T.R.A.P. management entails effectively utilizing the following elements: Tone, Relevance, Audience and Purpose.
Tone: The feeling, experience, or emotional reaction to the message. For example, if I were targeting stay-at-home moms I would create an advertisement that appealed to their desire for peace (and a bit of quiet!) by using calm colors, round, inviting fonts, and pleasant imagery. However, if I were designing an advertisement for a flash sale, I would use big, bold fonts to grab the attention of the customer and action inducing imagery to create a sense of urgency. Understanding tone can make the difference between a mediocre advertisement and a highly effective advertisement.
Relevance: Is your advertisement relevant to the industry, culture, and time in which it is designed? Narrowing in on relevance without blending into the background can be tricky. However, you can examine the trends of your industry and find a creative way to represent your message in-keeping with the trend while also remaining unique. A skillful business owner or designer has to stay keen to changing trends and techniques. For example, when you watch television and an old commercial comes on, how do you know it’s old? You can tell it’s old by the wardrobe, the setting, the fonts used, and even the technology that was available at the time. As new technology becomes available and new trends come on the scene, your advertising has to line up and appear relevant if it’s going to be effective.
Audience: Who is this advertisement meant to reach? Understanding your audience drives the verbiage in your advertising. For example, if you are offering a product that you are selling to seniors, the verbiage would be different than if you are selling to twenty-somethings. Your audience also dictates the amount of verbiage used. For example, if your advertisement is for a social media campaign, it would have fewer characters than a full page flyer or poster. You should also consider where your audience will see your work. Is it on a billboard where they will only have a few seconds to glance? Or will it be in a magazine or mailing where they may have more time to view it? Let your audience help dictate your design and amount of words used to get your message across.
Purpose: What is the goal of this project? Is it a flyer to announce an event or a sale? Is it a business card or logo to help with brand awareness? Understanding the purpose of the project helps drive what’s highlighted and what will appear in small print, image choices, document size, and medium or paper choice. Purpose also entails what the artwork will be used for. Is it a web graphic, banner, a flyer, a business card? Will it be a program, napkin ring, or invitation? That’s important to understand because that also drives the overall look of a design.
Purposeful and effective T.R.A.P. management is one of the most valuable skill-sets of any business owner or designer.
Remember, your design may be the first impression a potential client, attendee, donor, or customer will experience. You want to make sure it traps their attention!