I’m a designer so I’m going to be slightly biased on this. But if your employee comms strategy is bursting with great content but your employees seem completely disengaged, I’d suggest it’s not the content that’s the problem; it’s how it’s presented.
Think about it this way. How off-putting is it when a restaurant or takeaway menu has a header and a typeface that’s totally inappropriate? Perhaps it’s some gaudy, overly colourful design with every ingredient in every dish squished together in an unreadable stack (the less said about including pictures of the food, the better). It doesn’t exactly make you hungry, does it? It feels cheap.
But, put that same menu on a simple, clean paper, space it well and give it a monochrome touch with an interesting font and a classy header, and you can literally taste the difference. It’s the same reason that cooking programmes like Masterchef bang on about presentation and making a ‘feast for the eyes as much as the palate’.
But enough about cooking; that’s just making me hungry. I want to persuade you that spending some time, and yes budget, on say a well-designed enewsletter for your staff, instead of sending one full of closely spaced blocks of type, is worth it.
Last week, my colleague in the Design Studio, Jenney, explained how using infographics can make your B2B content really stand out. Why? Because they’re striking, unexpected and memorable. It’s the sort of thing that is instantly shareable, meaning that the very people your content appeals to are more likely to share your beautiful infographic with their networks, opening up all sort of paths back to your door for clients you might not have even considered.
Typography can have a similar effect.
Seriously? Just change the font?
Well, yeah, pretty much. But it’s no good just changing things willy nilly – there needs to be a reasoned strategy behind it. Typography is deeply connected to the theme, tone and message that you want to express, and your company image. It has to work with your layout, grid and colour choice in order to create – depending on the purpose – something tremendous, shocking, astonishing or simply ordinary.
Typography is a really emotive thing; so much so that it can be the makings of giants.
We have a lot to thank Steve Jobs for in this respect. I’m sure you’re aware that in the wake of his passing, there were quite a few articles written about his influence on technological advancement and innovation in design. He famously said that if he had not dropped in on a calligraphy course at college, he would never have given the Mac its typefaces, which as a 2011 article here by Digital Trends explains, represented a seismic shift in computing. That choice of typography, and even spacing, was not available previously. He brought typography to the masses and made people aware of the power of design.
To quote Jobs’ calligraphy instructor Robert Palladino: “He put a lot more class into the business.”
When I start a project, first of all I need to know if I’m working on something for print or web, then I can start thinking about the style I want to adopt depending on the message, or the brief, and the client’s brand (is it classy and formal? Or fresh and young?).
Corporate communication can be based on strict rules but it’s possible to be smart and find the right compromise between what the guidelines say and a fresh approach. Whatever I’m working on, choosing or designing a font is never easy, and I think sometimes people underestimate this part of the process. But it’s a fundamental reason why a reader is going to click through to read more, or engage with your comms. It’ll put a bit more class into your business…