Jason Chung’s blog “Lessons of a Design Student” has the potential for marketing opportunities, but he may need to narrow down his target audience to better understand what type of marketing would be the most appropriate for his website. Currently, Jason hopes to target an audience of all ages, but it is difficult to make a design that appeals to both children and professionals.
(Jason’s current target audience).
Matthew Stadler’s talk on “What is Publication?” could help Jason think about his audience more critically. At 1:20 in the video, Stadler (2010) explains that “publication is the creation of a public.” Stadler does not mean that everyone will be attracted to a website, but rather publication gives people the opportunity to create a certain type of public. Further on in the video at 5:35, Stadler (2010) also reminds viewers that “publication requires relationships and conversations.” In order for Jason to have meaningful conversations on his website (between himself and his readers), he should try targeting a certain age group or a group with a certain level of design competency. Since this blog is written clearly from the perspective of a “design student,” I would expect Jason’s target audience to be 18-25-year-old design students or people considering entering the design field, but it is possible to target a younger or older audience. He could also try looking at his Google Analytics to gain a better understanding of the audience he is already reaching (on Google Analytics, go to Audience, Demographics, Age).
If Jason’s target audience is interested in going into the design field, he will have a wide variety of marketing opportunities. He could potentially place a sponsored advertisement for a university that offers design courses, such as SFU. Jason could also have affiliate advertisements for software such as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator (but this may be contradictory to his post “Design Software is Just Another Tool”). He could also have affiliate advertising for design books. If Jason decides to have any form of advertisement, I recommend he puts a disclaimer somewhere on his website that explains how he makes money from these advertisements. As Tom Bleymaier (2013) argues in his critical review on Maria Popvova’s advertising techniques, “it sure seems like [readers] should have all the information at hand to make their own choice.”
While Jason considers monetizing his blog, he should also consider altering his design to better indicate his desired audience. I recommend installing the plugin WP Hide Post. His POSIEL posts are not related to his blog’s topic, so I would recommend using this plugin to hide the process and assignment posts on his homepage. This will help his audience find his design posts faster. Jason should also consider adding colour, a header image, or a background image to give his website more flare. I have only taken one design course, but graphic design is very visual and, as of right now, Jason’s website is more text-heavy.
Beyond the lack of photos, there are lots of other design elements that are working well on Jason’s website. His website has a really strong sense of balance. The content is center-aligned, which leaves a lot of white space on the right and left sides of the screen (both on his homepage and on his blog posts). As Mauvé Page (2018) discussed in her design lecture to our class, white space is important for a variety of reasons. White space makes the page feel less cluttered, and also makes big blocks of texts feel less daunting for readers. Jason’s blog is mostly filled with text, but the white space makes the homepage feel clean and tidy rather than overwhelming or cluttered.
Even though the balance and use of white space are working well on Jason’s blog, he could use more contrast on his homepage and blog posts. Mauvé (2018) recommended “[using] contrast to create emphasis.” Contrast can be created through “colour, texture, size, and shapes” (Mauvé 2018). Jason could create contrast on his homepage by having an interesting header or background image. I noticed that Jason has a post called “Start with Sketching.” When I took IAT102 (Intro to Graphic Design) last summer, the course also emphasized the importance of sketching in graphic design. Since sketching is a big part of design, it might be interesting to have a bunch of different sketches as the background image. Just an idea!
Overall, Jason’s website is coming along nicely. Focusing more on his target audience and contrast on his homepage could help him increase his blog’s marketing potential.
- Bleymaier, Tom. 2013. On Advertising — Maria Popova. http://on-advertising.tumblr.com/
- Page, Mauvé. October 2018. “Some Considerations for Web Design and Type On Screens.” Lecture at Simon Fraser University for Publishing 101.
- Stadler, Matthew. 2010. “What is Publication?” Talk from the Richard Hugo House’s writer’s conference, Seattle, WA. May 21, 2010. https://vimeo.com/14888791