Throughout my career as a creative director, I’ve managed more than my handful of integrated campaigns that have included broadcast, advertising, event, and the traditional marketing efforts. Each has offered their own complexities, and, sometimes unforeseen, variables. At the beginning of every single effort, I’ve always asked myself three questions: (1) what are the key deliverables? (2) How do they solve the goal of the target audience? And, most importantly, (3) who on my team will be impacted? Without answers to these questions, the team’s churn rate increases, and deadlines… well, there’s no point to even bother considering them.
Yet, when attempting to answer the third question, specifically for the development of digital components, understanding the role each team member will fulfill is critical. Let’s face it, 15 years ago digital wasn’t a leading demand in any strategy, nor was there a demand for the visual design or interaction design roles. Granted these two competencies are still evolving today, but it has been my experience, when discussing them with marketers that they are interchangeably referenced, and the critical role they play is overlooked. So, what’s the difference between these two individuals?
What is visual design?
Visual design communicates and enhances your brand — I’ll get to that later. This is also why everyone seems to have an opinion about it. It communicates interactivity, prioritizes information, reduces the complexity of workflows, and creates relationships between the visual elements on a screen. Needless to say, it’s an essential aspect of user experience design for applications. What people commonly overlook is that for every type of user interface element the interaction designer specifies, the visual designer must design a widget or devise a corresponding style. And the visual designer must consistently apply these styles to every instance of each element throughout the application — focusing on one very important characteristic, desirability. The visual designer primary role is to concentrate on the enhancement of the brand by supporting positive first impressions and the ongoing emotional experiences of a user.