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  • Writer's pictureTigger Ho

How to use Communication Audit to review the design process?


A communication audit is a comprehensive process to investigate and diagnose a client’s message whether it matches their internal perspectives and external perspectives for their intended audience with the appropriate methods, in order to implement a review of the Facebook promotion design project, which is about the client HKJEBN crossover with FoodPanda offering a discount code to their Facebook followers. The review goes through the communication procedure, from receiving the client briefing to the completed visual design to analyse the different components of communication performance.

Analysis of Project Briefing Meeting

The design project started from a job briefing meeting. The client introduced the project background and shared the Facebook Post’s wording contents with our team. The brief mentioned that the selected product photos, the discount code and the FoodPanda brand elements should appear in the design. Our designer discussed the thought with the client and provided a design idea that the visual combine a happy face graphic with the discount code a pink colour dish in the meeting. The client agreed on the design direction and requested to produce the design layout.

According to the interactive communication model (Schramm, 1997), each participant acts the sender and receiver role alternately in the communicating operation. As shown in Figure 1, describes the communication process of the briefing meeting.

Figure1. The description of the briefing meeting communication process.

The designer had created a Facebook Post layout (Figure 2), which depended on the agreement in the briefing. However, the feedback from the client was that an indistinct message in the visual would obstruct the Facebook page followers to understand the promotion meaning because of unclear message. Therefore, the design team had to assess the design, what caused the communication issue and revised the design direction to reveal the correct meaning to the target audience.

Figure2. The description of the first design.

Restructuring the design purpose

To improve the quality of communication. The designer examined the process of decoding the client’s briefing and found out an internal factor: the designer subjective mindset — the visual effect is important than the message. This factor had influenced the process of turning the message generated from the client into a thought. The faulty decoding and encoding were some of the noises in communication. As a result, the designer created a message that mismatched the internal and external perspectives. Consequently, the designer had revised the design (Figure 3) to convey the message from the client and Facebook followers angles. The new design objective was to transmit promotion information explicitly and retain the design concept confirmed by the client and designer.

Figure3. The description of the revised design.

Communication Audit Process

For the communication audit, I have assessed the project by four particular selections (Figure 4): Internal Perspectives, External Perspectives, Messages and Methods.

Figure4. Four selections of the project communication audit.

There are some communicative recommendations for the designer improvement based on this review. In Internal Perspectives selection, defining the appropriate project objective by designers and clients together is the foundation, which can help us better prepare for future communication. Facebook platform is the channel to connect the external perspectives. It classifies as a Transaction model of communication (Barnlund, 1970) that is not merely for exchanging messages and is for communicate to create relationships also engage with others to create communities. Therefore, we need to organize the materials empathizing with the target communities and consider relationship development to resonate with them.

Summer of learning

In reviewing this design project, I find audit and assess communication is a significant process to better understand our design whether it is on the right footing. As designers, we need to learn how to communicate with our clients and target audiences and transmit specific messages for each target group through our design. Understanding the receiver’s need and profile, attaching importance to what and how to communicate with audiences effectively, prevent the noises and breakdown in the communication process.


Barnlund, D. C. (1970) ‘A transactional model of communication’ In: Sereno, K.K. and

Mortenson, C.D. (eds.) Foundations of communication theory. New York: Harper and Row. pp.83–92.

Schramm, W. (1997) The beginnings of communication study in America. London: Sage Publications.

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