Looking back, I realize I’ve been doing user-centered design for years despite not yet having that language to describe it as such. I’ve always designed with the primary goal of communicating the message clearly to the guests/clients and the close-secondary goal of ease-of-use for designers who use the templates I’ve made.
CLASS & EVENT FLYERS, CASTLE HILL FITNESS
Castle Hill Fitness uses flyers around the gym to promote upcoming classes and events. Before the rebrand, flyers had no messaging hierarchy and no cohesive look within departments or across the gym. This prevented guests from reading the flyers, let alone signing up for a class or event.
Visual Design: One of the things we kept hearing from employees and members alike was that “the people” were one of the best parts of Castle Hill Fitness. So when designing their Series and Event flyers I made “the people” the focus. The titles and dates have the largest fonts so that if a guest only has 3 seconds to view a flyer they can at least absorb the what and when. If they have more time they can read about the who and how.
User-Centered Design: I wanted to create one cohesive design in a template that would be easy for designers to update in the future. Depending on the photo content, the flyer’s design can be “reversed.” Not all of the photos submitted by instructors were high quality so I made the flyer photo black and white to mask potential quality issues. I created the templates in InDesign utilizing guides and character styles for easy updating.
For promotions on the website, social media and in emails, the image is easily cropped to just the photo, which already includes all the main information.
COMMUNITY GIVING DAY MATERIALS, WHOLE FOODS MARKET
Whole Foods Market stores frequently give a percentage of one day's sales to a non-profit and stores created and printed a variety of signage to promote it. The previous design supplied to the store artists was a clunky PDF that was very time-consuming to update and resize with current non-profit information.
Visual Design: The previous design was dated with a 90s clip-art feel and wasn’t customizable to a specific non-profit. I incorporated design elements that encompassed many of Whole Foods Market's community relationships: food, people, pets, the environment.
User-Centered Design: With so much work on their plates, store artists were spending far too much time doing something that could only take 5 minutes. I used a vector-based design so the store artists could easily resize and manipulate the files for their specific stores' needs. I left a white circle for the partner logo because placing logos on a colored background can be tricky at best and problematic at worst.
LOCAL VENDOR PROFILES, WHOLE FOODS MARKET
Around 2008, Whole Foods Market began to highlight its local vendors in stores. The design kit for that signage had all kinds of layers and textures and transparent effects that made resizing and customization difficult at the store level.
Visual Design: Visually, the previous design was actually attractive and effective. My challenge was to update it in a way that guests would not notice but would also make store artists’ production of the signage take a fraction of the time it did before. I changed the dark red/maroon color (that was printing red, purple and brown in the stores) to a medium red. I also updated the fonts to be within our brand standards.
User-Centered Design: I removed all layers and transparency. I still wanted texture so I added a vector-based texture and made it a separate layer. This decreased the file size significantly. I converted all vendor photos to black and white to prevent color discrepancies. I also added a growing zone map in separate layers- indicating a grower zone was as easy as turning on a layer.