Forma Art Director Amanda Jackson explains how good design can lead to more audience engagement and sales.
What separates good design from bad design? How can a life science company leverage the power of design to increase conversions and brand authority? We sat down with Forma Art Director Amanda Jackson to get some insights on the importance of design in the life sciences, and how you can elevate your business with modern branding practices.
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Why is good design important for life science companies?
In my opinion, there are a few major components to good design that benefit life science companies in different ways. The first one being consistency. If a design is consistent across all platforms (website, social media, sales materials, etc.), it will send positive trust signals to potential buyers. The attention to detail in your own branding shows a potential buyer that you can offer the same care and consideration to your relationship with them.
Consistency also overlaps with another important element of good design: differentiation. A company can differentiate themselves from their competition in a few ways. Whether it be through brand consistency, imagery, color, or any visual element. If your brand’s design stands out from the oversaturated market that is the life sciences, you have a way higher chance of reaching your potential buyers first and making a more memorable impression. You want a potential client to see your collateral and be able to recognize it as your own without even seeing a logo or reading it. By differentiating yourself from what everyone else is doing, you’ll always stand head and shoulders above and stay top of mind when a potential client begins their buyer journey.
What’s a common misconception about design?
Funnily enough, I would say the biggest misconception about design is that it’s not important (see above). I think this is especially prevalent in the life science industry. Many companies think that if their company has been successful without major consideration for their design, why would they need to start? While having a great product or offering is extremely vital to the success of a company, there’s only so far it can take you. If a potential buyer goes to your website and can’t figure out how to contact you or find info on what you’re offering, what then? Buyers often do their own research before ever reaching out to talk to someone. If their first impression of your company is a broken website or a hard-to-read brochure, do you think they’re going to spend another second of their time trying to decipher your message? Probably not. They’re going to keep on scrolling through LinkedIn or click the next result in the Google search list. Good design is the front line of snagging a buyer’s interest and pulling them in to look further. It can enhance the great product or offering you already have.
Can you explain “look and feel”, and how it can influence a brand?
Explaining ‘look and feel’ is simple really. When someone ‘looks’ at your brand, how does it make them ‘feel’? What emotions or thoughts does it provoke? The best way to describe ‘look and feel’ is to zoom in on what it entails. This could be things like colors, imagery, typography, or any other design element. Starting with something as simple as color, what do you think of when I mention the color red? Does passion or love come to mind? Anger or power? Something as seemingly innocuous as color can have an influence on the way your company is perceived by the public. The same thing can be said for fonts. If you’re using something like Comic Sans for the body copy on your website, do you think people are going to take you seriously? These minor things that make up a brand can subliminally and not so subliminally influence your public perception. Being conscious of how a particular ‘look’ or design element might make the viewer ‘feel’ should always be top of mind when creating a brand.
The most common design mistake in the life science industry is lack of differentiation
In your opinion, what is the most common design mistake committed by life science companies?
I’d say the most common mistake is lack of differentiation. Often I’ll see life science companies doing the same thing as their competitors. Whether that be using the same colors (*cough cough* blue) or using the same generic, unrealistic stock photography (I’m looking at you, ‘scientist’ with a beaker full of food coloring water and no PPE). Ultimately, not having a way to visually distinguish yourself from the competition is the biggest mistake a life science marketing company can make. You become a commodity and blend in with the rest of your potential buyer’s pool of options.
When reviewing a website’s design, what are some of the things you look for?
There are quite a few things I look for when reviewing a website’s design. The first being how quickly the site loads. Did the person who designed it take into consideration the file sizes of all the design elements, so the user doesn’t wait for 30 seconds before the site actually loads? Next, I start to explore the rest of the site. I pay special attention to any broken links, how the site nav is structured, and ease of navigation. I look for how much copy is on each page, if it’s easily digestible, or if they’re repeating the same thing in various places. As I’m hopping from page to page, I look for consistency. Is there a clear font hierarchy or color palette being used? Does the imagery match across the site, are they using random generic photos pulled from a stock site or quality custom photography and graphics? One of the last things I check for is the consistency of posting content (blog, case studies, whitepapers, events, etc.) and whether the content matches the rest of the brand.
Design plays a huge role in how your life science brand is perceived. Does your brand feel modern and cutting edge, or dusty and old-fashioned? If you overlook the power of good design, you risk losing customers to your competitors. If you’d like to learn more about how Forma can support your design efforts, contact us today!