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Using Creativity to Improve Qualitative Outputs

Find out how to make your qualitative outputs delivery your brand identity and stand out in a variety of mediums in the latest edition of Monthly Dose of Design.

In last month’s Monthly Dose of Design, we identified how to improve your questionnaires with visual design. This month we shift our focus from research design, to research outputs and how creative thinking can improve your outputs from qualitative research.

No two qualitative research projects are the same. So why should your outputs remain stagnant? Especially if your outputs are long presentations that are hard to read and share.

To avoid delivering tiresome qualitative outputs, here are two things for you to consider next time you deliver qualitative insight to clients:

1. Branding

We believe transforming a research project into a brand helps breathe life into the project and can help transform research into a tool that can help shape the future of a business. Branded projects help engage both participants and clients whilst showing them that they are part of something special.

For example, our #20ExtroadinaryStories project with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) built a research brand that became a currency within the JLR business and help elevate the profile of research within the organisation. There were 3 key characteristics of this project that we wanted to communicate in the brand identity:

  • Create a sense of modern luxury – to reflect the brand we were researching and the preferences of our research participants
  • Create a sense of unity and belonging –  to ensure everyone involved felt involved in something special
  • Express the idea of digital dissemination

With these characteristics in mind, we created the following the brand identity:

The identity harnessed a modern aesthetic featuring brushed steel and a gold colour palette to create the sense of luxury. Additionally, we utilised secondary graphic elements such as elegant background patterns and mottled paper. “Welcome to The Club” was our accompanying tagline so that from the beginning, everyone who was part of the project knew that this was a community and felt a sense of unity being part of the project. The use of an iPad screen showed the focus of digital dissemination of insight and materials.

When branding research projects, it is essential that the brand identity and visual language lives on throughout the whole project and appears on all collateral delivered to both client and participants. This includes everything from printed and email invitations, to online platforms and communities, to the final report and debrief. By maintaining the visual identity and language, you are helping to cement the idea of being part of something special, and create a sense being part of something bigger.

2. The Medium is the Message

Many different mediums now exist that you can use to communicate qualitative insights. However, different mediums are appropriate for various reasons, so don’t just use a specific medium just for the sake of it. Pick the medium that is best for communicating your research.

Interactive PDFs

Interactive PDFs are the perfect format for heavy content outcomes. The interactive navigation functions of PDFs allows your audience to easily navigate through content by jumping straight to certain sections though an interactive contents page, navigation buttons positioned on every page help users move around seamlessly. You can also link to separate files within your interactive PDF e.g. videos, websites, social media. The beauty of all this format is that ultimately it’s a PDF, so it can be viewed on a computer, tablet and smartphone screen, file size is small so its easily sharable as well.   

Video and Animations

Videos excel in the field of storytelling. They can exist in several formats: from 10 to 40 seconds commercial style videos, to a series of 5-7 minute clip, up to a 30 to 45-minute-long documentary.

Videos have the ability to capture and engage your audience. Depending on the purpose, it can deliver information much more effectively than a 60 page report. It also able to be communicated through different platforms ranging from PDF to website. Animation is also a great format for visualising insights. If storyboarded correctly, you can communicate the character, demographics, behavioural traits and more in the space of just 1 minute. Also, an animation gives the researcher more control in how and in what order the insights are delivered, this could be useful in communicating primary and secondary traits.     

Printed Materials

We are forever evolving into a digital world, but let’s not forget the power of printed materials. If your aim is to cement key findings into your audience’s mind, then posters, flyers and booklets are often your best medium. For example, target customer profiles are best presented as posters. This is a quick, visual way for your audience to take in key parts of information quickly. Additionally, the placement of physical printed materials, i.e. target customers posters in a company’s canteen, can help cement the core message of your research for a long period of time.   


Websites are a new medium for communicating and showcasing insight, why worry about whether your PDF or PowerPoint is small enough to attach to an email when you can just send a link? Gone are the days of large file sizes and gigabytes of video content. Completely hosted on a web server free from any size constraint, the amount of information you can easily navigate through, store and deliver through a website far exceeds any document or email you can send. Web functions are almost limitless, from password protection, direct chat and feedback boxes. The methods of communicating your findings though a website are only limited by your imagination.

What’s next…
Next time we visually examine quantitative outputs and show you how to make them more visually impactful and the key design rules you should use when communicating data to clients.

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