Content is the New Black
After spending way too much time on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook lately, I can’t help but notice the amount of content people are generating and aggregating. I follow people “professionally” on Twitter and LinkedIn, and I see articles and blog posts on almost every topic imaginable. People are using social media to develop their personal and professional brands.
So is content the new black? Is content replacing creative?
Maybe replacing isn’t the right word, but content is definitely making a comeback.
In the last decade, companies have embraced the idea of branding as a way to elevate their image, sales and bring unity to their organization. All great stuff.
But branding goes beyond color choices, logos and marketing materials – it extends into a message that is unique and relevant in a company’s market. The message fuels the design and creative processes, it doesn’t come second. Without this message, design is merely decoration that doesn’t reflect the brand, or worse, makes it generic and forgettable.
But can this message live on it’s own? Can it make an impact without the help of design?
It can. We’re seeing it happen with social media.
For a long time, PR was seen as the only way to deliver content, or to spread the word about a company. But with the help of social media, content has a vehicle to move ahead of design…or at least gain some ground on it.
Smart businesses are focusing more on creating content that reinforces their position and the ideals of their brand. Good content builds trust. Good content makes people feel connected to you. And when people feel connected, they’re more likely to purchase products and services from you, or suggest that a friend do the same.
Social media pushes content forward.
Take a look at most of the social media sites out there. How often do you see any unique, standout design on Facebook or LinkedIn? How often do you check out a Twitter profile page and admire the background image? When a blog post pops up in your Google Reader, how often do you visit the actual site to see its design? Probably not very often. You’re there for the content. There is some design, but it’s there more or less to frame the content in an unobtrusive way.
So is this the end of design? Content wishes. Design will live on forever, as an expression of ideas and emotions that engage, entertain, explain and makes an impact on how people behave. And with the rise of content, we’ll all be admiring design that has something interesting to say, not just something interesting to look at.
Mike Spakowski is Principal / Creative Director of Atomicdust and is involved with the day-to-day design strategy, art direction and studio management.