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There are many outlets available to designers to acquire data and drive design decisions.

With the rise of AI in the realm of marketing automation and analysis how can individual designers make use of data to improve their design decisions?

Specifically when responsible for an ad campaign what metrics and data should I be looking for to inform my design decisions? For a large client should they have this and provide it to me or should I know to ask them for it? For a smaller client when is it feasible to get this type of data or what alternative methods might I suggest to the client to ensure the marketing materials success beyond going off "feeling."

Please be sure to cite any research you may have on the subject as part of your answer.

  • Isn't this more marketing and statistical analysis than design? As a designer it's really not my forte to determine what venue will sell best, only that my work is correct for the venue which has been chosen. – Scott Feb 23 '18 at 18:54
  • @Scott your last clause, "only that my work is correct for the venue which has been chosen" -- what data are you using to know its correct? In your case, what data do you ask your client for to make informed decisions about the campaign's design? – Ryan Feb 23 '18 at 19:08
  • I ask the client where they are running the campaign.. I don't determine the sales funnel for the client - that's they marketing department's job, or the client itself(themself?). I can't possibly spend time researching every client's marketing needs... that's a profession unto itself. – Scott Feb 23 '18 at 19:12
  • @Scott Here's a chat instead: copied to chat. – Ryan Feb 23 '18 at 19:18
  • @Ryan By large company, let's say more than 100,000 employees. They all provide the same sort of containment via "guidelines", to which a designer must agree, legally. Precisely because they trust the feelings of designers they formulate guidelines based on the designers they've previous trusted the feelings of. This permits experiments with the feelings of other designers. Big companies, by virtue of their success with various designs (of products, practices and processes) inherently believe in the feelings of designers because it's been a part of their paths to achieving success. – Confused Mar 3 '18 at 5:09
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+100

Client:

"Where should I run this campaign?"
or
"Which outlet will provide me more ROI on a campaign?"

That's not the designer's job to determine.

Truth of the matter is the sales team, the order takers, the accounting department, heck even possibly the shipping department, will all have a better handle on where orders are received in a more amenable fashion and where more orders are coming from. Then factor in actual marketing departments whose entire basis is statistical analysis of customer information and it becomes clear that the designer is among the least qualified to determine where a campaign will have the most success.

Client:

I'm running a campaign on [VenueA] and [VenueB]. What will work best?

This is the designer's job. The designer should be aware that a campaign seen on [VenueA] will primarily be seen by a younger audience, where as a campaign on [VenueB] will be viewed by an older audience. Then be able to alter the design of the same content to match aesthetics better suited for a given demographic.

At times this demographic data is somewhat inherent in the venue itself. When dealing with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al. It's fairly understood that the largest demographic is under 40. Compared to dealing with newspapers, whose demographic is traditionally older.

While no designer needs to scour over demographic and marketing data to any great degree, it is possible to get a cursory understanding of a demographic via a simple web search for the data.

Most web-based companies will have the data kind of readily apparent somewhere. So searching for "Facebook demographics" can easily lead you to a quality link.

When dealing with non-web-based companies things get much more difficult because it's rare or impossible to find such data for non-web companies, unless it's provided by a marketing department. It's often guarded with much more secrecy. However, asking the client "who their customer is" will provide some general information on their demographics. Sometimes this is all the designer has to base thing on.

Marketing is a profession unto itself for a reason.... it takes experience, time, and effort. While understanding what works and does not work for general demographic ranges should be important to a designer. The designer should not be dictating to the client where a campaign will work best. The designer simply won't have all that information or the expertise to sort through the information if they do happen to get it.


Now, as far as what demographics mean in terms of design alteration... well, that's a manual or book unto itself. Part of a good design education or experience is the knowledge with respect to the variances common when looking at different demographics. Things like type sizes based upon age, color trends based upon age/affluence, etc. are all general knowledge every designer should have. There are many questions on this site dealing with these specific topics:

There's also the "trend" factor which is a bit undefinable. To me, "trends" start by someone copying something they liked, then someone else likes it and copies it again, then it's copied again, and again, and again until it's a "trend". There's is often no rhyme or reason to trends. So, really the only way to keep up to date on trends is to observe the world around you. Sites such as this one are great at seeing what's being asked and talked about. But you probably won't find any hard, statistical, data on trends anywhere - at least not until after the trend is long dead.


I realize some companies throw everything into a hat and call that a "design" position. Marketing is one of those areas that is tangent to design and can be thrust upon a designer by companies at times. It is possible to wear multiple hats if that's your desire and be good at marketing+design. But that's not generally the "norm" for a designer. In broad terms, designers aren't marketing experts. Much like sales copy writing, the designer will almost always do a far inferior job at marketing than actual marketing professionals, the same way marketing professionals will always do an inferior job at designing than the design professionals.


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  • Since posting this, it's occurred to me that you may be asking for specific use cases with Microsoft's new AI platform. To be honest, it's too new to be definitive. From my standpoint, it's not really any different than Apple touting their next OS version. Of course the developing company is going to promote it as the be-all-end-all. but I can't find any hard and fast feature implementation stories/details. Everything I read is merely "puffing" thus far. I'd also point out.. if you have to mention a specific OS in the question.. it's likely not a design question. – Scott Feb 24 '18 at 4:06
  • I agree: "Marketing is a profession unto itself for a reason.... it takes experience, time, and effort." And add -> personality type appropriateness, high degrees of empathy and talents in discernment, memory and pattern matching, plus temerity, are also important. – Confused Mar 3 '18 at 4:54
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Just a general sense ..

Commercial artists create well-designed and crafted advertisements and product packaging, resulting in increased sales for a variety of industries. They often meet with a client to get a general idea of a project concept and then work out the details independently.

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