The Importance of Good Design for Audience Development

Visual appeal is critical to the success of your online or print publication.

The web is full of beautiful pages, and people demand good design before giving a site their attention.
The web is full of beautiful pages, and people demand good design before giving a site their attention.

How favorable your readers’ snap judgments are toward your product affects audience development greatly. In as little as 50 milliseconds, visitors form an opinion about your website that has a big influence on whether they stick around or leave. Publishers of print magazines and newspapers know how important the cover or the region ”above the fold” can be to sales figures. That means that your graphic designers have to grab attention and give readers a good first impression in a very short amount of time. This first impression depends on factors such as:

  • Colors
  • Spacing
  • Symmetry
  • Text density
  • Fonts

If you want audience development to continue to improve, you need the services of talented graphic designers.

What Graphic Designers Do

Graphic designers are in the business of conveying information visually. They may work with a range of materials including digital images, film, illustration, colors, and fonts. The graphic designer identifies the needs of his or her client, which in the case of publications focuses on capturing the attention of the publication’s readers. A great graphic designer understands the target audience and the social and cultural factors that influence the members of that audience. He or she often starts with preliminary sketches and mockups. The publisher, editor, or design chief must ensure that the graphics convey the right message and appeal to the target audience.

Why Graphic Design Is Important

Studies about how design affects trust online have shown that audiences form opinions about design that can influence whether or not they bother consuming the actual content. On the web, visual appeal and website navigation are the biggest influences on people’s first impressions of websites. Furthermore, poor design is associated with both mistrust and rejection of websites. It may not be fair, but when participants don’t like a site’s design, they may not explore further before clicking to another site. That means they may miss high quality content and fail to engage in your site’s revenue development features like job boards and ecommerce pages.

Examples of Great Online Graphic Design

Never underestimate the impact of great website design.
Never underestimate the impact of great website design.

The website for a Florida community called Lake Nona is one example of good graphic design. The interface is clean, crisp, and uncluttered, yet packs a lot of information onto the home page. Bright colors and clean lines indicate that a lot of thought and planning went into the website, which for most content consumers, would bode well for the ”product” at the heart of the website, which in this case is the Lake Nona community.

The website for French app designers Pulpfingers is another example of solid graphic design. Bold colors and clean lines indicate a no-nonsense, professional site, while slightly off-beat fonts and images give a fresh, young, casual feel to the site. Navigation is also super simple, so visitors aren’t afraid of poking around on the site to see what’s there.

Examples of Great Print Design

Great print design directly influences audience engagement with print products. Just ask any magazine cover editor. But it’s critical for all print products. As an example, Australia’s oldest charity, the Benevolent Society, underwent a redesign for all its hard copy collateral recently. A selection of overlapping, bright colors on white backgrounds was chosen in order to create a positive and accessible look that’s clean and modern.

Another example of powerful print design is Fast Company magazine (which also has a strong web and mobile presence), which showcases cutting edge business, design, and technology. The bold typography on the cover makes it instantly recognizable and lets the reader know he or she isn’t in for a leisurely, dry read, but rather a fast paced, up-to-the-minute experience that gets right to the important details.

When you’re competing in a nearly endless marketplace of information, having your publication appear neat and inoffensive isn’t nearly enough for reaching your audience development goals. With the help of skilled graphic designers, you can ensure that your web properties and print publications work toward building a cohesive brand where your audience feels just as ”at home” with a magazine in hand, looking at an iPad, or browsing the web on a laptop. Great design keeps existing visitors around, and draws in new ones, creating a positive effect on your revenue development efforts like custom job boards, subscriptions, and premium content.

Photo Credits: graur razvan ionut/, stockimages/

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