2020 in Review: Brand & Marketing Design
By Brian Tucker • Jan 11, 2021
Beyond the obviously extraordinary circumstances, 2020 was crazy for Industry Dive. Over the years we’ve grown at an incredible rate, this year being no exception. While this growth is exciting, it also introduces challenges to our design work. Things that function in a one-off capacity begin to fail when scaled up to the needs of a larger company.
Our key challenges were finding ways to:
- Empower non-designers to quickly and easily create sales collateral without sacrificing quality
- Effectively manage an increase in the volume of requests by other teams and fast turnaround times
- Maintain our fun and familial company vibe, even while we rapidly expand
We tackled these issues in a few key ways: reduced repetitive work through automation and templatization, created easy-to-use resources for self-serve design, and brought on-brand personality into our digital workplace.
Goal: Create an easy-to-use template in Google Slides for sales proposals that will make us look good when pitching to clients
The process: Prior to this project, Design was not very involved in the sales process. To ensure any changes we made were not disruptive to sales work, we spent a lot of time working to understand their needs. This meant a lengthy discovery phase involving interviews with people across all levels of the department, as well as documentation of existing processes and experimenting with all available tools.
The result was a slide template that allows our sales team to easily build their proposal from a library of over 70 pre-designed slides that not only fit their needs, but also uphold our design standards. In addition, we held training sessions to go over use of the template and best design practices.
Team: Brian Tucker (Graphic Design), Imogen Bradbury (Sales)
I’ve received so many compliments about how sleek, easy to understand and pretty our proposals are from clients. They make it so much easier for us to sell larger campaigns AND get buy in from the higher ups.– Polly Blum, Marketing Programs Managerr
Bulk ad creation
Goal: Create custom social ads for our 21 publications as quickly as possible without compromising on quality
The process: We worked with the marketing team to create a basic template that would allow us to plug and play both copy and imagery, resulting in automatically generated custom ads. We used Google Sheets to create a csv file that would be imported into Adobe InDesign using data merge. Using Sheets allowed the marketing team to get in and tweak copy and suggest imagery without needing to understand design software. We used our existing library of custom illustrations from our Editorial Design Team with our editorial indigo color palette creating a cohesive look across all of the ads.
Once the copy and imagery were approved by marketing, it was as simple as running the data merge and exporting from InDesign to .png. The time saved was enormous, but the satisfaction of everything creating itself was the real treat.
Team: Brian Tucker (Graphic Design), Michelle Rock (Creative Direction), Olivia Iurillo and Megan Gavin (Marketing)
Goal: Create customized audience insight assets for our Sales team to leverage during client conversations
The process: With 20 highly individualized audiences, we knew that this project wouldn’t allow us to use data merge to generate our documents, so our main challenge was finding ways to create these custom assets in a time-efficient manner. We did this by setting content length requirements up front and developing an InDesign template around those requirements. From there, the designers only had to transpose the content into the template, with most needing only minimal tweaking to produce the final product.
Team: Brian Tucker (Template Design), Adeline Kon, Danielle Ternes, Kendall Davis and Yujin Kim (Graphic Design), Michelle Rock (Creative Direction), Kate West (Ad Operations), Robin Re (Marketing)
Goal: Create a fun way for employees to learn the names and faces of their coworkers
The process: As the company grew to a level where it was hard to remember everyone’s names, the design team took it upon themselves to come up with a fun solution. Our brainstorming brought us to the idea of a name-face matching game. We started with everyone drawing paper wireframes, and then chose our favorite features from each to create a final wireframe that we used to build out the game.
We then moved into three separate teams to start building out the game: UX/UI, branding and development. The UX/UI team developed high-fidelity prototypes that the branding team used to create logos and illustrations (once again using our editorial indigo color palette), and the development team worked with HR to gather employee data and code the game. We were able to connect to existing Google Sheet documents for both employee information and headshots, which allows it to be updated semi-autonomously.
We ended up with a game that is fun to play, fun to look at and also a helpful tool for the company.
Team: Nami Sumida (Development), Jordan Branch and Natalie Forman (UX/UI), Adeline Kon, Danielle Ternes and Yujin Kim (Illustration), Kendall Davis (Typography), Michelle Rock (Creative Direction), Brian Tucker (Project Management), Leah Maniaci and Kevin Dunne (HR Support)