Some small business owners understand the value of great design, sadly others do not. Whether you’re just starting your business or you’ve been trading for years, this list might come in handy.
Unfortunately, professional design work is notoriously undervalued in smaller businesses. When financial times get tough, the creative budget is usually one of the first things to be cut. It’s understandable. A lot of small business owners run on limited resources, and while each wants a beautiful website, clever logo, and compelling marketing collateral, they’re not always willing to pay professional rates to get them.
Instead, they ask an employee without adequate training—usually a marketing assistant who wears many hats—to try their hand at DIY design. Or they start searching the web for “cheaper” options. Either way, the business owner is probably not going to be happy with the end results.
So the next time you find yourself feeling hesitant about investing in good graphic design remember these six things:
First impressions matter.
You know what they say: you only have one chance to make a first impression. Whether it’s a website or the logo in an email signature, potential customers will judge a business in just a few seconds based on visual appeal alone. High-quality graphic design gives businesses credibility and that’s priceless. No matter how great a product or service, with poor design, it’s unlikely anyone will stick around the company’s website or keep its email long enough to find out.
Design can tell a story.
Similarly, it’s important that people get a feel for what a business does even if they’ve never heard of it before. Thoughtful design evokes the right image in customers’ minds. The concept for a nursery would be entirely different than that of an electrician. That’s a dramatic contrast, but it holds true in more nuanced ways as well.
Branding makes a company memorable.
Solid graphic design provides branding consistency across every visual, customer-facing aspect of a business. A professional graphic artist will use precise colours, fonts, photography, and mood for everything he or she touches. This way, customers have the same experience visiting a company’s website as they do reading its brochure. Think of it as a kind of alliteration—it helps the business become recognisable and memorable. Plus, consistency reinforces professionalism.
Creativity can be a differentiator.
If there’s one thing all businesses have in common, it’s that they all face competition. And to set themselves apart, they generally have a handful of differentiators, whether those include pricing, quality, customer service, or something else entirely. Creativity can help a small business stand out from the crowd.
A company’s visual communication plan serves many purposes, and making the business unique should be one of them.
Good design converts.
A slick website is nice to have. A slick website that generates income is even nicer! Design isn’t just about making things look pretty; effective design should entice and persuade. A smartly designed website can direct visitors to take action, like clicking a “buy” button for instance. A well-crafted brochure compels readers to keep turning pages. Professional graphic design has the potential to deliver measurable results for a small business.
Spending more up front can save time and money in the long run.
When businesses don’t take graphic design seriously in the beginning, they will more than likely go through a design overhaul… eventually. In some cases, this can happen more than once. However, quality design has longevity. Paying for great graphic design one time is no more expensive than paying for subpar design multiple times. Not to mention, redesigning a business’ image over and over wastes time and can be detrimental to its brand.
“Pay people peanuts and you get monkeys.” – David Ogilvy.