What's the big idea?
Good design is not a substitute for the big idea.
I love great design. It's amazing what it can do for a brand. For an entire company.
So let me get this out there first. Investing in design is better than not investing.
Now let me get to the point. Good design is not a substitute for the big idea. It can be a part of the big idea. But don't get fooled into thinking that you've created something meaningful just because you made it look good.
You know what I mean. You end up with something that looks nice. And sounds nice. But it doesn't have substance. It's the cotton candy of the marketing world.
A big idea transcends any one execution. It feels like it can take on many different expressions. It feels like it can change the way people think about your product, your service, or even your entire brand.
Creating a big idea takes an investment of time and thought. Spending the time here can return more value than any other part of the creative process. Because a big idea can sustain, supporting numerous executions and extending the value of your investment.
So as you are evaluating an effort, ask this question: "Does the design amplify a big idea? Or does it just make everything look pretty?"
There are a lot of people out there who can design. And honestly, It's easy to make things pretty. Don't settle. It takes a little bit of genius to make them beautiful and meaningful. Seek out one of the rare few who can deliver the big idea.