7 Lessons Every UX/UI Designer Can Learn From David Ogilvy

7 Lessons Every UX/UI Designer Can Learn From David Ogilvy from UIGarage
Nikka Estefani

Updated on March 16, 2020

You may probably know the importance of UX/UI for advertising (and marketing) campaigns, but would you think that advertising can give UX/UI designers a few lessons and tips for their projects? The answer is: yes, it can!

You would be surprised that advertising and UX/UI have some similarities more than we thought of if we even think of any. Perhaps the only striking difference is that advertisers often work on TV, radio, and billboards whereas UX/UI designers work on websites and apps. Other than that, the two are pretty similar – so why not try to find the gold of lessons from this interesting field?

And more importantly, why not learn these lessons from one of the biggest names in advertising – David Ogilvy.

David Ogilvy is an advertising legend. His methods made a lot of profits for his clients – including big companies like Rolls-Royce and Shell – and even revolutionized the world of advertising itself. It’s for this reason that he is known as “The Father of Modern Advertising”.

So, what can you, a UX/UI designer, learn from this advertising legend? A lot! Or, at least, in this article, we’ve picked the 7 most relevant lessons every UX/UI designers can learn from this advertising legend.

Let’s begin!

1) Do your homework

7 Lessons Every UX/UI Designer Can Learn From David Ogilvy from UIGarage

Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.” – David Ogilvy

This is probably the most boring advice. At the same time, this is the most important advice as well.

You can be a highly creative designer, filled with wonderful ideas in your head. You probably even won a few projects here and there. But the moment you didn’t “do your homework” – that is, get to know the project detail itself, your target users, your competition, the current UX/UI trend, etc. – you are bound to fail.

You need to know what’s happening out there so you’ll know what to do with it. You need to know what your users need or want so you’ll know what design you’ll give them.

Do your homework – it’s part of the work!

2) Spend your 80 cents wisely!

7 Lessons Every UX/UI Designer Can Learn From David Ogilvy from UIGarage

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” -David Ogilvy

In advertising, the headline is very important. Not only they’re written in very big letters, but the one who wrote it carefully thought (or should have carefully thought) which words to put to get the reader’s attention.

As a UX/UI designer, you may not be working for headlines, but you must learn how to prioritize your pages – based on what you want your users to see and what your users want to see.

There’s a reason why “About Us” and even “FAQ” pages are on the side of any website – the website’s priority is to sell the product, service or content it attempts to, well, sell.

Your website (or app) is not an encyclopedia that must be written in chronological order.

Of course, important pages like “About Us” or “FAQ” must be placed (if you don’t, please, add one), but most users won’t click on your website to see your “About Us”. They’re there to see what you offer, and if they want to get to know you more, those two pages will be there.

Learn your priority – and put it in the front!

Also, invest wisely on your “headline” – it’s mostly the “make or break” of your project; either your users will visit your site or not. Hence, David said that your headline is 80% of your dollar. Invest wisely – or, don’t be lousy on it!

3) Don’t just reinvent the wheel, aim for the results!

7 Lessons Every UX/UI Designer Can Learn From David Ogilvy from UIGarage

If you’re creating for a hobby, there’s absolutely nothing wrong if people like or don’t like it. But if you’re creating for a living, you better be sure that your work will sell – at least, that people like it!

Creatives are notorious for reinventing the wheel – otherwise, they’ll probably not be creative in the first place. They love to try out new things and experiment, and that’s great.

But there’s a point where you have to aim for the results. Don’t force your work into producing results; instead, change your work until you get the results.

If you’re a fan of Stephen King, he also has something to say about it: “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

4) Content is very important than form

7 Lessons Every UX/UI Designer Can Learn From David Ogilvy from UIGarage

What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.” – David Ogilvy

Some designers spend their time looking or creating for fancy plugins and using the most glittery themes but think little of the content of their project.

It’s not the fancy plugin (that causes a longer loading time) or theme that makes your users want your website; it’s the content!

Sure, work on your form, but think about how your project delivers its content – a lousy content with great form will not make it any further than a great content with a relatively lousy form.

5) Be a “killer” and a “poet”

7 Lessons Every UX/UI Designer Can Learn From David Ogilvy from UIGarage

Most good copywriters fall into two categories: poets and killers. Poets see an ad as an end. Killers, as a means to an end. If you are both a killer and poet, you get rich.” – David Ogilvy

Most designers are actually poets – they strive to create the best design that they can create. But if you’re into selling (or aiming at a certain call-to-action), you better be a “killer” too – using your design to sell your product or service to your users!

Or, in short, think of your design project as some target-shooting: don’t just shoot, but shoot the target! Back to #3, AIM FOR RESULTS!

Oh, how about the “get rich”? Well… if you can deliver results for your clients, then, why not?

6) Never stop testing!

7 Lessons Every UX/UI Designer Can Learn From David Ogilvy from UIGarage

Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.” David Ogilvy

Test your work no matter what – and of course, learn from its lessons.

If your work fails, then work on it again until you see the results. If your work succeeds, try to tweak it a little here and there for your next projects to see what can be improved.

But test – that’s how you’ll eventually learn and improve.

7) Be the best or don’t do it

Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark. Aim for the company of immortals.” -David Ogilvy

Don’t be like other designers who never give their best in the project and just do it merely for the buck.

At best, their designs are mediocre. But what about you? Sure, you can be like them… or why not just stand out by giving the best possible design you can ever give?

If you’re going to do it anyway, you might as well give the best! It’s good for your project, your career, and your pocket!