you should give a one-star rating to Behance and Pinterest on PlayStore because there’s nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from these super amazing platforms. But, one should try to mix and match different styles that you are able to gather – be it mentally or on a canvas – to come up with compelling solutions that can help you win the pitch and viewership game.

3. Cultural Compatibility:
When designing something new and artsy for your audience, always remember to stay culturally relevant in terms of aesthetics, pictures, elements and copy. This approach will help you create things which your desired target audience could easily relate and respond to.

Here’s a sneak preview of one of our app screens – to help you better understand cultural relevance in design. Now if you are able to instantly relate to this delicate and Sada illustration of the ID Card in green, it’s because your mind is pre-tuned to the relevance of something of such sort to your NIC in real life.
4. Co-creation:
Experience is the key to creating sustainable and lasting design solutions. As a designer, you must be open to the idea of co-creating with your consumers. The consumers, nowadays, look beyond an ad; they crave to speak to their favourite brands in order to be a part of their creative process. They, too, want their favourite brands to outclass its competitors, and I believe a designer – for the love of the consumers, can play a huge role in making that happen. So, the next time a top fan of your brand’s communication writes about the way you should revamp your design grid or change the UI of your app’s dashboard, pay 100% attention to them. They might bring in valuable suggestions that could significantly enhance your design game and help you make your secret sauce spicier. In addition, monitoring past engagement of prior content is a valuable learning experience to learn what resonates and what doesn’t; optimise your creatives according to feedback from your audience.

5. Presentation:
The final ingredient in the secret sauce of producing excellent content – presentation. Presenting your work in a well-designed format, be it in the form of PowerPoint presentations or phone mockups, can help sell with ease. If you present your ideas in isolation of its context, then you might not really be able to get your message across and captivate your audience. Well-designed presentations always go a long way; they will help you develop a professional image of yourself and the brand that you are working on, enhance viewers’ retention, and give you an overall competitive edge.
So, whether you’re working on a complete brand identity or if it’s just a restaurant menu, if you start following even two of these strategies, you are destined to go a long way.
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