Research Research Research. immerse yourself in your client’s brand, mission, products, services, and consumers. Get inside their heads.
Adopt and/or develop your client’s voice. Assess their public-facing personality. Is it formal and professional? Is it personal, engaging, friendly, or even humorous? If they want to change their persona, work with them to craft a new voice.
Create a visual hierarchy. Communicate key point(s) visually using typographic design elements (typeface, color, scale, placement, among others).
Keep it simple. Simplicity isn’t easy. But you don’t want too many competing design or text elements on a web page, flyer, brochure, or advertisement. Invite the audience to focus on and engage with what is most important about the message.
Think like a poet. Carefully craft your language to be lean and expressive, without a single unnecessary word. To get in the mood, read haiku.
Zoom in/Zoom out. Zoom in on the details and elements of a piece, and periodically zoom out and evaluate whether the elements work together as a whole.
Tell the story. Pay attention to the narrative arc of the design and copy. Every graphic, photo, and text element should contribute to the story your client wants to tell.
Craft an informative title. The title or heading of a piece is the single most important opportunity to provide information about what the work is about. A single, well-chosen word or phrase in a title does the heavy lifting involved in inviting reader engagement.
Select meaningful photos and graphics. Stock photographs and graphics are ubiquitous, but resist the urge to use them without careful consideration of how they add to the message.
Never stop learning. Stay current on industry trends, market research, usability, and professional discussions about marketing and design. Professional societies, social media groups, professional/academic research and theory, all stimulate and reinforce your professional instincts.