What Design Is… and Isn’t

11 01 2013

Dawn Tomczyk-Bhajan giving a web design presentationMy husband’s a great guy. And because he’s a great guy, he insisted on supporting me at a recent speaking engagement at Eastern Michigan University, through a seminar-based company called Web Adventure Workshops.

I was asked to give an overview of Website Design.

While my mind was awhir with psychologically strategic content placement, target audience impact, and structural integrity across browsers, my husband was, very understandably, not-so-eagerly awaiting a 45 minute schpiel on how to make a website look “pretty.”

Happily, my podium time gave me the opportunity to dispel this popular myth for more than just my better half.

While I’m on a roll, let me clear up this point here, too…

Design is NOT the art of “making things pretty.” Design is the psychology of making messages effective, of initiating action via sensory stimulation.

In simplest terms: it’s getting people to do things… not in a creepy or mind-controlling way, but in showing them how your product or service provides a solution to their problem, whatever that may be.

More than that, design does not always have to be “pretty” to be effective. Looks play a role, but it’s not the end-all-be-all goal of a successful designer.

Here’s the thing… the purpose of a website is to elicit some sort of action from a targeted group of people, preferably within a desired time frame. That could be a call to contact the company, read its blog, follow its tweets, visit its store, leave a donation, pass on information, watch a video… the list goes on. And it can be several of those things at once.

A web designer – or any designer, really – needs to think about the psychology, the science, and the math of making that happen. The “pretty” part is icing on the cake.

Corporate culture, existing branding, structure, competitors, and mission all influence how the message is presented. That’s design.

Audience age, gender, income, interests, location, and culture all influence how a message is perceived. That’s design, too.

Colors, layout, navigation, style, imagery, and content all influence whether a message is acted upon. And that’s definitely design.

So, when you contact DMT Artistry LLC with your next design project, anticipate a fascinating, in-depth conversation that will not only help ME create effective marketing for you, but will give YOU useful insight into your own company and clientele.

And you can rest assured that we will make it look pretty, too. The artist in me is always happy to oblige.

“An object imbued with intent — it has power, it’s treasure, we’re drawn to it. An object devoid of intent — it’s random, it’s imitative, it repels us. It’s like a piece of junk mail to be thrown away.”  ~ John Hockenberry

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





What’s in It for Me?: Determining Why People Buy

7 09 2012

It gives me very great pleasure to introduce today’s guest blogger – my dad and marketing wizard, Fred Tomczyk! Without further ado…

Why do people buy?As a Marketing Communications Manager, one of my jobs is to identify the messages we want to tell our customers about our company and our products. The usual goal, of course, is to move them towards purchasing one of our products.

Here’s a simple way to approach this task.

Let’s start by talking a bit about how to select a message that has the best chance of stimulating sales.

The first thing you need to recognize before settling upon a message is why people buy your products or services. I emphasize the word “people” because whether you’re selling B2B or directly to a consumer, there is always a person making the decision to buy what you have to offer.

Recognizing that you are selling to a person, you need to ask yourself why your customers would want to buy what you have to offer. This is actually more challenging than it sounds. Everyone who is considering whether or not they should buy what you are offering is standing in front of you with a question written boldly across their forehead, just waiting for you to read it and give them the answer they need.

What’s that question? It’s simply, “What’s in it for me?”

What your customer is always asking is how will what you’re offering benefit them. This is really powerful, so let me emphasize this again. They want to know how the product or service you’re offering is going to BENEFIT them.

That word “benefit” is what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if your widget has a two inch diameter while the competition only has a one inch diameter (the feature). It doesn’t even matter that that two inch diameter means you are stronger (the function). All that matters is the BENEFIT he will derive from the fact that your widget has a two inch diameter and is stronger.

For example, because of this larger diameter, which makes your widget stronger, your buyer will experience increased confidence in using your widget. This may even help him protect his employees. It might help him make more money, improve his customer relations, reduce risk or save time..

Whatever the underlying benefit, your customer will decide to buy your product because they see the benefits that answer their question, “What’s in it for me?”

Here’s a simple example: Two people bought wrist watches. They both say they bought the watches so they can tell what time it is. One of them bought a $20 no brand, while the other bought a $4,000 Rolex. Both watches tell time. So why would one person buy a Rolex while the other buys a $20 disposable watch?

It’s all about the benefits they were seeking.

The $20 watch buyer may be content with telling time to be sure she gets to her appointments on time. The Rolex buyer says he’s buying the same function, but he’s also buying several other benefits. He’s buying the feeling of prestige. He’s buying something he believes makes him look and feel good. He’s buying something that he thinks tells people, “I’ve made it!”

So, if you were selling a Rolex, would you talk only about the high precision manufacturing process? The composition of the metal? The spring tension on the watch band?

Or, would you explain to your customers how their friends will admire them? How good it will look on their wrists?

Use the following list of benefits (“Reasons Why People Buy”) with your products or services. Develop your list of deliverable benefits so you can use them with all of your communications tools – face-to-face sales, web site, ads, literature/flyers, press releases, signs, packaging, etc. Remember to differentiate between Features, Functions and Benefits. Then use your lists of benefits to answer your customers’ question, “What’s in it for me?” and increase your sales

Reasons Why People Buy
To Increase:
• Profit
• Satisfaction
• Confidence
• Convenience
• Pleasure

To Protect:
• Investment
• Self
• Employees
• Property
• Money

To Make:
• Money
• Satisfied customers
• Good impressions

To Improve:
• Customer relations
• Employee relations
• Image
• Status
• Earnings

To Reduce:
• Risk
• Investment
• Expenses
• Competition
• Worry
• Trouble

To Save:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Space

Next Blog: Just two weeks away. If you can’t wait that long, contact me! I’m always happy to talk smart business.

Found today’s topic fascinating? Me, too! Here’s a bonus TEDx video, “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” that makes a phenomenal compliment to what my dad wrote above. Thanks to Chris and Jenny of Body Within Personal Training for bringing this video to my attention!

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





Purple Revelations: The Joy of Impermanence

24 08 2012

DMT Artistry LLC officeMy husband, who reliably radiates the patience of a saint, requires Netflix and a sleeping bag any time we select paint colors. Yes, I am one of THOSE people.

Put me in a paint department with my artistic soul and perfectionist tendencies, and Mother Theresa could be forgiven for bolting for the door.

So, when it came time to choose colors for my in-progress office, I did everyone a favor, and went it alone. Interestingly enough, it took less then 15 minutes for me to leave with my liquid treasure.

Which got me thinking…

The way I see it, my office colors are the epitome of impermanence… the exact OPPOSITE of how I view DMT Artistry’s re-branding. My office colors can be changed in a few hours with a gallon of paint and elbow grease. But I’ve given myself the expectation that my new DMT brand must remain consistent across materials, locations, and time.

That’s a Mt. Everest order. Every brand evolves – even for the big guys, like Pepsi and Xerox. It has to. Stagnation means death.

It seems to me, then, that the “get-it-right-the-first-time” mindset is one of the primary sources of entrepreneurial quicksand. In an effort to make it right the first time, make it work perfectly the first time, make it a raging success the first time, we set ourselves up to be the deer in the headlights.

Impermanence is not only less intimidating; it’s more realistic. It reduces waffling over decisions. (It should NOT, however, be used as an excuse to be, think, or act in a mediocre fashion. We already talked about mediocrity in last week’s blog.)

Tell me, what decision have you been postponing for ages because the fear of “getting it wrong” is looming, piano-like, over your head? I challenge you to recognize that an incorrect decision is workable – you’re rolling your eyes, but I’m quite serious, you can always always correct your course to wind up on unexpected, opportunity-packed avenues – but going nowhere is not.

Come on, fellow entrepreneurs – let’s take this business world by storm!

Next Blog: … will be written by a guest blogger marketing guru, who’s been a DMT go-to guy for inspiration, motivation and valuable support – my dad!

“Nothing endures but change.”  ~Heraclitus

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

 






Well, Color Me Successful…

20 01 2012

This post is about COLOR – and why it warrants a second glance in your design and marketing.

If you have any favorite colors, leave them on the doorstep. Successful marketing has next to nothing to do with your preferences, and nearly everything to do with psychology.

At the level of color, we’re actually impacting our viewers at a largely subconscious level. So whether or not blue is the surveyed fave of your clientele is secondary to which color is most likely to make them feel confident/excited/safe/proud/comfortable/cool enough to buy.

Defining Color
It’s easier to understand the power of color if you understand the basic terminology first. A tint of red, for example, has a significantly different psychological impact than a shade of red. And analogous color harmonies have nothing to do with analogies about colorful instruments.

Check out this super-mini Color Glossary and this equally concise overview of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary colors… just enough to get you started, and not enough to bore you. I know you have other things to do with your time than go through a 12-week course on color theory.

The Color Wheel
Now that you have a handshake acquaintance with color lingo, it’s time to revisit our old, grade school art class friend: The Color Wheel.

The Color Wheel is crucial, if only to recognize successful color partnerships when you see them, and avoid eye-jarring combinations that induce eye trauma. Would you rather bank with a company that uses stately blues and wealthy greens, or one that markets themselves with neon yellow, clown orange and puce?

Uh-huh. I thought so.

Not everyone is gifted with an eye for coordination, and that’s okay. There are plenty of pre-designed color schemes and swatches to choose from. This interactive, online Color Scheme Designer is a phenomenal tool for just about anyone, amateur or professional, who isn’t sure where to start.

The Psychology of Color
And now we get down to it… the point of analyzing your marketing color choices.

Just like a doctor’s office will use soft blues to soothe, grocers use natural greens to suggest organic and day cares use primary colors to appeal to kids, YOU have to consider the effect colors will have on your target audience.

Below is a first-rate visual that clarifies the concept brilliantly:

The Psychology of Color
Courtesy of: The Psychology of Color by Tech King

The DMT Challenge
Starting with your logo, list the main colors incorporated in its design. Use the chart above to jot down the psychological impact of each, and see if it matches with your marketing goals.

Now review your website, and then your marketing materials. Which colors predominate? What are they saying about your company?

“People ignore design that ignores people.” – Frank Chimero

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

Copyright © DMT Artistry, LLC. All Rights Reserved.





Putting a Paper Bag Over Your Head: The Importance of Good Design

8 09 2011

Bad design is like putting a bag over your headBusiness Number 1 is decked out in a magnificent tower of dramatically dazzling headgear.

Business Number 2 wears an equally stunning hat in more classically elegant lines.

Business Number 3 has a paper bag over its head.

1 and 2 are attracting all sorts of positive attention. 3 is hiding its light under generic grocery brown. What happened?

The difference is in the design.

As a small or start-up company, it’s easy to conclude that personally managing your own branding, online presence and print marketing will save you a bundle. Because it will… up front. But at what cost to your future?

The gift of the true entrepreneur is to think in terms of future value. And this is where a graphic designer can help.

Businesses 1 and 2 have recognized the value of working with a professional designer to create an image that draws eyes and interest. Their designer helped them build continuity across all marketing to make them memorable and instantly recognizable in a crowd. Their designer also helped them express the personality and culture of the business with unique marketing materials. Their ads visually and psychologically target the right audience. Their message comes across with clarity. Their branding suits both who they are now, and who they want to become.

In short, they’re wearing some pretty cool hats.

Business 3, on the other hand, presents generic marketing messages that are muddled and non-representative of the business. Its designs are unprofessional and make the business appear unprofessional by extension. There’s nothing particularly memorable about its ads. Its branding is non-existent.

For all intents and purposes, business 3 has pulled a paper bag over its head.

Understand, professional doesn’t mean cold or corporate. In fact, it takes ingenuity, expertise, enthusiasm and warmth to create marketing materials that intrigue, attract and build empathy and rapport.

Just as books are judged by their covers, business are judged daily by the marketing “hats” they wear. You hire professionals to prepare your business taxes, manage your legal contracts, replace the roofing, install your security system, ship your products and protect your profits. The all-important image of your business deserves the same professional treatment.

DMT Challenge of the Week
Look through your 2011 marketing materials – logos, ads, websites, posters, etc. Challenge yourself to view them from a potential customer’s perspective. What kind of message are you sending about your business, your level of professionalism and your expectation of success? Is there a consistent style across your materials?

Compare your marketing to your competitors’. Is yours distinguishable from theirs? Is your branding unique enough to not only be memorable, but to attract more attention, as well?

Now compare your marketing to a company in your field that’s at the level of success and profitability you ultimately want to achieve. How does yours measure up? Is your image holding you back, or driving you forward?

Ready to ditch the paper bag? DMT can design your business to the next level:

Dawn M Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

All content on this site is Copyright © DMT Artistry LLC. All rights reserved.

 





No Escape: The Not-So-Sinister World of Graphic Design

19 08 2011

You're surrounded by graphic design intended to add to your life experienceYou’re surrounded. It’s out to get you. It’s closing in on you from every side. There’s just no escaping…

Graphic Design!

Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’ references aside, graphic design is the kind of art form that’s literally everywhere. You ARE surrounded, just not by soul-sucking zombies. Instead, everywhere you turn are the brainchildren of creative minds that have a message to impart. And that message is intended to ADD value to your life.

When you think about it, graphic design wraps the world you live in in a dazzling array of visual ingenuity. The genius of it all is its ability to influence decisions, inspire actions and sway opinions in as quick as a fraction-of-a-second glance.

The occasional political propaganda notwithstanding, design’s intent is hardly sinister. It’s simply the visual counterpart, when done expertly, of a really compelling speech. What you do with the message is up to you.

People often associate graphic design with the bold and brazen shout of billboards and glossy ad slicks. But the truly fascinating thing about it is that it doesn’t have to be loud to be effective. Some of the world’s best graphic design “speaks softly, but carries a big stick”.

Take a look around you right now. You might see some obvious design in action – corporate calendars, website banner ads and newspaper advertisements. But I challenge you to look deeper. Have you ever paid attention to the design on your candy wrapper? Or the logo on your computer? What about the screen layout on your cell phone or the label on your nearest fire extinguisher? And have you ever given a second thought to the sticker on your vitamin bottle? The cover of your favorite book? The text emblazoned on the pen you’re holding in your hand?

Every single one of these was designed with purpose. The design has a function or functions to serve, and the designer gave those functions a visual “voice”. As you can imagine, this is not an easy task, and that’s why we graphic designers take such pride in a successful design launch.

DMT Challenge of the Week
Wherever you are as you’re reading this blog post, stop and look around you. Tally up the number of times you see graphic design in action. If you find less than 50, look again. Everything from product logos, to product labels, to planner pages, to the print on your keyboard keys, to the store signs, street signs and automotive insignias you can see out your window are graphic design. If you find 100 or more, NOW you’re thinking like a graphic designer!

Your visual language expert in the graphic design field:

Dawn M Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

All content on this site is Copyright © DMT Artistry LLC. All rights reserved.