Quality content makes the difference

By Dave,

May 2020

This blog highlights the importance of investing in high quality content, and why art direction, copywriting & video content is key to the success of a brand or website.

What is content?

'Content' can mean many different things. We think of content as the thing we're delivering to audiences—with design being the vehicle. It can be words, images, illustrations, video, audio or even a virtual experience. It's a vital part of everyday life. We are always consuming content, sometimes without even knowing. Often, our first experience of a product or service is visual. Brand identity, tone of voice, messaging, words, imagery and use of video are all key to deciding whether we invest our time in something.

One thing most businesses have in common is that they need to sell or promote something. Hopefully this post will show how important it is for clients to invest their time and budget into producing great content—and how it can have a big impact on a customer experience.

Camden Market typography and posters
Bold typography & stylised photography, image credit to Ragged Edge.

Creating content

We know it isn't easy to create great content—it needs to be planned, directed, produced and managed around a strategy and within a budget. It can get quite disjointed if too many people are involved. Your design agency should be managing the content creation process—assembling the right team of experts and pulling the strings.

A picture says a thousand words. Great photography can say many more.
Different websites with content
Different ways to display content through web, image credit to Awwwards.


Think big, say small.

The most successful campaigns say little but have big impact, this is because they tell great, highly focused stories. The narrative of what they are trying to sell comes from the creative input within the content, it's the big ideas that drive the content to be great.

A great example of this, is how BT tell a story through poetry and impactful videography, married with the right musical feel. In this particular example "Beyond limits", the sell is that they go beyond to help young people in communities learn and use tech to improve their education. A simple USP can go a long way if you have the right creative direction for it.

Chilly's Bottles art direction
An example of how photography is a vital part of a brand, image credit to Chilly's Bottles

With great content, you can achieve anything

It's just a bottle right?

If you have consistent, impactful and thought through content your business can thrive. A great example of this is Chilly's Bottles. Something as simple as a bottle can be transformed into a must-have lifestyle accessory. The art direction and product photography style helps capture people's imagination, allowing them to see themselves owning the product.

This is an example of how great art direction and a strong visual brand identity can differentiate a business in a crowded market.

A way with words

Great ideas have to come from unique selling points, to create USP's we need to have a long term vision, brand values, goals and key messaging that communicates exactly what you do and why. At Toward we carry out brand workshops to find this out, and once we have the right information we can then start to think creatively around how we can bring it to life.

Words are powerful if they are used in the right way.

Spotify advert
Using your product to create content, image credit to Spotify
Nike advert
The right words next to the right images speak louder, image credit to Nike
Deliveroo messaging
Relatability is often a big sell, image credit to Deliveroo

Not everyone is a photographer

It's 2020, most people have a camera phone, but not everyone is a photographer...

Depending on what you are trying to sell, it's SO important to find the right style to communicate the visual environment you want your audience to be immersed in.

In most cases photography is the most important aspect of design, without high quality well-shot imagery the audience is unlikely to get a real feel of what you do.

Berghaus photography
Shooting a product in its natural environment, image credit to Berghaus.
Sky Sports Anthony Joshua
Stylised photography, image credit to Nomad & Sky Sports.
spongebob doing everything at once

Designers can't do everything!

Great websites, well-crafted brands and clever campaigns come from investing time and money in a team—designers can't do it all on their own. It's often the case where a designer has to become a content writer, photographer & do everything-er (if that's a word).

Creating content can be a daunting process, it means a lot of writing and a lot of research. It doesn't have to be if we make it part of a process. Investing in content workshops where key tasks are undertaken, is one way to create content in a creative environment. If designers have the right content early in the process, the design will most likely be much stronger than if they had to shoe horn it in afterwards.

Without the right content your product is lifeless, so we should be investing time and money into making it the best it can be.

Content process diagram

Price is what you pay, value is what you get

So how much does all of this cost? Well it all comes down to how much you are willing to spend, like most things in this world, the more you spend the better quality you get. Great photographers and copywriters aren't cheap, this is because they will make you look and sound the best you can be. If you're undertaking a rebrand or website design project it would be wise to put a percentage of your overall budget toward content creation. In projects where copy, photography and video might be needed, we'd usually recommend putting aside 20-30% of your total budget for content.

content first

Play the long game

Investing budget into content early on will help increase the longevity of a brand. Having a unique look and feel, a bank of visual assets and clever copy will transform a brand into something approachable, interesting and appealing. Over time this will build authenticity and will hopefully make your business much more memorable and reliable to your audience.