L&D Design Rules: How Tescos made sure their message was delivered

I read Andrew Abela’s ‘Advanced Presentations by Design’ over the Summer and ever since have become obsessed with how, regardless of the circumstances, you can make sure through effective design that your message is understood by your audience.

I loved the book and would recommend it to any L&D professional or those who are involved with regular presentation design. One element which struck me was when he spoke about what he called ‘The Squint Test’ which, in short, meant whether or not your audience could understand the message of the slide if they were to squint when looking at it. Admittedly the finer detail might be lost on them in smaller print when doing so but, as a minimum, they would be able to understand what the theme of the message was.

It was with this in mind that I was struck by an advert for Tescos recently on the London Underground which I think is a perfect example of this. Even with the smaller version of the image, right, you get an idea of what the main theme or point is that they are trying to get across to you.

I talked in a previous post about how Tiffany and Co. were using a minimalist approach to their advertising with a simple image and lack of text to promote their brand and I think what Tescos have done with the above is another example of that, along with the Abela squint test rule in action.

So, a busy London commuter would be able to pick up the key information if they did not know Tescos provided a home delivery service. However, what I think is brilliant about this advert is that after what announcing something which is quite common place (online ordering for delivery is taken for granted – seeing how much arrived from Amazon in my office today is testimony to that) it still holds the audience’s attention by having the smaller text in an underground map/vehicle format. It draws you in whilst still supporting the main message.

Not only that but if the audience has not yet made the connection of how they can use the service the text in the advert is making suggestions – check out a bigger version of the picture below to help explain:

Squint image

Toiletries, Ready Meals, Healthy Breakfast – these are not suggestions but, within the context of this advert, a call to action. It not only informs consumers of the service but is projecting on to them how they can use it. Brilliant.

So why is this of interest to L&D people? Our roles demand that we not only design materials and training that give people information but also provide them with the motivation for action. Whether it be a change in behaviour, a new skill learnt or an update on previously acquired knowledge, it is not enough to deliver the information – we also need to convince and engage with your audience so they act on it.

It is something that Tescos achieved very effectively in this instance and that all L&D designers should strive for – but what do you think? Is Abela way off with the squint test notion? Does this image even fit that theory?

I would love to hear what you think. Even if it is the shortest comment or suggestion it would be useful – becasue, as a famous slogan has suggested, Every Little Helps…


3 thoughts on “L&D Design Rules: How Tescos made sure their message was delivered

  1. Hi Patrick. A great post and loving the way you have brought the world of marketing together with L&D. I’ve not heard of the squint test and I like it! I also agree we have a role to play in giving information and definitely agree we have to give a call to action.

    I sometimes worry that it is too easy for us as L&D professionals to think that all we need to do is highlight a model or concept and then leave it to the learner to make the links and connections. It is almost as though we are with them at the start of the Bakerloo line, we help them see the other end of the line and then we leave it to them to see all the other stops and stations on the way.

    We not only need to show them the start, the end and all the stations, we need to show them how to get on and off. Our learners are busy people that often want to learn and change. If that is going to last, we need to make it as easy as possible for them to make the journey.

    After all, if they don’t make the journey it is not just the learner that loses out, we do too.

    1. Hi Phil

      Thank you so much for your comment – loving the Bakerloo line example! Very valid point also about us losing out by not taking that journey.

      I would be interested to hear about what your suggestions are for making sure we do not fall in to the trap of just presenting information and hoping the learner will do the rest. Also, do you think it is something that needs to be solved by a combination of design or delivery, or more one than the other?

      Glad you liked the combo of the marketing and learning aspects. The response has meant this looks like turning in to a 3 part series – we have Aldi and Asda to follow! : )

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