BY Benjamin

March 10, 2020

Feel like you’re spending too much time on design instead of running your business? We totally agree! That’s why our design team have put together their top time-saving hacks that will firmly anchor your brand in the minds of your customers. 

Businesses often launch straight into design without climbing up the mast to see the bigger picture. At 55 KNOTS we’re all about nailing the brief first go which is why we start with audience and brand identity. 

All aboard our 5-step journey to create winning design without the headache. 

1. Understand your target audience.

To create design that resonates with your audience, it’s important to firstly identify who they are. Information about age, gender, location and occupation will help you get into the minds and hearts of your potential customers as it influences the style and tone of your design. What action do you want the audience to take? Do you want the design to engage, drive leads or simply to entertain? 

Whether you’re targeting Pete the Pirate or Kathy the Commodore you want to communicate with your defined audience in a unique and intentional way. 

2. Define your brand guidelines.

You will save yourself loads of churn if you lay out and follow your brand guidelines from the get-go. A brand guideline document sets the visual tone, brand elements and rules that will keep your marketing materials and messaging in-line. It incorporates things like a brief outline of your company, colour palette, approved fonts (along with how to use them and where), i.e. headlines, copywriting guidelines, image styles and any other information relevant to your brand style. 

Want some tips on building your brand style guide? Read our post on Why Design Consistency Matters – A Lot.

3. Get the right design software for your needs.

If you’re doing your own design work you’re probably looking for a program which is both affordable and user-friendly. It’s important to be clear on what type of design you need as this will influence the program you choose. If you’re looking to create logos, cartoons and fonts then Adobe Illustrator is the way to go. To edit photos, images and create web graphics Adobe Photoshop is the better bet and it’s really not that expensive anymore – it’ll set you back about 20 bucks per month. 

4. Design, share, learn.

Christopher Columbus didn’t discover the Americas on his first voyage, it took him years of trips across the Atlantic Ocean. Before you rollout a whole suite of banners or an entire brand campaign, make sure you get your concept creative in front of fresh eyes, friends or potential customers. 

Ask them what they like/don’t like about the design. Does it make them feel happy, sad, excited or confused and calm? If they love it, great. If it’s not quite there, go back to the drawing board then reshare. Make sure you nail your design concepts first.

5. Get support from design experts.

If you’ve had a crack at DIY design but would like some creative tips and digital marketing expertise, getting a professional designer can save you hours. Professional designers are basically visual communication gurus. They are trained to translate your marketing goals into beautiful design. 

When it comes to uncovering that design ‘chest of treasure’, sometimes it’s easiest (and more fun) to get a crew of creative scallywags on your side!

Need help with your design? For affordable and consistent design your customers will love, check out the 55 KNOTS Subscription Packages. 


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Captain of ships and commander to a crew of designers. Benjamin Williams is a creative director with over 20 years of experience working with the world’s largest brands.