Lorum Ipsum ruined my landing page

As a Creative Director, I have learnt to push back on any landing page concept that is presented to me that contains ‘Lorum Ipsom’ placeholder copy.

Design without purpose is art

Quite simply ‘design’ without purpose is ‘art’ and design with ‘Lorum Ipsom’ placeholder copy lacks the fundamental foundations that are required to communicate purposefully. A structure, narrative and call to action. It might look nice, but what does it say?

At Contra, we have developed a culture that challenges our creative designers and thinkers to ensure they are considering the marketing and communication aspects of any design. By blending this responsibility into their remit we ‘double down’ the foundational thinking which often leads to more exciting results.

How to avoid ‘Lorum Ipsum’… And a design that doesn’t deliver

The best way to ensure the design has a strong clarity of purpose is to put in the groundwork. Avoid the temptation of starting with the visuals [fun stuff] and instead prepare the foundations. Here is our broad process:

Define the win wins

In our studio the design process often starts by defining the audience and outlining the purpose of the page. We look at who the users are, what the client is trying to achieve, what action we could ask a user to take and what need that fulfills for the user. By establishing this we create a good foundation to build on and measure the success of our design against.

Create a content wireframe for the landing page

Next we pen out a document outline / narrative that will communicate to the user, lead them on a small journey and structure the call to action / proposition. This provides the overall structure of the page and creates a skeleton to hang the rest of the work on.

Write and refine the copy

Once the structure is figured out we develop it further by writing copy and describing graphics or interactions that can be used in the design to enhance the story. The words are refined, reduced and simplified until a coherent narrative becomes clear. You will know when you have it right because you will be communicating more in less words and you will hit a ‘eureka moment’ where everything starts to work as one. A bit like a good joke… You set it up, then deliver the punchline — everything works together.

“Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler” Albert Einstein

Sketch and rapid design

It is now that the visuals start to develop. We sketch out designs collaboratively on one of the giant blackboards we have in the studio and play with various ideas before moving onto the screen and working up the designs in full using the copy and structure that has been defined earlier on in the process. We expect our designers at this stage to radically push the idea on but equally we expect the resulting concept to make sense and deliver on narrative, marketing, experience as well as the aesthetics.

So what makes an effective landing page?

Quite simply… Design with purpose, set the foundations before experimenting with visuals and ensure the copy and design are working in unity with each other. Make sure you connect emotionally with the user and take them on a journey.

Originally published at www.contra.agency on July 18, 2017.