What Well Art-Directed Design and the Holidays Have in Common


By Michelle Peck

It’s that time of year, when we all spend our free time thinking about what gifts to buy, decorating the house with festive lights, planning parties, and singing along to a favorite Christmas carol. The holidays bring love, joy, and excitement year after year and sparks the inner designer in all of us. Design and art direction are all about providing a strategic look and feel to tell a story which is much like the well-planned gift giving and ornate ambiance of the holidays. So follow Santa’s lead to designing the perfect holiday this season with a few simple guidelines.

Think About Your Audience

Before hitting the shopping malls to purchase all the gifts on your list, you need to sit and spend time thinking about your audience and developing a strategy. Think about what each person wants, what their interests are, and how they like to spend their time. It’s important to understand how to speak to your audience, whether it’s finding the perfect gift, or promoting your brand.

Spark Emotion

By relating to your audience, you’ll be able to create a personal connection through your gift giving. You give gifts to people you care about and the right choice will evoke an emotional response in your recipient. Good art direction is all about finding this emotion and tapping into it. Good gifts should do the same thing.

Tell a Story

Christmas carols don’t only provide a festive tune, they tell a story and invite everyone to sing along. They make you feel joyous and bring out the holiday spirit. Creating a voice to convey a story is crucial in marketing a product or service. Conceptual writing makes you feel something beyond learning the facts. A catchy tune doesn’t only tell you what the Christmas story is all about, but you also feel the love and giving the season captures.

Choose a Color Scheme

Yes, it’s true everyone thinks about red and green as the traditional holiday color palette, but bringing true design into your holiday requires so much more. It’s about creating the ideal look for bringing holiday cheer into your home. Define what colors fit your personality and give the vibe your going for. Do you want your home to feel fun, formal, unique or traditional when the family arrives? A color scheme can make a huge impact on the tone of your design and create the appropriate mood.

Establish Your Brand

Ever wonder why the holidays are filled with snowflakes, santa hats, presents, and decorated trees? Visuals are a key element to good design. They are used to support the branding and concept by providing a consistent look throughout all components of a campaign. Visual cues create a culture that is quick to understand in any language. Ornaments and candy canes represent the holidays even without any mention of Christmas. They are ownable elements that can only be used when speaking about your brand.

Check Your Work

Santa knows the value of making a list and checking it twice. The last step for any designer is to proof, test, and share your work with others. The critiques and feedback you receive will only make you a better designer. So, be sure to check those holiday cards before sending them out and have a family member taste your favorite dish before placing it on the table.

In the spirit of the holidays, everyone can be a designer. Know your audience to find the perfect gift, create bliss with a well-told story, and incorporate the right visual elements into your home. You’ll be sure to have a very happy holiday season.