If this hasn’t happened to you yet, it’s only a matter of time: You propose an idea based on years of experience, but your client isn’t convinced and wants to think about it. Later, someone else makes the same argument with a pretty infographic published by an agency 1,000 miles away. Suddenly the client is on board!
Unless you’re a professional designer, odds are very good that your workstation doesn’t have industry-standard design software like Adobe Photoshop and InDesign installed. However, you almost certainly have some version of Microsoft Word.
I won’t pretend that Word comes close to offering the quality and flexibility that professional design tools do. There’s simply no comparison. But with a little effort, it IS possible to create attractive and professional-looking flyers, newsletters, etc.
The single biggest design mistake non-designers make is to put too much emphasis on appearance.
But design is all about appearance, right? And we want everything we design to look good, right? Well, yes. But your #1 design goal should NEVER be for it to look pretty. Your goal should be for it to be functional and useful. Attractiveness should ALWAYS be secondary to functionality.
How many times have you seen a poster or a billboard and thought, “Wow, that’s beautiful, but I have no idea what it means.” Or “Wow, that was pretty, but the type was so small I couldn’t read what it said.” Sometimes marketers do this on purpose, and since I’m not a professional marketer, I can’t say if it’s an effective strategy or not. But as a professional communicator, I can tell you that you cannot afford ambiguous communication with your employees.
Microsoft Word is a good (if overly-complicated) word processor. And as I demonstrate here, it can sometimes even substitute for a professional design tool if you know a few tricks. But it should never, EVER be used for web design.
If you want to make a web designer cry, tell him/her that you built a website using Word’s Save as HTML feature.