In this post we discuss how you can improve your long-term brand building whilst delivering content marketing with maximum impact using a pre-defined design system.

Successful design systems are instantly recognisable and contain a good balance between fixed and variables. These designs become a powerful extension of your logo and extend the reach of your content marketing.

Content marketing by its very nature needs to look less promotional than traditional marketing. Often images or graphics are used to convey specific issues or topics that are of special interest or relevance to the audience. Corporate branding and promotion is reduced to a supporting role to increase the perceived value of the content.

Promotional collateral for content marketing, events and news is often required to be produced very quickly. It therefore makes sense to have an effective design system in place to ensure you maximise your communication opportunities.

Benefits to having a design system in place include:

  • Build your brand – with a system that relates back to your graphic identity
  • Save time – during creation and approval procedures
  • Control costs – as no need to rethink the creatives every time
  • Increase engagement – achieve improved results using a familiar design

Some do's and don'ts when creating an effective design system:

Do:

  • Agree what is variable and what is not. You want your communication to feel fresh every time but you also need to be recognisable and adhere to brand guidelines.
  • Plan ahead. Know what type of promotion and collateral you will need to create and ensure the design system will work in all the sizes you need.
  • Stick to it for a period of time. By all means test and measure as you go but also think about the impact of making rash changes that may cause your audience to not recognise your content marketing.

Don’t:

  • Be too complicated. Less is almost always more and a few nice design techniques speaks volumes about the confidence you have in your brand.


Project examples

AVCA

For AVCA (African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association) we have created a diagonal striped design system that is very flexible with the amount of image and text being used. It also works well with any colour that is needed to match in with different themes:

Mobilise

For Mobilise we have a net-grid graphic that is used to overlay photography and be used as a plain graphic. The circular theme is linked to the logo and the net refers to their specialism in mobile consulting:

Z-Risk Engine®

For Z-Risk Engine we use a very abstract piece of architecture that we overlay with the full range of corporate colours and apply at different scales to create variety and interest:

Hopefully this will have inspired you to start making use of a versatile and effective design system for your content marketing!