Don't Put Your Graphic Design Budget on the Back Burner
Effective graphic design can improve almost every area of a business. Designers create company logos, develop corporate branding and build websites. However, graphic design goes much deeper than that and includes everyday communication, marketing elements and special event banners.
When you’re trying to get your business up and running, it is easy to shove design to the back burner and focus on other elements of growing your revenue. Keep in mind, though, if you present a poor-quality image to the outside world, it can impact everything from the way customers see your brand to how much they’re willing to pay for your product or services.
1. Good First Impression
As a small business, creating a good first impression is one of the first things you need to do to gain customers. People make a judgment on your website within the first few seconds based on how the site looks to them. In fact, it only takes a site visitor around 50 milliseconds to make this call. It is vital that you have an aesthetically pleasing design.
2. Gain Trust
Would you want to do business with a website that looked like the CEO’s second-grader designed it? If you want to gain the trust of site visitors, then your site needs to look professional. While amateurs can accomplish this, it takes hours of study and work to create a balanced site. Remember, graphic designers go to school for at least two to four years to learn about how different elements work together to create the best and most user-friendly site.
3. Immerse Visitors with Graphics
For brick-and-mortar stores or local events, consider ways you can use graphics to immerse the customer in the experience. The bigger impression you can make, the more likely that person will remember your brand.
Immersive experiences use experiential graphics to pull consumers into a scene. For example, picture your store entrance as though customers are walking through a grand castle gate into a gathering. Of course, the theme can vary based on the experience you want your visitors to have. These types of displays provide a powerful message.
4. Persuade Customers
Professional designers spend years learning about which colors work best for which industries. They know there is a psychology to the use of colors, such as using blue and white to gain site visitors’ trust. Choosing the right color palette for your logo or website can make a difference in your conversions.
Graphics for a storefront can be much more inexpensive than you might think, particularly if you use them repeatedly. There is no need to put your graphic design budget on hold when you can easily add a sale banner or a large sign letting visitors know of a special event. Think about all the ways you advertise to those coming anywhere near your store, and you will start to see ways to best use the design budget you have.
6. Costs of Poor Design
If you invest in cheap designs or try to do them yourself, this can cost your company more money in the long run. It is like someone trying to fix the wiring in their home when they have no idea how it works. Sometimes it is truly best to call in the professionals.
For example, if you design T-shirts for a trade show where you’ll have a booth and the design is low-quality, a couple of things might happen. The shirts might come back and look horrible, in which case you would have to pay to have them printed again — and still pay for a better design. Or, the printer might tell you the design isn’t going to work, and you’ll lose time and not get the shirts before the event. Either way, you could have avoided all this by hiring a designer to create your shirt design in the first place.
7. Enhance the Environment
Many small businesses operate on a tight budget, which could affect where they can afford to locate their offices or stores. One way you can use graphic design to enhance your environment is by using printed banners or murals to cover up ugly walls and other elements.
Obviously, if you have customers or clients coming to your location, beautifying it as much as possible becomes even more important. However, it is also important for employee morale to work within a space that inspires creativity, rather than making them want to run out of the building in tears.
8. Differentiate Yourself from Competitors
No matter what industry you’re in, you likely have at least one big competitor. If everything else is equal, little things start to become very important to customers. Let’s say your competitor has a beautiful logo and yours is ugly, which can drive some customers to visit your competitor’s site instead of yours.
Out of the small businesses people start in America, about half fail by year five. There are many reasons why, but one is not paying attention to the small details. Investing in quality graphics, paying attention to every penny that flows out of your business and ongoing employee training can all combine to help you succeed where others do not.
9. Perform Better Financially
One organization examined 63 top companies on the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) and found that the ones that performed best emphasized good design. They performed 200 percent better on the FTSE than companies that did not prioritize good design.
The results are clear from this study. If you want customers to trust you and be attracted to your brand, you must budget for design. Spend what you can afford and hire the best designers available in that price range.
Your Graphic Design Budget
Even if you’re just starting out and don’t have much money to spend, create a small budget for design and hire someone to create at least the most vital elements of your design. A logo is something you use on everything related to branding your business, for example. You can then increase your budget and add elements as you go along and your revenue increases. The key is to make design a priority and keep it there.
About the Author: Lexie Lu is a web designer and writer. Her work is featured on CreativeBloq, Envato, Marketo and JUSTCreative. She manages her own design blog, Design Roast, and loves connecting with people on Twitter @lexieludesigner.