David McManus / October 9th 2018

Data-driven design

Welcome to the second part of our series on how technology is evolving graphic design. This week we discuss how graphic designers can incorporate big data with creative, in order to produce effective campaign performance.

For us creatives, at some point in our career we are briefed with opaque one-liner requests, like; “Can you just wow the client” or “take this… and make it look pretty!”. Although to some this may sound like guidance, it is nowhere near what we call – a creative brief.

Whilst Marketers live, eat and breathe data… creative teams are often left to rely on imagination and product information to creative campaign assets. The underlying question is clear, how can agencies bring data and creative together to create content that is not only imaginative, but also effective?


What is big data and why is it so important?

When you are signed into a Facebook, Google or any other online account, your behaviours are being logged. (You’ve watched that video of a dog singing Michael Jackson?) – Facebook knows about that…

Along with demographic information from your profile, companies are able to search this data and make assumptions about user behaviour. This is because the information is combined to create millions of data sets.

This information is ‘big data’ and is stored in enormous databases where 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is produced every single day. Experts predict that 40 zettabytes of data will be in existence by end of 2020 (that’s 40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes).


How to implement big data into creative design

There are 3 ways that designers can incorporate big data into their design work…

  • Customer Centricity: Improved big data and design thinking processes enable a user journey that can bring customers to the forefront of everything a business does, making the overall business compellingly customer centric.
  • User Empathy: Empathy creates a vital human-centered design process and a powerful big data case for using customer analytics. Designers need to immerse themselves in the physical environment of their customers, to have a deeper personal understanding of the issues involved in the complete customer journey.
  • Focus on Business Outcomes: Mutually, design thinking and big data have to be solution focused and action oriented, to achieve maximum impact for business. Together, they align with the strategic direction of business and opportunities. They emerge as a revenue generation engine for overall business.


The Straightedge insight

Technology may not be able to match human creativity, but it can help to complement and inform the process. It is how you use that data that makes the whole difference, and it takes a creative mind for that.

Allowing designers to focus on the creative within a campaign’s process will only help to free up a creative’s time, especially if some of the more monotonous leg-work can be assigned to a machine. Enabling and accelerating the processes are powerful, data-intensive tools that render the designs and create the experiences that will unlock the next great level of possibility – and value for enterprises in the design industry.

Will big data ever replace all those pens, sketches and moments of imagination that have long defined great design? Absolutely not.