Building a brand and understanding good design can have a huge impact on company culture, engaging your staff, and developing the identity of your business. When defining your culture or putting together a communications piece it’s important to understand how good design and branding and can make your messages much more powerful, lasting and engaging.
Reward Gateway’s Creative Director Sevil Rahimova recently sat down to share her thoughts and advice for anyone looking to learn more about how branding and design can impact employee communications and company culture.
Can you explain your role at RG?
Sure, I direct our creative and brand strategy for the company. I manage a team of designers who ensures that all our marketing materials that we produce look beautiful. I also head up the creation of our brand guidelines and ensure that the company learns about how to incorporate these branding decisions in their everyday materials, such as client newsletters or sales presentations.
Why do you think it’s important for companies to build a brand and be conscious of design?
There are a lot of reasons - a brand is a visual representation of the values of the company culture and creates something that connects your employees to your business. A great brand can help establish and express your mission and values and gives you design ideas you can always go back to when thinking of new internal or external communication campaigns. For example at RG our website is really a reflection of our internal culture - it’s friendly, fun, colourful and human.
If someone was looking to develop a company brand or improve on an existing brand what advice would you give them?
Keep your audience in mind. Are most of your staff over forty or fresh out of university? Is it mostly people at a desk or employees in the field? Are you aiming to be formal, casual, exciting, classic or something completely different? For example if you wanted to go for a more corporate brand the design elements you would use would be more elegant, simple, and more straight to the point. If you wanted to develop something more fun and exciting you would lean more towards elements that include curving lines and lots of colour. It’s important to decide what direction you want to go in and commit to those ideas.
When trying to make great employee communications what design tips would you give?
It really depends on how you are communicating, if you are talking about print then it’s important to have a great headline and a strong call to action that the eye is drawn to. In terms of a website you have to think about what information you want to prioritize, that’s the information that should be towards the top of the page.
On a website you need to balance between making the site look pleasing to the eye but also highlight the important information. If everything looks equally amazing and important then nothing actually pops out. Another huge point is that it’s critical to design for mobile devices. Make sure, whether it’s an email, your intranet, or another site, it will be accessible and responsive on a mobile device as it’s how more and more people consume information.
When communicating information and thinking about great design you need to keep in mind how the brain works. Even though we can look at an entire page or poster at once our brain can really only focus on one thing. Choosing the right color combinations and typography that's easy to read will make communicating and focusing a lot easier. And if you keep in mind what information you really want to prioritize then designing your communications will become much more intuitive.
Any parting words of wisdom?
Definitely, we work with people in HR and because they often don’t have direct design experience they tend to doubt their ideas or afraid to give any ideas at all. My advice is don’t doubt yourself! Everyone is creative and can think creatively. Even if you aren’t a trained designer you can still have great design ideas.