Designing is all about giving life to content. It is a channel of communication; the creation of an experience that combines various visual & other elements in an aesthetic way to convey your messages to the audience. So, being a designer apparently means choosing and blending multiple elements to craft something so impressive that influences the perception of the audience.
But, what if a designer picks elements like colour, fonts, images and other graphics to create a design of his/her own personal preference or only by following the latest design trends in the market? This is where things can go wrong. Here, one of the most important things to be considered is ignored, the target audience!
The target audience can be an individual or a group for whom you tailor your designs. You’ve got to figure out who your target audiences are and put your efforts into designing for them.
Why design for a particular audience?
The impact of personalised marketing is so big that it brings the best results across multiple mediums and channels of marketing. Target audiences are the emperors you serve. You must understand them inside-out, or else the end results might not generate the positive outcome that you expect.
Whether it’s a web design, graphic design, design for social media or printed media, the result of your hard work and the incredible designs that you have made can be of no use if it doesn’t appeal to the audience who you have targeted. When you know your target audience, you can tailor the designs to their needs and make them understand why they should purchase your product/service.
Designing for the right audience is a good business practice that enhances your overall designing & strategy building skills. The designer can save time & resources, narrow down options in every design aspect such as colour, font style, images, shape, layout etc. & design exclusively for whoever he/she intends the designs to serve. Targeted design ads & landing pages bring in more clicks and customers. They are tools that increase the chances of attracting the right leads to your sales.
Here are a few ways to define your target audience and build designs that connect with them:
Find your target audience & examine their needs
Identifying your target audience is the first step to connecting with them through your designs. Right from selecting the colour scheme to the layout and structure, the choice of your target audience determines the design elements you are going to use. Here are a few insights into knowing your target audience:
Research the market: It is essential to do detailed research on the audience for whom you are promoting the designs. The result of your research determines what currently works for you. You’ll have to analyse and discover their demographics, their choices, what makes them choose you, what products/services they use etc.
Understanding the basic demographics: To get a clear understanding, dig deep into the demographics of the targets. Define the targets with broad demographics such as age, location, gender, marital status, income, education, profession etc., based on the markets your design will serve.
Analyse psychographics: Demographics can be useful only to a certain extent, you’ll still have to understand the psychographics of the audience. Psychographics is nothing other than psychological and cognitive attributes such as their lifestyle, values and choices. Make a study on their activities & interests, the platform of choice to view designs, hobbies, values, priorities, how they think and feel etc. You can extract information by conducting surveys and polls for your target audiences or you can even collect information from your existing customers who share similar attributes.
Use Design thinking
Design thinking is an approach where engineers, innovators, designers or other contributors to an organisation spend time thinking from the user’s perspective and are willing to make changes until a problem is solved. For a website owner, this can mean designing a website that is easy to read, understand and navigate. Right from understanding the problem to finding the solution, it is a continuous process, which is full of experimentation, research and collaboration of people & their ideas to create user-centric designs. The designs you make should be delightful enough to surprise the audience. If your designs are for a website, doing so can make them repeat visitors. If you understand their emotions and work according to that, you are more likely to turn visitors into customers. For design thinking to work well, you’ll have to put aside personal interests and then define personas for the target audience, which are discussed below in detail.
Create designs with the help of buyer personas
A buyer persona provides a detailed description of the buyer/target audience. It is a research-based profile that describes their goals, desires, challenges etc. Creating personas for each type of user is important to make a connection with the targets. Based on their profiles, think about what the buyers will be looking for when they land on your designs. Make an analysis of where they’ll find you, how they are going to find you and what action you want them to take. Whether it’s lead generation, promoting your brand or making a sale, you should have a clear picture of your marketing goals, why you are creating the designs and what are the requirements of the buyers.
Put aside personal interests
While designing for a website or for other areas, it is essential to put aside personal preferences in favour of what works the best for the customers. It cannot be said that personal preferences are always wrong, or will never work, but acting according to your personal preferences alone can be a wrong choice. You’ll be required to strike a balance between personal choices and what the audience will appreciate. What appeals to use may be less enthusiastic to the audience. So, it’s the responsibility of the designer to put themselves in the shoes of the client and stay focused on the user’s perspective to produce designs that will be a perfect fit for the target audience.
Leverage design elements for the target audience
The graphic elements you use in the design should align with the demographics and psychographics of the audience. If you want to create impeccable designs that perfectly aim at a specific audience, here are a few tips and suggestions that can be used as guidelines:
Colour: Colour is an important element of every design. There is a theory of colour psychology, which almost all designers use to evoke reactions and emotions from the audience. The theory is based on emotions, which can be experimented with in your designs, however, that is not the only process. For trendier folks, crazy colours can be attractive, but for an elderly audience, something simple like the pastel should work. Colours are interpreted differently by every industry, gender, age group etc. You should reach a good conclusion from your research. The ultimate goal is to get the people to move.
Typography & Font: Typography and font are other important elements that express brand identity. Use typographical elements according to the demographics. For example, kids usually love funky and cartoony fonts, while designs for a corporate website usually showcase a kind of serif font. Likewise, font size is another important factor that requires consideration while making designs.
Content & style of writing: The interest of audiences can be influenced by content and style of writing. The tone and language to be used in the design can vary according to the audience. For example, a friendly tone is perfect for health & lifestyle based designs, while something conservative would work for the designs intended for an insurance company. In the same way, choose images, graphics, animations and other media that are relevant or that will arouse curiosity among the viewers.
Design style & Layout: There is a wide range of design styles like vintage, artistic, contemporary, minimalist, traditional etc. to choose from. You can explore them and conduct a little bit of experimentation to understand what will be a perfect choice.
Keeping up with the latest trends is a great way to stay focused on your target audience.
Optimise design for all screens: If your designs are for online media, then you will have to consider the devices used by the audience. The design elements need to be optimised for different screens such as smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.
Order your information hierarchically
Visual hierarchy is an important aspect of all designs. It just gives an order of importance, how the visual elements are positioned and displayed. Arranging your information in order by surfacing what’s more important and filtering out less important elements will make an effective piece of design. As a designer, you’ll have to figure out what the audience looks for the most when they see a design, so that you can make the important features brighter, bigger, bolder and catchy while leaving the second important things smaller or below the eye level. These are just basics to ensure that whoever sees the design gets the main points or the information that they expect.
Test your designs
You need to ensure that your designs are fit for the target audience. Test your designs to see if your message is really and easily understandable. For that, you can use different approaches like beta testing, a/b testing (comparing two versions of something to find out which is better) or testing your designs with colleagues and peers. After testing is completed, analyse the results and make adjustments as per test results.
Examine your competitors
It’s common for businesses to take a look at their competitors to see what strategies they have adopted and how they are performing. By evaluating the competitions, you’ll be gaining a deep understanding of the market trends, what they have in common, what’s going to work and what’s not going to work. It’s not like you are going to copy them, instead, you seek out inspiring designs, content, optimization, layout and even the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to gain a strategic advantage in this field. By doing so, you are going to be the game-changer who can tell a story through your designs in a way that helps the audience see what you can provide better than your competitors.
Creating successful designs begins with identifying your target audiences and their needs. The more you can identify them, the deeper you can get an idea of what they want and then build designs catering to their requirements. Designing for your target audience will help you set clear goals and devise plans accordingly. Both patience and practice are important here, but once you’ve hit the jackpot, you’ll be confident to create winning strategies and enthralling designs that will leave your audience amazed.