The Anatomy of Inspiration:



Design: The LIMBS

Design represents the LIMBS of inspiration, because it’s what carries your message into the world. It’s what members touch and interact with. In other words, it’s what gives your brand, your marketing, and your content legs and arms.

Associations consistently tell us: “Yes, we know this. We do design our marketing materials.” To which we almost always reply: “No, you don’t.” Design isn’t just creating a vector graphic in Adobe Illustrator, changing a few fonts, and slapping on the brand colors.

Good design—design that truly inspires—must be purpose-driven.

Design That Elevates

By purpose-driven, we mean that it’s heart, strategy, and story—woven together into a captivating visual package. It’s smart, savvy, and it makes a strong emotional connection by bringing the story to life through visual elements that are consistent in every single piece of content, from print to digital to social media.

Our favorite recent example is the work we’ve been doing with the American Specialty Toy Retailers Association (ASTRA). Their design is very clearly the limbs of the campaign. It’s what elevates the event in the hearts and minds of their members.

The graphics are bold and bright. The images of children are whimsical and light and forge those emotional connections with members. Every single piece takes design into account, from the play of space to the vibrancy of the colors to the personality of the event. No postcard is slapped together. No email is sent as text only. Each piece has legs. We also put together a short motion graphics piece for them, which has gotten a huge response from members. Video is no longer optional: it’s a must do in today’s dynamic, busy, and visual-driven world!

Designing an Experience

The final thing we must point out is that while print is still very much alive and brings a tactile element that absolutely has a place in moving and inspiring members to register, your overall design strategy has to work for the digital world. It has to pop on the screen. Most associations realize that text emails do nothing to inspire. But they don’t push the design nearly far enough. And they hardly ever carry it into social media, which has become an increasingly visual format. (We’ll be writing more about that soon as well!) No matter the medium, design is what will make the experience of your brand come to life.

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