Designers need to communicate well and problem solve for systems and strategy. Communicators need to think visually.
Ever since I made the jump from graphic design to communications, I’ve noticed that the best designers have a lot to say about communicating successfully. On the other side of the coin, successful communicators think visually — much like designers.
The successful designer thinks about how a project fits within the framework of the larger organizational brand and supports the way the institution or company speaks — its written voice. It’s easy to start each project in a vacuum and go with the most creative solution possible. But it’s much more effective to look for a creative solution that conforms to the constraints of the existing brand.
The successful communicator considers how to share important information through a variety of interlaced channels, and targets each audience appropriately. That could mean short, direct approaches (bullet points!) online and detailed, targeted approaches offline. The easy approach here would be to re-purpose content across platforms and hope for the best. But targeted, platform-sensitive solutions are better. In designer speak, “the medium is the message.”