Before You Design, Know the Goal

June 6, 2013

Know the GoalMany years ago I had a student attend my CorelDRAW Unleashed Training. He keeps in touch with me on a somewhat regular basis, often to help him with a project. The latest project started last fall as he asked me to help him design a book cover. Along the way, the design of the cover has changed many times requiring some changes to the cover.

Now the book is coming closer to release and he has contacted me to help him create a promotional video. We talked about the various elements that should be included, but there was one big thing missing.

Define the Goal!

I asked him the goal of the video. He wanted it to go viral. OK, everyone wants a viral video but that isn’t the goal. Was the goal to sell more books, I asked? I didn’t get a very strong answer so I kept asking the question in a variety of different ways.

My involvement to date has simply been the design of the cover and so I know what I’ve been paid for that element. Someone has obviously taken time to write the book and there are no doubt other elements that have cost time and money. The reason I kept asking is because this isn’t a philanthropy project. I want to know how my client is going to recoup their costs and make a bit of a profit. If they don’t profit, I may not get hired for future projects.

Design for the Goal!

Once the goal of a project has been very clearly defined, now you can create a design that will do the best job of meeting that goal. In the case of the video, there had been no thought prior to my questioning of including a photo of the book in the video. After defining the goal to be selling books, we decided it made a lot of sense to show the book at the end of the video. This sounds really basic and yet many times there is a disconnect between designs and the goal. Define the goal clearly in advance and you’ll have a better chance at your design meeting the goal!

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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