Engagement Design – Less is Always More

'Engagement Design' isn’t just about how your campaign looks, it’s about how your campaign works. In this digital age we have ever-decreasing attention spans. It has never been more important to use design to grab and hold attention. If design is complicated the consumer could become confused – or worse, bored – and instantly lose interest in your message. And, you don’t have long to secure that interest: research by the Centre for Cognitive Psychology and Methodology into ‘The role of visual complexity’ shows that visual complexity can turn consumers off within as little as 17 milliseconds.Subconsciously, consumers have become super-fast content filterers. They judge a book – or blog post, podcast or film – very much by its cover. They are more engaged with simple design that focuses on the necessities of the message and are less attracted to the ‘bells and whistles’ of more elaborate work.Google, the most popular search engine on the planet, shows exactly how it is done, with a homepage designed entirely around the essentials, its search function.

But Google’s approach execution of simplicity is just one of many, so with that in mind it’s worth considering the different ways in which a clear message can be delivered, based on different desired outtakes.

The 5 ‘whys’ of ‘Engagement Design’

• Design to Inform – Presenting data or information in an engaging way
• Design to Intrigue – Creating the desire to engage with content
• Design to Invite – Encouraging consumers to engage with brand activations
• Design to Impact – Capturing attention and making memorable moments
• Design to Introduce – Drumming up excitement for releases or upcoming events

Accenture #SeeBeyond – RBS 6 Nations 2017

Our match sheets for Accenture are designed to feed rugby fans with interesting insights in the build-up to RBS 6 Nations games. This simple data design has been a huge success. By the third round of this year’s competition we have seen a 140% increase on clicks through to Accenture’s Rugby hub compared to 2016, when design was both darker and more complex.

Synergy - NowNewNext 2017

The design of Synergy’s NowNewNext 2017 is a great example of how simple design can create not only interest, but the desire to learn more. Abstract imagery and engaging article titles were designed to demand the further scrutiny of our intelligent and ambitious audience.


Our Live Every Dream competition for IG invited fans to enter to win the tour of a lifetime…the chance to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime rugby experience usually reserved for the pros. Dream-like montages sat within silhouettes of professional player portraits, clearly capturing the calibre of the prize.

SynergyLive – Rugby World Cup 2015

SynergyLive is our real-time social media marketing offering. Never is it more about capturing attention than in the heat of the moment, when demand for eyeballs and engagement is at a premium. Simple design that pops in a fan’s social feed is vital. Our work for Canterbury around the Rugby World Cup 2015 featured many examples of super-simple real-time moment marketing.

Royal Salute – Stories of Power & Grace

None of us are strangers to the power of a great movie trailer. It’s all about teasing just enough, without giving the game away, especially when the final edit is often no more than 3 minutes long! With multiple video formats vying for our attention across a plethora of social feeds, there’s an art in designing the perfect thumbnail image that will elicit the relevant click-through, turning a potential viewer into an actual viewer.

Although these designs are very different and not all plain white pages with a pithy statement written in ‘Helvetica Neue’, they are all still very simple and convey a single message in a very clear fashion. It’s very easy to forget the main message you want to convey, and try to get as much ‘brand value’ from an image by cluttering it up with links to websites, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.This is why we often look at a design once we are happy with a concept and then ask: “Right, what DON’T we need? What isn’t a necessity to our message?” That way we can make sure that our message isn’t being diluted by unnecessary clutter.

In this chaotic and fast-paced world we all now live in, it’s nice to take a step back and just remind ourselves that ‘less is always more’.