Cross-cultural design involves the process of creating a design that will be cut across all cultures. Cross-cultural designs are very important than they used to be before because firms from one continent are trying to penetrate other continents.
A firm that is based in Europe, for example, can penetrate the African market through its design. Once such a firm understands what Africans want, the firm can inculcate it into a design and use it to gain access to its market.
As a designer, every product you want to design should be a design that can cut through a lot of cultures unless the clients restrict you to a certain culture.
Tips Designers Can Make to Help Create Rich Cross-Cultural Design Experiences
As businesses continue to increase, so are designers increasing because every business that wants to succeed must have an identity. Logo designers, web designers, product designers, and a whole lot of other designers are the people saddled with the responsibility of producing quality designs that will cut across different cultures.
In this article, we aim to look at the tips that will make a designer create rich cultural experiences. What we are saying, in other words, is that we want to educate the designers on the things they need to make a design that will be globally accepted. If a design cuts across different cultures, there is no way it will not be accepted globally. Some of the tips a designer can use are:
1. Multilingual Design
As a designer, your design should be multilingual. If you are a website designer, for example, you should design your website in such a way that it will accommodate multiple languages. Modern-day websites, especially websites that have to do with the sale of products, usually have more than 10 languages.
The more language you have on your website, the more users find it user-friendly. Individuals who want to check your website design will not need to be looking for translators. Your website design will not be able to accommodate all languages, but the major languages that are spoken all over the world should be considered. Languages like the English language, Arabic language, French language, Deutsh, Portuguese, Spanish, and Chinese language are the major languages spoken around the world.
If you design a website and you include all these languages we have mentioned, your website design will be able to penetrate different cultures because there is no country in the world today where you will not find speakers of these languages in abundance.
If you are someone that designs product covers and the like, you might not have the chance to add a lot of languages as a web designer will have. You can make do with the English, Arabic, and French language for your product.
2. Using The Right Images
“When you take a first look at this point, it may not sound important, but when you realize that we are dealing with cultures, you understand how important image is.” – as quoted by DesignerHire in one of their recent blog posts.
The use of a proper image to complement your design is very important. If you want to make a design that will cut across different cultures, then you have to take your time to learn about different cultures.
Sometimes as a designer, you do not use the best image, but you use the right image. What we are trying to explain with this sentence is that you can use an image for your design, and some cultures will applaud it, but when it gets to some cultures, it will be condemned and rejected in its entirety.
For instance, an image that is acceptable in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and some other European countries might not be accepted in a lot of countries in the Middle East, and even some countries in Africa.
That is why we said as a cross-cultural designer you should use the right image in your design (rather than the best image in some cases).
For example, if you have two images you want to use to sell a product, and you think the best image that is perfect for the message you want to send across might not be accepted in some regions, it is better to abandon that image and use the image that will be largely accepted even if it does not completely narrate the true picture of what you want people to understand from the design.
3. Be flexible
Rigidity should not be a trait that should be found in a designer. One of the common significant factors that can make or mar the career of a designer is flexibility. If the designers are not flexible, they cannot stand the test of time.
If you call yourself a designer, you should know that your job is to get people happy through your designs. The job of a designer is similar to the job of a musician. A musician that cannot be dynamic and give people what they want at a particular time cannot make it as a musician.
Awareness of the latest trends can help you grow your design craft. In most cases, you will be asked to make a design in respect of what is happening in the world at that particular time. For example, if there is something that is happening, and it relates to people all over the world, a designer can use the opportunity to make a design that relates to such happenings. Such designs are easily accepted worldwide because of what they represent.
Flexibility as a designer can also mean upgrading to the latest designing tools that are being used. New inventions are made every day in all industries, including the design industry. As new tools are being launched, you have to continue to learn them and inculcate them into your design in order not to remain static.
You should be able to tweak your design so that you keep coming out with quality designs every time.
4. Know The Problem
This is a very important point for a cross-cultural designer. You should know the people you want to showcase your design skill to are not domiciled in one country or region. You are trying to showcase your cross-cultural design skills to the world population. Your design must be seen to be a solution to a problem.
No matter the design, whether website, product design, or logo design, as long that the product is designed to be sold around the world, the manufacturer feels there is a problem they need to solve. You, as a designer, must also make your design attractive to attract the target audience. You can achieve this if you are aware of the problem before you start designing.
Some designers have used inspiration from sportsmen, politicians, movie actors and actresses, and even musicians to create a design to address the lingering issues in society.
5. Make Designs That Can Be Attributed To A Craft
In bringing this article to a conclusion, we want to look at another very important point that designers can take a cue from. You can make only one design and continue to earn from it if the design is tied to a particular craft. We use music to give an example because it has a relation to design. Sometimes a musician can sing only one song and continues to earn from the song decades after its release because the song continues to remain relevant and other people in the entertainment industry continue to use the song in a movie.
You can decide as a designer to create a design that relates to a particular craft. If the design is perfect, stakeholders in the craft would be using the design for their businesses. That design can be the face of that craft if properly designed.
A lot of new businesses that are springing up still make use of designs that have been created for more than two decades for their businesses. It is not that some of these businesses do not have money to hire a designer to help them create a design for their business. But during their research on what it takes to set up such businesses, they may have come across many people who are into that business that are making use of that design. So they feel the right thing to do is also to join the league of those that are making use of that image to sell their business. Such design will now be like the face of that craft. A lot of these designs can be found in businesses in Africa.
Designing is a serious business. It is now a money-spinner all over the world. If you want to join the list of successful designers, then you need a guide. The guide you need has come to you in the form of this article. You have all the information at your disposal now to start making cross-cultural designs.
Author: C.R. Venkatesh
This article is written by C.R. Venkatesh. Venkatesh is a serial entrepreneur with a distinct passion for taking nascent businesses to great heights. An early entrant in mobile application technology, Venkatesh grew his flagship company, Dot Com Infoway (DCI) to be recognized as one of the world’s leading digital marketing, web, and mobile app development & marketing companies.