What is ‘digital design’


So – What is Digital Design? – it’s the buzzword of 21st century marketing. But what does it really mean and how does traditional design relate to it?

Quite simply design that used to be done pre-computer is now done on computer and via computer networks, including the Internet.

Marketing communication (promotion) still relies on words and pictures to attract attention and motivate existing and, particularly. potential new customers towards purchase, consumption and repurchase of goods and services and the building of those into trusted brands.

Promotional expertise once relied on traditional graphic design – the creation and manipulation of words, supported by type styles, photographs, illustrations and other graphics, to produce attractively persuasive communication – particularly in press, print and outdoor.

Change has been a constant in all human activity and particularly in communication. Radio, radar and television were early pioneers in the digital revolution. But it was the invention of computers, their miniturisation and the distribution of words and pictures via the miracle that is the Internet that created the communications explosion that has truly made the world a ‘global village’.

Photography – a major input to design excellence – was ‘digitised’ – cameras no longer needed ‘film’. Even hard copy print materials are increasingly printed ‘digitally’ and even ‘traditional printing’ cannot be achieved without and increasing range of computerised inputs.

A burgeoning array of digitised, miniturised, computerised components bring us increasing efficient, high quality, labour saving and convenient devices and ‘applications’ without which it would be difficult to live comfortably in today’s world.

We bank, drive, communicate and are entertained in a digital world and by digital devices. Just think of the myriad of applications and the services those deliver on a relatively tiny mobile telephone – from high-definition photography; 24/7 access to instantly available, up-to-the-second news, information, music, vision and other entertainment via the world-wide-web; voice and text recognition, transfer, record and storage in message banks so we need never be out of reach, or touch; to diaries, to do lists, alarms, photo albums, market updates, calculators, air, road and rail transport services, travel advice, online books; and much, much more.

The world is digital and, like it or not, we either try to keep up or we fall out of touch. Marketing has had to stay in touch. It always has! Marketers have needed to understand and be able to utilise every new invention that has enabled more cost-efficient, higher quality marketing communication outputs – the tools of persuasion. Design has been no exception – particularly with society’s constant move away from print (although it still holds a major place) and towards communication – visual and oral – via the screen, 24/7.

Mobile phone and personal computing have given us all easy access to the Internet as the digital distributor of information – it really has become the ‘world-wide-web’. Increasingly, we all look to websites, streaming, blogs, podcasts; and to our email, phones and other mobile devices for information and entertainment as well as the enticingly attractive possibilities in sharing our own news, thoughts, opinions, attitudes, memories and relationships ‘online’, through the new ‘social media’ channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, U-tube and the many others that already exist or are emerging almost constantly. ‘Continuous innovation and improvement’ is the mantra of the digital technology industries.

Marketing has had to keep up with this revolutionary explosion in the way we communicate. And to service marketing communication, so has design. It simply does not cut the mustard anymore to think in ‘hard copy’ terms – the old ‘cut and paste’ methods of preparing artwork in hard copy have largely disappeared in favour of computerised, digitised imagery.

But some things haven’t changed and are as old as design that began with mankind’s earliest cave paintings. First among those are creativity and the ability to render images in an attractive and pleasing way to capture and hold attention. In marketing communication (branding and promotion) these always were and still are the first considerations in any attempt to interest potential consumers and persuade them to buy. At DesignLab we call it the “creativity that connects” – you and your organisation with your customers and stakeholders.

Yes, today, we do that in and for the digital environment, using all the digital tools at our disposal. We create digital brochures, websites, email and social media campaigns. We know how to use digital technology and methods to measure their effectiveness and to help you adjust your communications campaigns for the best possible results. Yes, we build websites too and help keep them front-of-mind and top of search engine lists through ‘SEO’ – Search Engine Optimisation – an art and science in itself! And, yes, we also offer specialised communications campaigns to help you impact existing and potential customers through the various social media channels – helping you choose and exploit those that will best reach and positively influence your desired audiences.

But, at the end of the day, we’re ‘old fashioned’ to the extent of needing to comprehensively understand your business, particularly your marketing objectives and strategy; your target customers and the idiosyncrasies that make them unique; and their motivations, wants and needs that are the keys to us helping you communicate persuasively with them. We’ll help you reach them. We’ll help you teach them. And we’ll help you persuade them to buy – and to help keep them coming back for more. Your part is to deliver product and service excellence so they’ll be glad to pay the price and go away smiling as an advocate for your business. And, we even have experienced professional marketing associates who can help you with that! When existing customers do recommend you to their friends and relatives, we become part of your business tool kit again, helping to provide the creative persuasive communication – using design excellence – that can very well contribute to these potential new customers’ first and all-important impressions of your business – often via a digital channel such as your website.

Design excellence pays for itself – over and over, and over again! These days it’s developed, and delivered, digitally. At DesignLab we’ve kept up and keep up. ‘Digital’ to us, is just the world we live in. And we understand that you and your business do too. But digital design starts with – and can’t do without – the basic requirement of traditional design – the creativity, imagination, innovation and stylish branding and promotional communication for which DesignLab is increasingly famous – delivered to you through the spirit of business partnership that was a founding core value and remains a continuing tenet of our business. We know that for it, and us, to succeed, we need to bring our expertise and experience to bear to help ensure your business, and you, succeed too!

We invite you to contact us at DesignLab – in person, or digitally – by phone on 0431 926 575, email info@designlab.net.au – to arrange a personal, face-to-face discussion about how we can help partner your business for success in the digital world.