Why branding agencies should befriend an information designer*


*when I say ‘an’ information designer, obviously I really mean me

Ok, I might not be the kind of friend you take to the cool parties, more the type that would walk two paces behind in the corridor and help you with your homework.

Before I start wandering too far down an analogy cul-de-sac, it’s time I got to the point, and give some good reasons (totally biased of course) why I think it’s a good idea for a branding agency to have an information designer in their gang.

All your hard work can be let down by poor information

Beneath the glamorous veneer of nearly every brand, there’s a pile of the sort of detail stuff I do (forms, letters and instructions among others) and for many reasons they never seem to get the attention they need. Yet they are as much a part of the brand as anything else, and when they fail, they let down all the work that’s been done before them: the application form that wants just too much information; the instructions that don’t match the promise of the product – just two examples where confusing information can break the deal at the last moment.

Once you’ve created a brand, your name is linked to it through good or bad. By managing the creation of the detail information yourself, your reputation stays in your own safe hands.

Clients are the usually the worst people to create information

Why do these things go wrong so often then?

On the whole, clients don’t expect creative agencies to deal with them, or if they do it’s at a purely visual level. When it comes to the detail, clients try to do it themselves because they know their business better than anyone else, right? Well, they do, and that’s usually the problem: they know too much and as such are often the worst people to communicate that knowledge to customers.

You’ll have something new to offer

In almost all instances I can remember, clients are grateful to pass on the job of writing and designing the kinds of information I work on, so they can get on with what their jobs are meant to involve.

Knowing they are handing it over to an agency they trust, with the right skills on board, will make them even more grateful.

You (probably) don’t have the skills in-house

Actually, this isn’t entirely true, but there probably isn’t the will in-house. Creative designers don’t want to be working out forms all day: they’ll have a go, but all the time they’ll be thinking about the creative work that awaits them as a reward. I take no offence that creative designers don’t find the work I do exciting. Truth be told, I feel the same about logos: look at mine, if ever a logo said apathy, that’s it.

All creative types know that the best way to get the best work done is to get the best people to do what they do best. And this is true in this situation too: let the creatives be creative, and let someone else deal with the detail.

It’s more work (and income) for you

Last of all, let’s talk cold hard cash. It goes without saying that being able to offer a specialist set of skills to clients could bring in more work, whether it’s extending what you do for existing clients, or making your business offer more engaging to clients in different sectors.

I’m not naïve: I understand the concept of ‘mark-up’. I do the work, and you make money for making sure I don’t put anything really stupid in the work that has your name on it.

It’s win/win.

If you would like to talk to me about helping you out with your homework give me a call on 07590 850 013 or drop me an email at robert@roberthempsall.co.uk

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