Now, show ’em you know ’em

show-your-audience_featured-image2So you’ve read Dave’s great overview of writing content for your intended audience? Fantastic. But shhh … lean in close. I have a secret for you:

It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.

Along with engaging content, quality design is a key way to show your audience that you understand what they want and need. Good design will help you put your audience at ease, get them straight to the information they seek, and help you close the deal.

Here are four simple ways to use design to show ‘em you know ‘em:

1. Say it with a pretty picture.

Choosing the right imagery for your brand is as important as crafting your copy. While your content will convey the facts, information and core message you want your readers to internalize, on-point imagery will convey the feeling to back up and enhance your words. Let’s look at a client example:

supporting content with design

Ahhh. That’s nice, isn’t it? Don’t you feel relaxed just looking at this scene? That’s by design, so to speak. JMG’s imagery evokes sweeping, natural vistas and serene leisure activities. Why? JMG is a financial planning firm. The firm’s clients are working hard and putting their hard-earned money in the the firm’s hands, so they can retire one day and enjoy the fruits of the firm’s wise financial management. Put your trust in JMG, the image says, and we’ll put you on the right path.

2. Say it right away.

Good design involves more than just colors and imagery. Sure, who doesn’t love a great font? But when it comes to finding what you need – especially on a website – layout is your user experience bread and butter. Web audiences have a notoriously short attention span, which is why designers focus on ways to attract and hold audience attention.

We think about the F-shaped scanning pattern people use.

We think about how to design compelling and attractive service boxes (or a great call to action) that peeks just above the (infamous) fold.

We want the audience to know immediately that they have landed on a site that has just the thing they need – whether information, products, help or all of the above.

3. Say it by association.

Use design to help persuade. Let your reader know, loud and clear:

Customers just like you already trust us. Respected organizations trust us.


respected logos attract customersadd visual value





Trust badges can be visual seals or logos of organizations you belong to, review sites or customers you’ve worked with. They’re designed to inspire trust by association to another prestigious organization.

4. Say it again.

Design should reinforce the written message.

Let me repeat that.

Design should reinforce the written message.

Your message should be crafted carefully from your audience’s point of view. Inspirational, accessible and exactly where your reader needed it to be. Make it easy for them to see that you already have just the thing they need. Make it clear that you are a trusted resource, and say it more than once.

You want your audience to know that you understand them; that you’ve thought about what they need and want. Now, show ‘em you know ‘em.

How do you show your audience you know ’em? Tell us in the comments.

About Hannah Ditto

Hannah is a graphic designer at The Simons Group. She gets enthusiastic about typography, color swatches and seeing a design project come together to deliver your image and message to the right audience.

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