I began my internship at Net-Results about a month ago, and I’ve been looking forward to my first Internlandia post. As a current design student at MSU Denver, I am learning that the transition from a college campus to a business office may be more challenging for my creative side than I had anticipated. What am I to do with all this extra creative energy? Well, I might as well use some creativity to spill my words of wisdom to you all. But about what you may ask? Great question! Design, to be exact. Its context is very much altered from one place to another: how it’s used, for whom it is created, why is it being made, document constraints, design elements and so forth. Some projects create leeway for more personal creativity than others. Do you see my dilemma?
When I’m on campus working on a project, there are limitations to the designs I create, but the majority of the constraints, execution and approach to the finished product come from me. I get to choose what it is that I want my design to look like. I am the one who is in control. To any designer or person with a creative outlet, the freedom to do whatever you want is half the fun.  Through lectures and presentations we are given the knowledge and preparation to go out into the design world and unleash our creativity upon the masses…well, they didn’t quite prepare me for the strict reality of designing in the business world.
So, you want to be a Graphic Designer, huh? The business world doesn’t just come with a nifty name placard at the front of your desk and a sweet title to go with it; it comes with the responsibility to get your job done well, on time, and within budget. You no longer have the luxury to execute a project on you own accord. It now has to be done under: time, content, design, and software constraints. Not to mention, your own ability to complete the task that is asked of you.

Do you have what it takes?

It’s been five weeks here on the business side of design, and I have to say I’m learning more on hand about the intricate world of marketing than I ever thought I would. Designing in business, I’m finding out, is very much different than simply designing individually. I have multiple people to answer to, a jumble of ideas to implement, numerous tasks to accomplish, all the while trying to fulfill my creative needs in the process. Can you say, multitask?
As a Designer, I walk around with a design filter on. Almost everything I see is broken down and critiqued within seconds, and most of the time it’s done unconsciously. But I’m not the only one, people do this on a day-to-day basis and we all experience it in the course of a first impression.
In Marketing, your online presence is generally a person’s first impression. It is the first thing a prospect sees when visiting a website, and it is the designer’s job to make sure that prospect is engaged with what they are viewing. You only get one chance to make an impression, so it’s very important to make it count. As an extension to that, in Marketing Automation, Emails and Landing Pages are the hook that captures the audience’s interest. You have to make it visually appealing to increase engagement. And, with email as one delivery mechanism for your marketing efforts, you may be challenged even further to design within a platform and constraints that haven’t moved as far forward as HTML has. In terms of design, there are many components that make up a successful Landing Page…but with great marketing power, comes great design responsibility.Tweet This!

So what is it exactly that designers need to think about when creating a Landing Page?

Great question! Basically it comes down to four key elements.
1. Encapsulation
This is a classic technique used to hijack your visitors’ eyes and create a tunnel vision effect. You can think of it like creating a window on your landing page where your call-to-action (CTA) is the view. Here, a circular arch creates a frame for the feature in the distance, preventing your eye from wandering elsewhere in the photo.
2. Contrast & Color
The more you can make your call-to-action stand out from its surroundings, the easier it will be to see. If you have a lot of black/grey text on a white background, then a black or white CTA won’t provide the desired contrast, and you’d be better off with a colorful element. But if you have a very clean design without much detail or copy, a big black or white button can be dramatic. Color can be used to create an emotional response from your visitors. Orange, for example, is known to generate positive feelings and can be a great choice for the color of your CTA.
3. Directional Cues
Directional cues are visual indicators that point to the focal area of your landing pages. They help to guide your visitors toward what you desire them to do, making the purpose of your page as soon as they arrive. Types of directional cues include arrows, pathways, and the directional impact of line of sight.
4. White Space
White space (or blank space), is an area of emptiness surrounding an area of importance. The reason we say blank space is because the color of the space isn’t important. The purpose is to use simple spatial positioning to allow your call-to-action to stand out from its surroundings and give your eye only one thing to focus on. Give your page elements breathing room to produce a calming effect and allow your CTA to stand out from the rest of your design.
Most of the examples above are nothing new to a Designer; we are constantly manipulating these elements. It’s when you change the context of the design along with the technical delivery mechanism that the challenges occur. Designing in the business world is much more complex than the pleasurable luxury of designing for myself! I’m learning that Landing Pages are just the beginning of this journey.

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