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The Beauty of Great Design is in its Execution

The Beauty of Great Design is in its Execution

How to Use a Design-Pro Mindset to Reach Buyers

The success of design is closely tied to a skill and sense for translation. Creatives take a big idea in their grasp and form it to fit a brand strategy, meeting the buyer wherever they happen to be on their journey – thinking through every last detail of scale, substrate and media.

So, how do we get there?

Pondering the potentialities

The process of design encompasses countless possibilities, and that’s what makes it rewarding. We fully embrace and honor this exploration at NK. Yet we also revel in the final steps, where our strategic minds come to play in a complex exercise of forward-thinking.

Simply put, good design always looks ahead. This requires becoming entrenched in the buyer’s motivations and patterns of purchases. It requires understanding and planning for every instance of the brand’s applications. Once those paths are mapped out, it involves building consistency through every touchpoint.

Putting an idea to the test

An effective way to approach such a complex web of interactions is to ground the design exploration in a few key – and the most disparate – applications. Such as branding viewed on a billboard, mobile device, and a small cartridge of medical supplies. Or a packaging design displayed on video, printed brochures, shipping boxes, and single-serve condiment packets.

A true litmus test for a good design system will ask:

  • Does the design vision translate flawlessly to every instance of final medium?
  • Does it work?
  • Does it make people look?
  • Do buyers respond as intended?

Why you can’t afford to skip this work

The big idea is only big if it’s executable. Architecting desire at each step of the customer’s journey and building fans requires an attention to the end result. In other words, it requires paying attention to executability.

Applying the principles

Some medium pose more challenges for design translation than others. Below are useful launching points for thinking through the executability of various design work.

Logo Executability



  • Build a logo that possesses the flexibility to impart its full impact whether occupying the smallest or largest real estate.



  • Establish comprehensive color standards up front to build visual brand consistency across media.
  • Ensure the big design idea can accommodate everything from one-color to four-color treatments.



  • Ensure the stroke weight, color blends, etc. hold up in every instance based on printer capabilities.
  • Consider flexible design systems where a logo can spin into icon-only and wordmark expressions while maintaining its impact.

Digital Design Executability


Color Cues

  • Establish a color target early in the development process.
  • Build a color system upfront that will consistently transfer from digital to print and back again.

Beyond Mobile-Friendliness

  • Think ahead to UX across all platforms.

Overall Marketing Executability



  • Good design won’t look exactly the same in every instance, but it will feel the same thanks to strategic modular-design-component thinking.

Word Choice

  • Does your brand name and marketing copy ring true and memorable, stay ownable, and cause no offense?

Packaging Design Executability



  • Use printing limitations to your advantage: How can you do more with less?
  • Create a design that thrives under limited print parameters.

When you see well-executed design, it feels like everything naturally fell into place. Yet design-insiders understand the level of strategic intention it takes to create such a sense of ease. We relish the art of taking brands there.

Posted in: Thoughts
Tags: design
June 03, 2021

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