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Brand and Design for Business Success – how to ask the right questions

Brand and Design for Business Success – how to ask the right questions

As design and brand specialists, the team at Brio Group are accustomed to fielding loads of questions from our clients about their design and communication needs. To help you know the right questions to ask we’ve enlisted managing director Belinda Vesey-Brown to help.

Q. When designing for a business’s marketing collateral, what constitutes good design?
A. A clear hierarchy of information. It’s pretty simple, but it allows the key messages to communicate correctly – and in the right order for audience engagement. For example, at a top level the audience reads the headline, picture and generally the caption to see if it’s something they’re interested in. When qualifying your business, your audience asks themselves “Do I need this information?” and “Can these people help me?” The next step is the secondary level of information that outlines additional key messages. And finally, at the third level, a general rule of thumb is the more expensive the item, the more detail will be read.

Q. What questions should a business ask their agency?
A. Firstly, I believe it’s important to understand the breadth of service your creative agency offers, as some may be specialists in just one area. Once you learn a little more about their service menus, you can determine if they’re giving you advice on one specific area and perhaps not offering a holistic service – if this is important for your business. It’s vital to understand their turnaround times – is it a one-person business or an agency with a large team who can be flexible with pressing deadlines? Also you should request who will be managing your account and what systems they have in place should they go on holidays. Graphic design forms part of the big picture of your marketing and branding initiatives, so why not ask if they’re clued up with the latest technologies, like social media, and understand how to design for them effectively.

Q. What are the essentials to include in a graphic design brief?
A. I love it when a client has outlined a detailed history of their brand; listed their current marketing collateral and where it is in the market; revealed what’s worked and what hasn’t worked for them; and importantly – has shared with me a deep understanding of their target market. For example, I’d want to know where their target market communicates in all the new channels. If you don’t know, this is something to ask your agency to help out with. And of course, it’s essential to outline your expected timeframes and a budget, if you’re working to a strict one.

Q. What’s one special tip you’d like to share?
A. You can’t think of just one brochure or an advertisement in isolation; it needs to be part of the big picture. One of the questions I ask my client first up is: “How is your new marketing piece going to integrate with your sales process?” Having a total appreciation for your brand and every touchpoint (website, direct mail, press advertising, outdoor, social media, etc) that communicates consistently and leverages on each point is the key to a successful collection of marketing collateral that support each other and has optimum market saturation at the same time. It never really begins and ends with one brochure!

To discover Brio Group’s full suite of services, from Design, Digital, Advertising and PR, please visit our Services page.

Yours in communication design,


Belinda Vesey-Brown About the author
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