Adobe XD’s Role in Shaping Website and Product Experiences

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With Adobe XD, designers are able immerse themselves in the user experience of website and product user interfaces. This design software application empowers today’s designer to create rich interactions that engage and delight customers. The tool supports website wire-framing, vector designs, and the creation of interactive click-through sliders, among many other capabilities. The real question is: How important is interface design and how does it increase sales?

Any consumer’s key concern while browsing the web is efficiency. If a website is clear, direct, and easy to navigate; the consumer will quickly find what they are looking for in a timely manner. When a user interface maintains the integrity of the brand while also delivering efficiency, the consumer in more likely to return to the site. According to BIA Advisory Services, time 61% percent of SMBs report that more than half of their revenue comes from repeat customers, rather than new business. [BIA/Kelsey and Manta]. The key audience demographic on an efficient website is returning visitors—visitors that return after having a positive first- experience.

The challenge with designing experiences in the past has been the lack of ability to quickly and affordably test the usability of a web or interface design. Prior to Adobe XD, designers had to create static versions of their designs and then imagine what the live interaction would be, and hope their clients could imagine this too. Coding multiple concept designs by engineers was too costly to be part of an iterative design process.

User interface design is crucial in the first impression of a first-time visitor. The consumer wants to see the product, learn about the product, and imagine themselves using the product. These three aspects of visual and imaginative stimulus can finally be visualized, developed and achieved with use of a user experience design program such as Adobe XD.

The Secret Life of Product Catalogs

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With the increasing reliance on eCommerce sales, the printed product catalog is become more scarce. However, leading brands understand the often overlooked power of catalogs for brand building and continue to invest in them.

Printed catalogs do things that eCommerce Web sites cannot:

  • High quality printed photos of products and lifestyle photos with sharp detail, in larger size than your laptop or phone screen
  • They remain in constant vision, reminding you of the brand, even when you are not online
  • They are instant access to product info without having to be in front of your computer
  • Millennials are only 15% likely to ignore direct mail, compared to 50% who say they ignore digital ads, according to a report from the U.S. Postal Service
  • Hold viewer attention longer than web sites due to the ease of page flipping without waiting for page loading
  • Catalogs are often shared and viewed by others, compounding their brand building power and product sales.

Here are some examples of our favorite brands that understand the secret power of printed catalogs:

 

Reef

As Deal Design’s client, Reef develops seasonal catalogs for their buyers 3 times a year. The continuous cycle of products, new styles and on-trend branding remind buyers of their success in sales with Reef products and therefore, keeps their title as one of the top selling surf-inspired brands in the US.

Restoration Hardware

This high end furniture company sends out a massive catalog to their exclusive mailing list with high end photography, exquisite design elements, and aesthetically pleasing layouts. This catalog serves as a high quality coffee table reader – not just a spread of products.

Harry & David

When the holiday season comes around, loyal Harry & David customers receive their seasonal catalog with all of their best selling products. For many, this is a visual reminder to order their loved ones or coworkers a holiday gift. This visual reminder boosts sales and increased brand recognition.

Ulta

Ulta is a leading beauty supply company that is known for mass production of their consumer catalogs.. The thing that makes Ulta stand out among other catalog mailers is their reliance on discounted product prices advertised as ‘on sale’. This deal does not require a coupon. The strategy is uses discount offers to get bargain shoppers in their stores. And let me tell you a not-so-secret, ‘secret’ – bargain shoppers go shopping with other bargain-shopping friends.

Wileyx

This eyewear company provides the ultimate protection of eyewear and gloves for military, law enforcement and civilian market. Their catalogs are created, developed, and designed with their buyer in mind. Each lifestyle photo represents their customer and every description of a product has focused and detailed language. The buyers see the catalog and instantly want to be immersed in the landscape with the models. It is rare to find a catalog that encourages a lifestyle as well as the product itself.

Even though we are in a digital age, the printed page still holds a profound place of importance in marketing. Take your time developing a catalog style that fits your brand – not just a copy of what other brands produce. Be authentic to your brand and your customers will reward you with loyalty. Consider these questions when developing your catalog:

  1. What products most drives your sales? Put them up front!
  2. What products define your brand image? Leverage them to set you apart from competitors.
  3. What experience do you want your customer have while flipping through your catalogs pages? Think of your catalog like a movie or novel that tells a story.
  4. How can your products reflect a lifestyle? People want to live a lifestyle first, and then select products that support that lifestyle, second.
  5. Need some help developing a catalog worthy of your brand? We are here to help.

Contact Deal Design for a catalog design that builds your brand and drives sales!

6 Steps for Success Using Personas in Content Marketing

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‘Personas’ are semi-fictional profiles of commonly reoccurring customers. Utilizing this marketing tactic helps the marketing and sales people within your company get out of their own heads and into the mindset of a specific kind of customer. In doing this, you are able to consider how a customer sees you and your products. You are able to speak a language more familiar to that customer, and focus your time demonstrating how your products and services will help solve that customer persona’s specific problems.This process also helps define the various customer types that buy your products or services. Once defined, each persona needs to have a specific content marketing initiative tailored to them. Successful marketing strategies begin with the persona and build outward from there.

The following is a 6 step process you can use create, execute and measure the effectiveness of Persona-driven content marketing in your campaigns:

1. Define your persona(s)

  • Analyze your existing customers
  • Look for similarities in customer types
  • Segment out repeating characteristics to help shape your personas

Example:

Persona Name: Holly Humansky
(pick a fun or creative name. This persona is in Human Resources)
Title: Director or Manager, Human Resources
Company Industry: Technology
Years of Experience: 8-15
Gender Split: 80% Female. 20% Male.
Responsibilities:
 -Manages small team of HR professionals
-Manages an annual budget
-Tasked with ongoing professional development of existing employees
-Create a positive work environment that retains talent
-Ensure employees are properly trained for workplace compliance
Challenges Faced: 
-Small team has to quickly on-boarding and train personnel in a high turnover environment.
-Any changes in budget spending has to be approved by a CFO who is all analytical
-Needs to demonstrate her personal value to the company
-High quality talent is often recruited away by higher pay offers
-Employees frustrated with lack of internal professional growth opportunities
Sources of Industry News:
– Society of Human Resource Management
– The Achievers Employee Engagement Platform
– Human Resource Publications
– HR Symposium of the Bay

2. Develop marketing tactics that speak to your persona(s) in a relatable language

  • Familiarize yourself with topics of concern to this persona
  • How would your persona speak to collogues?
  • What terms are common in their field?
  • What common issues are brought up as problems to be overcome and pay attention to the words they use to describe them (especially acronyms or abbreviated terms. These show you speak their language).
  • What industry articles, news and information would this persona find helpful?
  • Create a plan for original creation of, or syndication of content that will help this persona
  • Find a way to connect your product or service to these content works so they connect you as being a way to help solve their problems

3. Place or distribute your marketing tactics in places that will engage your customer targets based on how that persona consumes content

  • Deliver these popular content works via E-mail and on your web site:
  • Articles
  • White Papers
  • Videos
  • Info Graphics
  • Webinars
  • Tip & Tricks
  • Best Practices

4. Measure the effectiveness of your content

  • Use Marketing Automation systems (Pardot, HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, etc.) to monitor consumption of these content works.
  • Assign lead score values to the content. Track consumption over time.
  • Look for trends: What content is most consumed by those that become customers?
  • Rank these successful content works as higher value.
  • Conduct surveys that ask your target personas what they have found valuable and ask for suggestions to improve

5. Do more of what works, less of what doesn’t

  • Continue doing more of what drives sales and positive feedback
  • Discontinue tactics that plateau or perform negatively

6. Refine persona(s) based on your learnings.

  • (Back to step one and repeat the cycle)

Sophisticated digital marketers will measure the content consumed by your personas (now actual target customers in digital marketing campaigns), watch which ones are consumed more by customers who buy, and focus on creating more content like that. You get smarter over time, and your percentage of won business should increase over time as well.

Now What?

Use the 6-steps above to create a persona for every type of customer you have. Often you will find there are differences within each broad Persona, especially the ‘Challenges Faced’ section, that differ by Industry type. For example, another HR Director in a retail industry may face problems associated with the high cost of risk management, law suits resulting from safety infractions, and workers compensation due to on-the-job-injuries. These are all key areas that may be addressed by your product offering in very different ways than the challenges faced by the technology company’s HR Director.

Create a Content Marketing program for each persona and create regular content focused on how your product solves the Persona’s challenges using language and terminology specific to that Persona. Make these content pieces the topics of your blog posts, email blasts, case studies, videos, etc.

Stay the Course! This is a marathon, not a sprint. You will see success over months and years of this practice, and you will get better at it over time. Do more of what works, less of what doesn’t, and stay open to be inspired by the learnings that come to you along the way.

 

Ready for some help elevating your Digital Marketing with this kind of persona-driven content marketing?

Ask Deal Design how we can help.

 

3 Innovative Packaging Designs

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We have all heard to never judge a book by its cover…well that’s not the case when it comes to the packaging of a product. Consumers immediately judge a product based on the appearance of its packaging and find products that are innovative to be more attractive. A box is just a box -– but if there is an additional use for the box, then the consumer feels like they are getting a bonus with purchase. Deal Design has come across three major innovations in packaging design that have set a new standard for the role of packaging in retail sales.

Rollrrito + Poke Bar

Rollrrito + Poke Bar, a sushi burrito and build your own poké quick-serve restaurant, has developed a packaging technique that presents their product in an effective and exciting way. Instead of wrapping their sushi burritos in a simple paper wrapper, the restaurant places the finished product in a hexagonal box with a tear-away strip in the middle (right where the rollrrito is cut). The tear-away strip creates a fun unwrapping experience and allows the consumer to eat the burrito in two separate halves and even save the other half for later. The container also allows easy transportation for consumers on-the-go. Packaging their product in this interesting shape is fun and aesthetically pleasing, which entices social media social media shares–increasing their advertising for free! This innovation in packaging solves a problem and does it with style.

Snacktops

The consumer is always looking for a way to make their lives easier. How can they get from point A to point B in the most efficient and timely manner while fitting in some lunch or a snack along the way? Snacktops, an innovator in quick-serve and on-the-go packaging,  has solved a way around a speed-bump with the consumption of snacks and made lives easier for the consumers who value efficiency. When you only have two hands, one is for holding and the other is for eating; but how can one possibly enjoy a soda and a snack at the same time? Snacktops has developed a plastic container for candy and snacks attaches to the top of drink cups, allowing the consumer to hold one item while enjoying two at the same time. This company, now in partnership with AM/PM convenience stores and Auntie Anne’s, has rocked the packaging world and has consumers spending more time enjoying their drink and snack while on-the-go.

Hungry Jack’s

The Australian burger chain, Hungry Jack’s, recently developed a new packaging campaign that brings innovation and comedy to their chips (otherwise known as French fries in the US). The special packaging has a reflective, anti-seagull material on the outside of the container. This material possesses a holographic finish and has bolded words like ‘shoo’, ‘scram’ and ‘vamoos’ printed on the packs. The highly reflective nature of the holographic foil delivers laser-like flashes of sun light that scares gulls so they avoid the otherwise tempting target. The humor and creativity behind the packaging entices their audience to visit Hungry Jack’s over competitors. Hungry Jack’s chips containers solve an existing problem for consumers in a new way, with a side of humor. This design is earning them respect from marketing leaders Worldwide.

 

What does your packaging say about your product? Is it innovative? Is it engaging? Does it enhance the product experience? If not, contact us and let’s talk about how we can delight and surprise your consumers with packaging innovation!

Get Onboard with Sustainable, Reusable, and Recyclable Packaging

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Social pressures are pushing companies to adopt packaging that is sustainable, reusable, and/or recyclable. While most would agree this is a great move, many brands that start down the eco-friendly packaging path end up reverting back to continuing what they have always been doing. We mainly see this happening for three reasons:

1. Lack of understanding about the many ways packaging can be sustainable
2. Sticker shock at the cost of the switch
3. The misconception that sustainable, reusable, and/or recyclable means bland and boring

There are many ways packaging can be eco-friendly. And, using eco-friendly materials does not have to be dull and bland. Progressive packaging designers  can employ innovative thinking to re-design your packaging while using eco-friendly materials is one of the most necessary and popular ways to begin selling and distributing your products.


Recyclable Pulp and Papers

One way to develop sustainable packaging is by using folding cartons made from recycled materials. Paper pulp is processed by chemicals that remove all ink and unwanted printing on paper – therefore, making it an extremely popular material for eco-friendly packaging. Using molded paper pulp instead of Styrofoam for cushioning products inside outer containers benefits our environment. Styrofoam is not a recyclable material; however, it is still often used as a cushion for products in many packages. Eliminating Styrofoam as the go-to material for cushioning will successfully be the step towards sustainability the environment is in desperate need of.

Reusable Bottles and Jars

Plastic products are also a huge opportunity for sustainability in packaging design. In the past 10 years, there has been a major trend of reducing plastics in things like water/liquid bottles and plastic rings in canned 6-packs. Many informative websites such as Ban the Bottle have proven that Americans use about 50 million water bottles a year; however, our recycling rate is only about 23% – meaning that about $1 billion worth of water bottles are dumped in landfills each year. Many brands have taken the glass bottle route instead of using plastics which enables their product to be reusable by consumers. Certain glass bottles and jars lend themselves more readily to being repurposed by the consumer, so why not give your customers packaging that creatively inspires them to reuse?

Biodegradable Additives

There is a challenge with being “sustainable” because the high cost in packaging often scares brands away; however, consumers will pay a little more to support the environment. Using social media, advisements and packaging content itself is a direct way to communicate your dedication to the environment and justify the higher cost of the product. According to an interview CNBC did with Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, there has been a tremendous change in the thought process of the consuming youth. Millennials are on the hunt for affordable prices with the most environmentally friendly option, while 20 years ago the focus was price alone. Nestlé is not alone with this sustainability shift – Deal Design’s client, Reef sandals, has made a significant change in the manufacturing of their products to make them eco-friendly. Reef is now including Eco-One® additives in products to speed biodegradability of sandals in landfills. There is a high chance that recyclable products and packaging will soon become a world-wide norm –so get onboard now before your product is left to drown in our oceans.

Contact Deal Design for a packaging design estimate.

Get ideas for sustainable packaging on our Pinterest Board:

 

 

 

 

 

Crowdsourcing Package Design Decisions Guarantees Big Sales

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Making final decisions on logo designs and packaging or label designs is a major roadblock that many start up companies face. Being invested and immersed in a product can create a biased opinion on what designs stand out and sell a product effectively. This is where crowdsourcing becomes a quick and easy decision-making tool for any company. Asking your target market what they like ensures you go to market with a winner.

Crowdsourcing is a relatively new term in marketing. It’s the action of using a web site or social media channel to obtain feedback on a decision that needs to be made. We previously called this activity “Focus Group Surveys”. “Focus” because you could only afford to pay a small group of people to show up to a room and participate in market research. But today, the Internet and Social Media enable us to reach out to hundreds or thousands of people in a target market and get immediate feedback to empower successful marketing and business decisions.

At Deal Design, we crowdsource design decisions to validate design direction and take the pressure off of us, or our client, having to make the right one. No one argues about their favorite design being the best one when an overwhelming percentage of your target market tells you what decision to make.

Examples of a recent label design that was crowdsourced for a final decision is included in this blog post. Our of the several designs created, our client narrowed it down to their top 3 and then crowdsourced to get the final answer.

In the photo above, there are explanations for the outcome of a crowdsourcing poll. This gives insight to the reasoning behind each vote and helps us understand they “why” of the votes.

Packaging Trends of 2018

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What’s In, What’s Out, and What’s New in Packaging Design?

We have officially hit the halfway point of 2018, so it’s time to start thinking about the new developments 2018 has brought us, in the packaging design world. Just like fashion, packaging has trends, and we remember the good, the bad, and the ugly. To stay #trending, here are 5 of the most commonly used packaging trends this year.

1. Sustainability:

While sustainability in packaging in a newer concept, it is considered more of an expectation and necessity to many consumers. Take your favorite water bottle brand for an example. I can guarantee you that there has been a change in the amount of plastic used in the bottles and caps over the past couple of years. Brands are finding innovative and environment friendly ways to use lightweight and biodegradable materials to package their products. The key trend within sustainability is: reusable. Consumers are attracted to packaging that has a potential second or third life after initial purchase. Whether it’s a glass bottle or a storage box, a consumer feels like they are receiving more than just a product alone when they receive sustainable packaging . This allows consumers to continue buying products without polluting the environment with excessive plastic and waste.

2. Bold Colors and Words:

 From a young age, we are asked what our favorite color is. The rainbow contains 7 colors and the average human eye can detect 10 million variations of those 7 colors. We are attracted to color. Color inspires memory, imagination, and creativity and has been scientifically proven to spark many emotions including hunger and happiness. Now think about coordinating color with words. If your brand’s name is bolded, enlarged, and filled with a strong color, the consumer’s eye is instantly drawn to the name and their emotions are engaged. Packaging can either make or break your product. So why not stand out on the shelf or website and package your product with equivalent of a bold spotlight shinning directly on the item 24/7?

3. Simplicity/ Sleek:

 Touch is one of the 6 senses that humans crave on a daily basis. We are attracted to how things feel in relation to how they look and vice versa. When the packaging of a product is silky, sleek, and smooth the consumer is immediately intrigued. Take the iPhone packaging for an example; most consumers know what the box must feel like because of what it looks like. The simplicity of the box is raw and unedited. No gimmicks, no frills, no distractions. What you see is what you pay for. When your product is packaged in an effortless yet effective manner, it becomes all about the product itself. While simplicity and sleek packaging styles have been trending for the past couple of years, it is still one of the most effective ways to brand your product.

4. Foil Detail:

 Picture this – you’re walking down the street listening to your favorite song and you see a shiny item on the ground ahead of you. Your adrenalin picks up as you move closer and all you can think about is what this item is. You squat down to pick it up; it’s a beautiful gold ring. You wonder how much it’s worth, who it belongs to, if it has sentimental value…but there is no one around to ask. So do you keep it or put it back on the ground for someone else to find? You slip it in your pocket and keep walking with a pep in your step and a smile on your face. This is a similar idea to foil detailing. Packaging that has little hints of gold, silver, copper, or holographic foil immediately pick up light and shine from across the room. When a consumer spots an item that has foil detailing, they view it as something expensive and beautiful. Shine is fun to look at and it catches the eye of everyone. Would you walk past a shiny object? This year, catch your consumers eye from across the room.

 

5. Vintage:

 There is something special and charming about vintage items. There is a story that is told and a feeling of comfort and safety in things that are rustic, weathered, and used. You may be asking – “wait, to stay current in packaging trends for 2018, shouldn’t I be innovative and progressive–meaning new?” While packaging trends are always changing and evolving, some products lend themselves to a nostalgic style. When tradition and “the old way of doing things” is valuable, then go with vintage. Vintage packaging celebrates timelessness and allows products to bring part of the past into the present.

 Contact US to get these packaging trends working for your products.

DealDesign.com

 

Woman holding smartphone with Google search page visible

9 Keys to Getting Your Brand’s Website Top-Ranked on Google

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Your website may be the most important tool you have to build your brand. In this article, Deal Design outlines the most powerful ways you can leverage your Web Site to grow your business. Web strategies continue to evolve at an exhausting pace. But, you don’t have to have the latest and greatest everything to harness the power of the web. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of designing and engineering your website, so Google’s search algorithms view your site as a great match for people searching for the products or services you sell.

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Photo of press operators studying catalog design press forms as they come off a printing press

Catalog Design: The Art and Science of Press Checks

By | Catalog Design Blogs, Graphic Design Blogs, Uncategorized

Hundreds of hours designing, thousands of miles traveled sourcing, and piles of cash invested into manufacturing, and it all comes down to this: CMYK color on paper that acts as the sales too your sales force uses to drive the bottom line. Does your catalog design deliver what you expected? Here’s how it can, with a photo example below.

Over the 20 years we have been designing catalogs for brands, it never ceases to amaze me hear how often I hear about the critical phase of press checking being neglected by others. I think it’s the nature of digital media taking over and replacing print media as the primary communications vehicle for product marketing.  The art and science of color on press is dying away. There are fewer and fewer quality print companies, but those that are still thriving are doing so because they deliver the highest quality of color you can achieve on paper. Of course, the designer need to be there to help push that catalog across the finish line. Here’s why.

When a catalog design goes to print, and after you have reviewed color proofs of the photography, illustration and catalog designs, those electronic files go through a RIP (Raster Image Processing) and get laser etched to printing plates. Those plates then fall subject to a 100% physical process of transferring inks to those plates and then the plates pass the ink to paper at high speeds. The layering of CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black – yes K stands for Black – don’t ask it doesn’t make much sense) requires an artistic finesse on press to deliver the color you expect. Quality press operators will do an excellent job at matching the color proofs. But then, that may not be enough. You see, CMYK color cannot perfectly match many of the inks, paints and dyes used in manufacturing for most product. Printing can get close, but it takes an artist’s eye to make fine tuned adjustments on press to pull up or down color intensities to more accurately match your actual product. Sadly, many designers and their clients ignore the press check opportunity and just assume the work is done when a job goes to print.

Case in point. We just finished the Summer 2018 Reef sandals and apparel catalog designs and sent them to print. I always supervise press checks for large jobs like this where color is so critical. I think about the teams of designers, sample makers and manufacturers that labor over nailing the perfect colors, textures and stylings. I feel it is our duty to honor their creative work with reproducing it as best we can. So, I always bring real product samples with me to the press check. I try to push the limits of ink on paper to accurately reflect the work of these professionals. During the many page forms I pressed checked for Reef, three of the forms had large color photos of products that were just not close enough to the real thing for my taste. Even after all the proofing and approvals that went on. So, I instructed the press operators to adjust the ink flows for the CMYK color decks in certain zones of the press sheet to bring those photos back to more closely represent the real products. Sometimes, we have to make adjustments 3-4 times to get it right. That’s the art of it. You can see what I mean in the photo below.

Closeup photo of catalog photo of woven shirt with real shirt next to it, and note explaining the two don't match

I know what it’s like to have your creative work turn out looking disappointing on press when color values are not what they should be. Buyers are making decisions for tens of thousands of dollars in many cases based on these catalog photos. I want them to be the best they can be. And, sometimes all it takes is an extra 15 minutes of adjustments on press to deliver that catalog design color that boosts sales through the stratosphere.