Digital design permeates many aspects of our everyday lives, even if we may not actually be aware of it. Most people might think digital design just refers to websites, but it is in fact a whole lot more than just that. Nearly every product around us has been involved in some element of digital design development at some point, whether this may have been design plans at the initial idea conception or the look and feel of the final product and the way it is marketed.
Where You Might Find Digital Design
Digital design is prevalent in many areas of everyday life. It has been used in developing animations for computer games or movies, the creation of a logo or website, design plans for a new building, vehicle or product, as well as the editing and manipulation of videos and photographs. Anything that involves the use of web design, digital imaging or 3D modelling relies on digital design.
Why Has Digital Design Become So Important?
Technology has advanced so rapidly over time that digital design is a much more streamlined process these days than in the past. As more people take improvements in technology and innovations for granted, digital design has become an increasingly important area. Many designers now require multi-faceted skills to be able to make use of a range of software solutions that can develop, enhance and create the most innovative digital design solutions. The global dominance of the internet and the rise of smartphones and tablets has also placed increased pressure on optimising digital design services to ensure companies are presenting and communicating about themselves in the most effective way.
Effective Digital Design Skills
A designer or agency promoting their services in digital design will need to ensure they have the right skills and expertise in their field. The fast growth in digital design of recent times means that many design companies have established themselves to provide digital design solutions, and face stiff competition in the meantime. As well as being up to date with the latest software and technological know-how, digital designers need to keep up with trends and ideas that contribute to winning creative solutions. Digital designers will often need a combination of skills and expertise, from design principles to software knowledge and back-end coding. Essentially, when digital design solutions are required, the client expects a complete service.
Effective digital design in today’s day and age is much more than just producing a pretty website. It has to be more sophisticated than that. Effective service providers that offer digital design will not just know how to put a good website together, they will also take a holistic, integrated approach to the client’s organisation. They will get to grips with what the client is all about, as well as their goals, mission and branding messages, and manipulate these influences to best effect in all aspects of the digital design process. Effective digital design will enable the user to easily navigate across a website or find the information that they need as quickly and simply as possible, whilst giving out the appropriate messages.
Other than a website, digital design output for most companies includes:
- Sales presentations
- Explainer and corporate videos
- Web Apps
- Social Media content
A Consistent Approach
The evolution of the digital age and the rise of social media and smart technologies have meant that digital design is rarely a standalone element. When a company gets a website designed for them, they are also likely to have a social media presence on sites such as Twitter or Facebook, as well as require an app for tablet use. The digital designer needs to co-ordinate all of the design processes to offer a consistent approach throughout, based on content, quality, navigation and user-experience. This applies for both online and offline media. Art direction needs to be completely aligned with both the business and its customers across all visual marketing materials. If a consistent approach is not employed, then it sends out confusing messages to users and target audiences. As well as having design skills, today’s digital designer therefore needs to understand the importance of adopting this consistent approach across all platforms.
Effective service providers offering digital design need to be able to provide more than just a text-based informational style of website to clients. These days, users expect so much more and find text alone uninspiring. Digital design, therefore, encompasses the use of not just images and animations, but also video and interactive content. Users want to be able to get involved with digital design themselves, rather than be passive bystanders. They want to be able to offer their opinions or feedback, as well as take an active involvement in viewing media-rich content. The race is forever on, therefore, for leading digital designers to offer content that offers the best and most exciting and engaging user-experience whilst also fulfilling the client’s needs.
Branding has never been so important, as more and more businesses recognise that this is their key tool to get across what they are all about and get customers on their side. Digital designers in today’s brand-conscious market need to fully embrace brand development, whether it’s developing it from scratch, redesigning a brand, using it to best effect or ensuring that it is used consistently across all platforms.
In the past, digital design was much less sophisticated than today. Technological advances have now meant that designs can easily be put together by one person and manipulated easily if need be. The simplicity and speed at which designs can now be developed means that most effective design companies can build rapid design prototypes to give their clients a snapshot of potential functionality and performance before building the real thing. This offers a design company a distinct advantage. With room for making adjustments during the prototype stage, it suggests that the final product is more likely to be on target and right on brief.
Digital design is becoming increasingly more prevalent as the number and types of devices explodes. Add 5G and the huge increase in connection speeds to this mix and we truly are on the verge of the next digital era.
Let’s wrap up with an unsettling question: will business-critical digital design always be done by humans that understand the nuances of business, audiences and sales psychology, or will AI step in and do the job for us?