By Jason Moore
When approaching a new design project, you need to ask yourself three important questions. After your target audience receives your materials -- whether a postcard, a brochure, a flyer or even your business card -- what do you what them to know; how do you want them to feel; and what do you want them to do?
What do you want them to know?
This one is pretty basic. The main point of any publication is to convey information and before releasing the final product you need to determine what you want those receiving it to learn. Is it information about an upcoming event? A description of the services you provide? Basic contact information? Some combination of these?
How the information is presented is almost as important as the information itself. You want your audience to learn something through your materials, but make sure that your design lends itself to sharing that information in a meaningful way.
How do you want them to feel?
As I said above, presentation is almost as important as the information. By selecting what images to include, the type of language to use when describing your services, even the font(s) you choose will shape how your audience responds emotionally to your materials.
What do you want them to do?
After determining what you want your target audience to know and how you want them to feel comes a time for action. Do you want your audience to subscribe to your service? Do you want them to donate to your cause? Do you want them to show up at your next event? Whatever it may be, it is important to make sure that you make it clear what the next step is.
The key to tying all of this together is to know your target audience and know what buttons to push so they will respond in a way that helps you reach your goals. Next time you are pulling together a design project, remember to ask yourself if you are providing the right information in the right way so that those receiving it will act.
Jason Moore is an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop CS3 and manages the Photoshop Blog, "Jason D. Moore Photography."