Does My Design Project Need a Strategy?

What does your project really need? A brand strategy, a content strategy, or just a clear-cut visual redesign?

Say you’ve got a product — it’s an app, a website, or something in-between. You want to improve the way it looks, the way it communicates its message, or the experience it provides — maybe you even need to improve all three.

You know you’ve got a design problem, but how do you decide whether the solution requires a new brand strategy, a new content strategy, or just a clear-cut visual redesign?

Answering this question is one of our top priorities when we talk to new clients at Viget. To that end, we’ve created this “strategy decision tree” to help us determine whether the core problem calls for a strategy solution, or a solution that focuses mainly on visual design.

It also touches on the level of effort clients will need to invest and the benefits they can expect from each approach.

To start, here’s how we’ve been defining some of the differences between strategy and visual design:

Brand Strategy

How you communicate, in a clear and compelling way, who you are, what you do, and why.

Content Strategy 

Your method for creating, organizing, and maintaining your content so that it’s intuitively accessible, and reinforces what you’re communicating about who you are, what you do, and why.

Visual Design 

How you leverage visual elements and layout to communicate a specific tactical message, emotion, or idea.

At Viget, our brand strategy, content strategy, and visual design work complements a much larger set of services including user research, product design, software development, and analytics that measure and validate your results. 

We often perform a bundle of these services as part of a larger engagement, but whether you’re considering a quick visual redesign, or a concept-to-launch product build, you should have a solid brand strategy in place to serve as your conceptual foundation.

If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to share or read the decision tree in PDF format, click here.

Huge thanks to decision tree design cultivator Minh Tran.

Ally uses her MS from the VCU Brandcenter to solve client problems through brand development, content strategy, and good old-fashioned storytelling. She works in our Falls Church, VA, HQ with clients such as Dick's Sporting Goods, The Nature Conservancy, and the White House Historical Association.

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