Some of the most successful campaigns can have the simplest of designs. Here, I share my five top tips on how to design for digital PR campaigns, and the key steps to follow to ensure you’re producing the best possible creative solution.
What is the aim of the campaign and what are you trying to achieve?
Before starting any creative processes, you should always understand what the aim or objectives for the campaign are, and what you are trying to achieve from pushing this creative out into the world. If you don’t have this information, get it.
Put in a meeting with the PR team leading the campaign and ask them to run through not just the campaign, but the client as a whole. What are they about? What is their tone of voice? Who are their audience and who are their competitors?
All of this information will set you up for designing something that is made to reach the right people, as well as informing or gaining a particular reaction.
What is the best way to show your data/findings?
After your campaign data has been gathered, whether it be quantitative or qualitative, the real question is what is the best way to present this information?
From experience, this is a crucial time to remember that you don’t always have to make some extravagant, complex design to communicate a simple piece of data. Sometimes a stripped back map graphic or index table will do just the trick. Some of the most successful campaigns we have done have been based on a simple table design. It’s our job to make that data easily digestible and appealing to its audience.
The flipside to this is that it’s great when you get the opportunity to run wild with a design. Full interactive designs which give the user an experience can be an extremely rewarding way of representing findings. You have the skill and opportunity here to create a fully immersive creative that can drive multiple reactions. But remember, there is a time and place.
Consider your design formats and styles
Know the space you are designing for. Ensure your designs are responsive if they need to be. Mobile design is just as important, if not more so, than desktop these days, so always consider how static designs will scale down for mobile, or whether a separate narrower width design will need to be done. Also be mindful of the styling of the page that the design will be on. Do you want it to stand out and be eye catching, or do you want it to be in keeping with the rest of the page?
Also bear in mind that publications will use your designs on their own sites in articles. Whether it’s a snapshot of an interactive or the whole static design, it’s wise to ensure that the design works on its own. It needs to have context wherever it is used.
To brand or not to brand? – that is the question
It’s often a misconception that if it’s anything to do with a brand, then it must look and feel exactly like them. I would argue that this shouldn’t be the case. This will often be dependent on your client as they may have particular guidelines that you should follow – and that’s fine and it works for a lot of brands. But, where you have the freedom to be more experimental with your design, go for it. These designs are not advertising a product or service, they are creating conversations and relatable content which hopefully in turn, will bring people back to their site or raise of awareness for who this content is coming from. So, create something these audiences haven’t seen before, and always relate it back to my previous point of the campaigns’ aims and objectives.
Find out what has worked well in the past
Research prior to designing is always key. Find out which campaigns have done well in the past. Your PR team can help you with this during the briefing stage, but you should always be scheduling in research time into your processes. You will soon find out what sort of campaigns have been an absolute flop in the past, and having knowledge of this can really help learn what not to do in the future.