Design is at the heart of establishing, elevating and refreshing a brand’s presence. Capturing an emotion, communicating the spark of an idea, and creating a scroll-stopping experience are just some of the benefits that thoughtful quality design can achieve for you and your business. Whether you are developing your brand strategy, logo or even social media posts, understanding how design can be used effectively, can transform average outcomes to amazing results.
In a world where it’s all too easy to shelve design and brand related work as a ‘non-essential investment’ when cash flow is tight or budgets are lean, we encourage you to refer to the below design tips as a reminder of why you should prioritise quality design for your long term business success.
This article was originally written 2nd November 2016, and with over 65,000 views, it has been updated and re-released 1st September 2020 to reflect on the importance of design and brand and how they can enhance a business in today’s climate.
Plus, we’ve added a bonus tip.
Are you ready to step up your design game?
1: Start with your brand strategy first.
Before you start designing anything – it should all begins with your business’ reason for being. Your mission, vision and values. Why do you exist? Who do you serve? How and where will you communicate? What words will you use? What measures will determine your success or failure?
Clarify this first, and the decisions around your aesthetic, identity, elements, design and how you present to the world will flow with intent and purpose.
2: Get organised before you design anything.
When you start a design project, pull together your goals, copy, images and ideas / inspiration before you begin. This will
- save you additional costs of extra amendments
- not stall the project while you gather information
- give your designer clear direction from the start
- help you implement your end project much faster and gain quicker results
3: Use quality original or stock images.
Use high quality original or stock images to portray your message.
There is nothing worse than a blurry or pixelated photo to subconsciously make your customer think you’re not serious about your business or that you won’t invest the time and effort to professionally present your work.
4: Keep it simple.
Get your message across simply and quickly.
Complicated designs or using too much text, only confuses your client and makes your work ineffective.
5: Limit your typefaces.
Fonts evoke emotion, give meaning, need to be appropriately paired and used with restraint to effectively convey your intention. Your designer will likely recommend one or two fonts in line with your brand to use throughout your collateral. Take their advice.
And please, please, don’t use comic sans or papyrus.
6: Stock images should be used with restraint.
Selectively use stock images to sit alongside your own photography in your design projects. It’s generally obvious when a photo is staged or fake, and if you want to make a personal connection use less stock images is recommended.
7. Don’t DIY, if you don’t need to.
A great designer has likely worked for years perfecting their craft especially for you. Just like an electrician, a carpenter, a lawyer and any other profession.
Don’t DIY if you don’t need to, it will never be quite the same quality, with an understanding of branding and design principles. Plus, you’ll save a ton of time too.
8: Invest in a professional designer.
If you are serious about your business and what it communicates to its clients, get serious about what you put out for clients or prospects to see. Hire a designer and allow them to use their expertise to create effective communication pieces. And let your clients and prospects judge your book by the cover you want them to see.
9: Work with a designer that is idea-driven.
Your graphic designer should push your ideas further, and suggest new ideas you hadn’t thought of. They keep abreast of trends and technology, and know what’s cool and contemporary.
But please share your ideas with them, don’t keep them to yourself until after you see your first proof. Your designer needs your initial ideas together with a detailed brief first, so they can head in a direction that they think you will like, underpinned by their expertise.
Don’t work with an order taker, choose a creative professional.
10: Allow enough time for creativity to flow.
Speaking to and engaging your graphic designer is often a last minute thing, where it should be given a higher priority to ensure a better result. Give your designer enough time to allow for creativity, rather than consistently pushing for tight deadlines which actually does the opposite. Imposing unreasonable deadlines stifles the creative process, ultimately compromising the quality of your work.
If you want great design, give it time.
Invest in brand identity development as early as you can.
The first design step in creating a recognisable brand visually is to ensure you have a professional logo or word mark that connects with your audience. Only once your identity is complete should you begin developing any other marketing, sales or admin collateral.
This ensures brand consistency, cohesiveness and clarity for your clients at all touchpoints.
Design is thinking made visual – Saul Bass
If you would like to know more about how you can work together with our design team for your business success, be sure to get in touch with us.
Remember…first impressions are lasting impressions.
Let us help your business be the preference, not the alternative.
We hope you have found these tips to be of benefit, and would love to hear if you found them helpful? Please pop your comments below!