Why Great Design Is So Unshakably Important in Business

There’s one thing that all graphic designers and agencies get asked at some point:

”Why does graphic design matter in business?”

It’s a fair question – if a business is good at what they do, then why do appearances like graphic design and branding matter?

Well, as we’ll learn, there’s good reason why graphic design services are always in such high demand. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that great design makes for great business.

So let’s explore why, in business, looks are so much more than skin deep…

6 Reasons Why Your Business Should Prioritise Graphic Design

1. We’re Inherently Very Visual Creatures

Humans have evolved to rely on our vision intensely. Our sight is by far our most dominant sense – we can easily distinguish between very similar colours; we’re likely to notice something visual before we notice a sound or a smell; and we remember faces much better than we do names.

We naturally feel drawn to products, companies, and brands who portray themselves in ways that we personally find visually appealing. When you’re in a shop and you’re faced with two identical products, chances are you’re going to side with the one whose packaging or presentation you find more attractive.

Our acute visual senses are also primed to notice when something looks “off”. This feature has paid dividends in terms of our survival throughout history, but it also tends to chime in when we’re looking at something fairly innocuous like a brochure or a website.

When a piece of design work flows poorly or shows any small signs of disharmony, we quickly sense that something doesn’t visually “add up”. That’s where another evolutionary hang-up kicks in: our quickness to judge…

2. Design Generates Crucial First Impressions

We all know the saying “You only get one chance to make a first impression”. When you present new, potential leads with a piece of poorly designed marketing collateral, few are going to give you the benefit of the doubt and carry on reading regardless. Once you’ve lost them with the design, you’ve probably lost them for good.

When a brochure, or a website, or whatever doesn’t immediately resonate with us visually, we naturally paint a bleaker, shoddier, less trustworthy picture of the company behind the brand. Therefore, poor design can have a lasting negative impact, weeks, months, even years after the dodgy design is first seen “out in the wild”.

Poor design can subconsciously turn people away before they’ve even considered buying from you. In short, good design draws people in, bad design turns them away.

When we say “poor design”, that doesn’t necessarily mean gaudy, clashing colours and outdated style choices. Designs can be perfectly pleasant to look at, but can be let down by a lack of brand consistency, a lack of originality, or a poor contextual fit. It’s a designer’s job to keep all design pieces consistent, original, and on-brand.

3. Our Memory is Very Visual Too

Think of a brand – any brand you like.

Chances are that you pictured a logo, a wordmark, a website, a TV ad, or a piece of packaging just now rather than picturing the company’s name in plain text. Not only are we very visual creatures, but our memory is very visual too. Therefore, strong, unique company visuals are likely to leave a lasting, mental impression on your prospects.

In fact, design can add an extra dimension of cleverness and novelty that really helps to cement your brand in people’s minds. Humorous die-cut print design can reveal a hidden visual pun; logos can contain hidden symbols and messages (as with FedEx and Amazon); and websites can contain eye-catching, interactive animations.

Clever design can therefore keep you at the top of the reader/viewer’s mind, long after you’re out of sight.

4. Good Design Sets You Apart From Your Competitors

Imagine what life would be like if you and all of your competitors all used the same design elements – the same logo, colour schemes, fonts, graphics, etc. It would be incredibly hard for any of you to rise above the rest. This lack of visual distinction would also likely cause a lot of confusion amongst potential buyers.

Even the tiniest design decisions set us apart within our industries. Graphic designers understand this intimately, and will likely get to know your company, your brand, your market, your industry, and your company culture in order to create something that visually communicates your entire ethos in an instant.

Good creatives of any kind will work alongside you to uncover your unique spark. They’ll then distil it and package it in a way that will make your target audience sit up and take notice.

5. Great Design Attracts & Qualifies Like-Minded Prospects

No single product or service – be it B2B or B2C – is ever for everybody. We all have a target market or demographic in mind, whatever it is that we sell.

Depending on what the customer is trying to achieve from their purchase (and indeed in terms of their wider aims) they are going to react differently to different types of visual messaging.

Great design bridges the gap between well-matched suppliers and customers, serving as a beacon to attract like-minded prospects. The right graphics will instantly resonate with your ideal audience and qualify you as a worthy supplier.

Graphic design can actively add digits to your balance sheet too. When your design and overall brand appearance is polished and consistent, that paints you as an established and trustworthy provider. A refined, upmarket look can be instrumental in helping you reposition your offering towards new, lucrative markets and higher price brackets.

Tantalising Design Can Make Dry Topics Visually Appealing

There’s a reason why infographics and animated data visualisations are so popular online. The right design can convey arduously dry data in a way that is appealing and memorable – even fun!

Design can add a new, enlightening flair to existing data – illustrating relativity between points, employing visual metaphors, and hammering home crucial take-home messages.

Design can also turn dry data into a marketing tool. Data can be collected and collated into branded infographics and video visualisations, creating a piece of informative, shareable content that is seamlessly imbued with your brand identity. Alternatively, data about your own product can feed into marketing campaigns – just look at the excellent analytics-led Spotify “Wrapped” billboards.

Though data has a bit of a reputation as being rather dull, design shows us time and time again that this needn’t be the case.

6. Design Can Change How Prospects Act, Feel, & Spend

Choosing a colour for a website call to action button may seem like a relatively simple design choice. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Subtle design cues like colour, shape, and layout can have a profound effect on the way we act – especially online. Hitting upon just the right button colour, just the right menu layout, or just the right logo treatment can actually add to your business’s bottom line.

Just look at Microsoft for an example. When they were developing the search engine that would eventually become Bing, they tried out different shades of blue for their search result links. It’s estimated that hitting upon just the right shade of blue (#0044CC if you’re interested) resulted in an additional $80 million in annual revenue from ad clicks and user engagement.

Designers are intuitively aware of how subtle changes to an interface or layout can affect reader behaviour. A poorly rendered menu bar, a relatively nonexistent “add to cart” button, or a strangely laid out flyer can frustrate potential buyers and send them away, possibly never to return.

Something as simple as product packaging design can even affect the way that the product itself is perceived. When market research company Cheskin added 15% more yellow colouring to green 7 UP packaging, people reported that the flavour had more of a lemon-lime kick, though the product inside hadn’t changed.

In Conclusion

These factors all paint a very clear picture – that good design makes money and bad design costs money. Companies sometimes feel dissuaded from using outsourced design services, seeing design as just another expense. But in reality, design sits at the very core of how our businesses are perceived by the world.

When design is poor, a company’s whole persona suffers. Customers see them as “cheap and cheerful” at best, unprofessional and untrustworthy at worst. Poor design can also catch the attention of competitors, who may seize the opportunity to reveal a far more attractive option.

But with good design, the sky’s the limit. Cleverly crafted, precisely targeted collateral can have a very real impact on a business’s bottom line – potentially paying for itself multiple times over.

Ready to see for yourself what great design can do for your business? OLCO Design are an experienced, design-led marketing agency who will help you with everything from brand strategy, to design, to print, web design, analytics and everything in between.

Ready to find out more? Book a free discovery call with us today!

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