A design audit is essentially a brand checkup which pinpoints less than perfect areas of branding. It’s performed to make sure that the company, Brand or Product is expressing itself consistently across all channels. This could refer to their website, TV ads, Social Media and even Presentations too. During a Design audit, the designer will gather and review all branding elements before making a detailed report on shortcomings.
A proper Design Audit includes all aspects of the brand, not just the visual stuff. It also makes sure that the verbal and written communication is on point too.
Why Design Audit is needed ?
Most of the Non technical companies don’t have a dedicated team that examines their digital product from time to time. In fact, most leading players hire App development companies to design and develop their website and applications, which may need modifications or upgrades with the passage of time. Such companies typically gain the most from conducting a thorough design audit.
Also, Companies which are planning to redesign their product should also consider an external digital audit to chart the path for the future. Design audits are usually carried out on a product or service that has been live for some time & has sufficient data and online material to examine.
How to conduct a design audit for a Brand
A proper Design Audit involves three major steps.
Step 1 : Gather all the Branding elements
Before you can figure out if there are any problems with the design, you need to collect all the visual design elements of the brand across all platforms.
Doing this enables you to analyze all the key branding elements of a company with a bird’s eye view. This step might look less important, but some flaws in Brand designs may not become apparent until you’re looking at the whole picture.
As for which elements you need to gather, here’s a simple list to get you started:
a) Brand Logos in all formats and use cases
b) Any style guides or existing design systems
c) Brand website
d) Mobile and Desktop applications
e) Samples of all the fonts that are being used.
f) Color palette of the tones that are being used.
g) List of Images and Icons that are being used throughout all the the platforms.
h) Social Media platforms
i) Classes, workshops, presentations, promotional speaking engagements
j) Ad Commercials and other promotional activities
k) Website and Application analytics
Step 2 : Analyze all the gathered Visual Elements
Analyze all the visual branding elements across all the platforms to find any inconsistencies or flaws in designs.
Let’s go through a few simple tips to make sure your website’s visual elements hit the mark in these aspects:
a) Check if the logo remains consistent across all platforms
b) Check Typography consistency.
c) Check whether all designs are in accordance with branding guidelines and patterns.
d) Analyze website analytics and list all the landing pages which are being effected by shortcomings in designs
e) Check whether the Social Media platforms are on point with the design guidelines of the brand
f) Check whether the popups, Hello bars and Ad placements are on point.
g) Check whether Background patterns are in alignment with Branding guidelines
h) Ensure that the icons are sharing a similar style.
Step 3 : Create an Audit report listing all the shortcomings and places of improvement.
Prepare a detailed report which lists the details of all the shortcomings in Designs. Also prepare a list of guidelines on how to improve the shortcomings and reach perfection. The purpose of this document is to ensure that going forward, you can outsource design work without having to micromanage it. Plus, as your website grows you’ll likely add more members to your work team. A standards manual can help them understand your visual branding better. In fact, this is such a smart practice that plenty of top Brands engage in it.
In this Step, Detail all the Guidelines, Patterns, Color pallets, Images and Fonts that are already being used. Along with them detail all the shortcomings and places of improvement among them. These are the Shortcomings which are need to be included in a well documented manual report.
a) Include guidelines about how the Brands logo and its variations can be used more efficiently
b) Attach examples of the kind of images that contributors should use on your site, as well as rules about how to present them, and the type of content they should avoid.
c) Detail the typography that should be used for the brand.
d) Provide examples of the types of buttons, icons, and other similar elements which might be more appealing for the brand.
Design Audit can be invaluable in keeping a brand on track. Especially, it is highly advisable for brands that are heavily dependent on online customers Getting Design Audit once in a while will ensure that your branding is on poin