Good design has one overriding purpose, especially in business communications: to make sure content is communicated. It acts as a shop window

When it is successful, your clients keep using your publications.

And the more they use your publications, the stronger their connection with you becomes.

Good design achieves this by performing two jobs – one obvious and one not so obvious.

To keep your readers coming back, they must be able to find what they are looking for.

This is the obvious point. Good design showcases what clients regard as important and helps them find it. They get what they need and then value the experience.

The not so obvious point is that good design also helps clients discover unexpectedly useful content and this makes their experience even more valuable.

Together with copywriting, both form a powerful combination to help readers in this time-poor world.

Yet good design is invisible. If design becomes noticeable, it gets in the way and interrupts the flow of the eye. This makes reading laborious and increases the likelihood that the reader will simply give up and move on.

Good design has an elegant simplicity and clear navigation signposts.

But it is more than interesting or well thought out pages or good copywriting. It is about the whole document.

A well designed document has an overall format that reflects its users’ needs. If it doesn’t, clients will abandon it. Its size and shape must match the way the client intends to use the document.

A key reason for the decline in the readership of large-format newspapers is that they are too hard to use on crowded public transport.

The most successful business communications have both good design and good copywriting.