We asked Chris Perry, the Art Director for numerous major companies, as well as Hillsong in Australia, and many Cooke Media Group clients, for some tips on good design. The design strategy is a real key to successful branding, and Chris has been involved in the branding approach for international organizations. Here’s his suggestions:
5 Most Important Principles of Good Design
Firstly: Clear communication.
This is about marketing and marketing research. Secular companies spend big big bucks on it so it should at least alert us to give it due consideration. Know exactly what you want to communicate, why and to whom.
Secondly. Application of standard artistic visual principles.
They are: colour, weight, balance, rhythm, composition, relationship of elements, direction and consideration of positive and negative space.
Thirdly. Use good quality images – both photographs and footage.
Develop an unashamedly extensive image library of your people, events, your preachers, large gatherings, children having fun, mens groups, womens groups, youth groups, your building if its a good one etc etc. How easy is a good design when its central focus is a great photo. Hillsong Church in Australia regularly commissions one of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazines top live event photographers for many of her events. Believe me, having done many of their album covers, it makes a designers job easy. Don’t just use someone handy with a prosumer camera. Get someone good and work with them.
Beware of cheaper library images. They’re starting to become like ‘ClipArt’.
Note: This principle applies to illustration as well as photography.
Fourthly. Establish a hierarchy of information.
Identify and accordingly layout your title, sub title, body copy and branding mandatories. With your chosen text, its best to stick with tried and proven fonts (eg Helvetica & Times) than to use ‘cool’ fonts. Then apply point two.
This is where true branding begins. Where one side of the organisation on-sells/promotes the other side purely by its consistency of image through all communications offerings. Here, all items become brand assets. It may be worth investing in developing a ‘style bible’ as a guide for all users.
Footnote: Don’t be afraid to copy secular trends and styles. This is better than thinking you have to be completely original. But do it well. Observe what the big name designers do. It helps to know why you’re copying what.
Art Director / Cooke Media Group